A Visual Arts education is essential to the fundamental
growth and development of all students. As an important component of a
well-balanced learning experience, art education is a powerful influence
in making students more discriminating and more sensitive to the things
they see, use, and create in their everyday lives. Art helps students
make informed, conscious aesthetic judgments and decisions. The North
Allegheny Visual Arts Department believes that every student’s life will
be enriched and improved through art education, that they will become
life-long learners and patrons of art, and that they will join in the
continuing conversation about the nature and meaning of art in life.
Regardless of ability, the North Allegheny Visual Arts Department
believes that all students benefit equally from art education and that
opportunities for art education should be accessible and inclusive to
From a global perspective,
art education teaches visual literacy, which is vital to the
development of citizens in our society because it is one of the primary
forms of communication. The ability to make discerning evaluations of
symbolic communications is critical in preparing children to live in our
contemporary world. The creation of art is a discipline involving a
structured creative process. Concepts, such as creativity and
innovation, are receiving increased support as vital skills for 21st
Century learners. It is the belief of the North Allegheny Visual Arts
Department that all professions and career paths benefit greatly from a
foundation in the arts. The study and practice of art serves to
facilitate organization, planning, goal-setting, research, idea
formation, observational skills, creative thinking, risk-taking, and the
ability to carry an idea through to completion. The visual arts
stimulate a behavior of sustained engagement, self-discipline, and
persistence that results in a higher quality of product. It is important
to help children discover their aptitudes and interests. Art education
fosters the capacity to appreciate diversity. Through art, students
learn tolerance, respect, attitudes, and values that have value in a
The content of art
education consists of knowledge, understanding, and skills drawn from
Art Production, Art History, Art Criticism, and Aesthetic Appreciation.
The integration of these four strands provides the basic content for art
education at North Allegheny. Art Production is the primary approach to
understanding, responding to and appreciating visual arts through
actual engagement in the creative process. Students learn to discover
and formulate original ideas and then effectively communicate them
through visual media. Art History provides students with the
opportunity to discover how art of present and past world civilizations
has reflected, communicated, and changed the thoughts, feelings, and
beliefs of people. This includes various expressions of art content and
form. Art Criticism is the study of applying informed criteria for
responding to and evaluating works of art. Art Criticism develops
careful attention to detail and the ability to analyze and make meaning
of a complex array of visual information in artworks. Art Criticism is
learning to distinguish between subjective and objective criteria by
looking at multiple critics’ points of view and methods. Finally,
Aesthetic Appreciation synthesizes Art Production, Art History, and Art
Criticism to arrive at the position of valuing the artists, the
processes, and the products of visual art. Aesthetic Appreciation is
having a well-developed, knowledgeable standard of belief for measuring
the purpose, significance, and benefits of art.
ELEMENTARY VISUAL ARTS CURRICULUM (K-5)
elementary art classes, offered to students in Kindergarten through
fifth grade, develop the foundational understanding and skills in the
visual arts. Students practice artistic activities that develop creative
strategies, skills, and habits of mind. This work supports design
literacy in the language of visual composition and expression.
Through the Elementary Visual Arts Curriculum, students:
- Acquire procedural knowledge, skill, and craftsmanship through the art making process.
- Develop understanding of the meaning and purpose of visual art.
- Explore our rich and diverse historical and cultural heritage through the study of visual art.
- Develop aesthetic judgment that supports the making and understanding of rich meaning in art.
in the elementary program attend Art class for one class period each
week for the entire school year. Classes additionally meet for an
"Integrated Day" once every three weeks. Classes are taught by certified
art specialists. Fourth Grade Art classes travel to the Carnegie Museum
in Pittsburgh to view and discuss the work of artists they have
studied. Building exhibitions mounted in each elementary building often
explore integrated themes.