Visual Arts
Designed to integrate academic subjects into the arts classroom, the AACMS Visual Arts program develops our student artists’ technical skills in a variety of artistic media, while studying the cultural and historical context of artwork from the past and present. Extended class periods of 90 to 150 minutes give our teachers the flexibility to incorporate a wide array of projects into their instruction, and to give students the time necessary to explore their artistic passions.  

Each grade level focuses on specific types of artwork, with an emphasis on the academic side of art education, as well as technical skill development. In addition to developing their technique, students learn to express their ideas through writing, peer critiques, and self-reflection. Learning appropriate art vocabulary, researching contemporary art and art history, and presenting their ideas in front of their peers are all important focuses of each year. 
Eighth Grade
Many eighth grade AACMS Visual artists are interested in further Visual Arts instruction in high school and beyond. The curriculum for the eighth grade year centers around building a physical and digital portfolio of high-quality artwork students can be proud to show at any audition, interview, or art gallery. 

The year begins with essential studies for young artists including Figure still life drawing, and self-portraits. Thanks to long instructional periods, students will work on multiple projects at the same time. For example, students study classical drawing concurrently with their work on sculpture and painting.  

The eighth grade curriculum goes beyond the creation of art and discusses art criticism and art history. Students research and write about art movements and participate in self-reflections and peer critiques. Through these activities, students learn to effectively express their ideas about art in writing.  
Fifth Grade
During Visual Arts Workshop, fifth grade students learn basic Visual Art skills and vocabulary. The course encourages students to connect their work in the visual arts to their academic studies with projects aligned to the academic curriculum. The Visual Arts Workshop also collaborates with other fifth grade workshops on the annual Fifth Grade Arts Showcase, with the student artists creating set pieces and props for the performance. The curriculum is geared to open students’ imagination, vision, hand skill sets and prepare them for future art classes. Classes discuss art movements, various artist, and how they influence the work the students will be making. Students learn proper use of materials and how they can be combined to provide optimal usage. 
Sixth Grade
Sixth grade Visual Arts provides students with the basic vocabulary, techniques, and critical thinking skills necessary for future study in the visual arts. The curriculum is designed to open each student’s imagination, vision, and hand skill set. Classes discuss art movements, various artists. and how these elements influence the work the students will be making throughout the year. Students also learn how to write about and present artwork for peer critique and self reflection. Projects during the year allow students to develop skills in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture.  
Seventh Grade
In seventh grade, Visual Arts students continue to develop their artistic skills. They will focus on learning relevant vocabulary, and will discover new artists. Learning to share their artwork with others effectively, and starting an impressive portfolio are major focuses of this year.  

At the beginning of the school year, students focus on creating high-quality artwork in black and white through about two months of drawing training. Several related projects help students build their confidence while learning to hold themselves to a high artistic standard. Learning to critique art, express their ideas, and to present in front of the class comfortably are all focuses of the first semester. As the year progresses, students start to work in various artistic media incorporating color. Students participate in a painting unit, acquiring and practicing new techniques while developing artwork based on important artists, original ideas, current events, and controversial/ debatable issues. Students spend a great deal of time writing about their art and their ideas. The year concludes with a unit on sculpture. Students discuss the history of sculpture and experiment with a variety of materials while creating original artwork. 
Showcase Opportunities
AACMS hosts its Visual Arts Showcase each May, exhibiting work completed by all of our students throughout the school year. AACMS also highlights student artwork at school events and on school social media. Visual Arts students contribute artwork for student showcase posters, program covers, t-shirt designs, and more.  

Teachers encourage students to submit artwork to competitions, contests, local galleries, and community outreach programs. Our students have previously earned Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards and participated in exhibitions at Kutztown University and the Banana Factory in Bethlehem.