The arts programs at Carrabassett Valley Academy (CVA) offer students a chance to pursue growth in their artistic skills and creativity amidst a schedule driven to excellence in academics and athletics. The arts program serves as a reminder of the pervasive nature of the arts throughout daily life, an atmosphere to cultivate inspiration, and an outlet for creativity in an extremely structured environment. Overall, the arts department at CVA holds the core belief that everyone has the ability to be an artist.
The courses in the arts program are all quite unique in their content, though the department mission is one of many shared values. All of the arts classes are small (under 10 students) allowing for individualized attention to accommodate wide ranging skill levels. It is the department belief that putting your creations “out there” is part of the artistic process and should be accordingly peer and instructor critiqued and appreciated. Early in both the academic year and during a student’s tenure in the arts program, classes are designed to emphasize building a base set of skills in their particular medium. Artistic theory is reinforced with professional examples as a means for students to gain an appreciation of the work but also glean technique and inspiration toward creating their own artistic works.
The arts program at CVA consists of the following courses: Introduction to Art, Studio Art 1 and 2, Digital Media, and Music. Each is offered annually and many are often taken as independent studies to accommodate a particular student’s schedule.
Introduction to Art introduces the student to the principles and elements of design through a combination of creative and skill building assignments while exposing them to a variety of artistic mediums. The class attempts to answer the question, “What is art?” historically and personally using principles, elements, and the works of the great masters and students as a reference point for discussion.
Studio Art 1 & 2 emphasizes the development of technique with artistic mediums, a deeper understanding of the principles and elements of design, and the skill of seeing two and three dimensionally through observation of subject matter. Assignments are either in the realm of observation or creative challenge, of which there are daily critiques.
Advanced Studio is a continuation of the Studio Art format with assignments that are more independent and student driven.
The music program aims to foster the progression of the individual musician’s skills toward playing with and for others. Goals include improving a student’s abilities on their respective instrument(s) and exploring new mediums, training both their ear and voice, and learning functional music theory to improve their playing. Students learn how to better themselves musically but also work together to create multi-instrumental works.
CVA’s digital media program offers two levels of study: introductory and advanced. The introductory course teaches basic camera and editing skills along with planning techniques. Students progress through a variety of projects with the goal of producing polished videos incorporating graphics, video, sound tracks, and special effects. The goal of the advanced course is to produce professional documentary videos. The focus is on more detailed planning of videos, creating compelling story lines, and developing professional skills in shooting, lighting, interviewing, and editing.
The arts programs are instructed by faculty who have both personal and professional experience and training in the their particular discipline and continue to explore and evolve as artists themselves.