Upper School Arts


Department Philosophy

The Tarbut V’Torah Visual and Performing Arts Department provides students the ability to marry ideas to action. Whether learning to dance, play music, make a film or a piece of visual art, the discipline of taking an idea to its artistic conclusion is paramount. Students are challenged at all skill levels through trial and error, collaboration, revision and execution. The most up to date technology and state of the art facility allows students exposure to what is being used by industry professionals. The skills learned through this process can be applied to all aspects of life. The Visual and Per- forming Arts Department determines student enrollment in Honors/AP classes by using the following criteria:

  • Grade of B or better in a previous art class
  • Portfolio
  • Faculty recommendation

List of 2 frequently asked questions.

  • Grades 9 - 12

    Studio Art*
    This course provides fundamental art experiences for the beginning to advanced high school artists. Students are introduced to a variety of techniques and media and learn to express visual concepts in black and white as well as color.

    Drawing and painting are the focus of the first semester, while forays in three-dimensional design take place in the second semester. Emphasis is placed on understanding art vocabulary and on being able to effectively apply art vocabulary in reference to developing projects. Students learn to incorporate the elements and principles of design with increasing proficiency, including composition, color theory, and concept development. Craftsmanship, aesthetic presentation, and innovation are stressed as they learn to observe and interpret. Students will learn to use drawing pencils, charcoal media, soft and oil pastels, colored pencils, watercolor paints, collage methods, printmaking, plaster, wire and clay. In addition, students are introduced to artists and art history as a basis for realizing the relationship between ideas and art creation. A writing component stresses critical thinking. Class critiques emphasize art aesthetics through the comprehension of design assessment tools.
    Grade Level: 9-12
    Prerequisite: None
    3D Design/Ceramics
    This course introduces the fundamentals of three-dimensional design and will ask students to construct and question visual relationships. Emphasis will be on developing an understanding of the basic elements of design: line, plane, volume, mass, movement, shape, form, space, value, texture, and color. Students will look closely at design organizational principles such as proportion, repetition, rhythm, emphasis, balance, symmetry, and hierarchy. A range of materials (paper, cardboard, clay, plaster, wire, and found object) and processes (constructing, modeling, carving, casting, and fabricating) will be utilized to introduce a variety of approaches to 3D problem solving. Students will also be introduced to 3D critical vocabulary where focus will be on communicating ideas and forming distinctions and connections through verbal and written formats.
    Grade Level: 9-12
    Prerequisite: None
    Instrumental Music*
    The goal of Instrumental Music is to create an ensemble of musicians capable of playing many different styles and genres of music including classical, jazz, Jewish spiritual music as well as popular contemporary pieces. Vital aspects of this goal include:
    • Familiarity with great instrumental music of the world
    • Proficiency in student’s primary instrument (proficiency in any instrument is acceptable and encouraged)
    • Familiarity with reading music as well as sight reading
    • Familiarity with form and harmonic constructs (changes) and the working shorthand for these constructs
    • An understanding of basic improvisation and how it relates to the song’s chord changes
    • A working vocabulary of what is being heard and a critical vocabulary that will provide students with the skills to analyze instrumental music intelligently
    • A willingness to assert oneself musically without fear of disapproval
    Grade Level: 9-12
    Prerequisite: None
    Digital Photography*
    This course is designed to give students a thorough understanding of traditional art and photography techniques through the use of a digital camera and computer. Students begin by learning how to operate the basic features of their digital camera as well as learning the fundamental elements of artistic composition. For the bulk of the coursework, students explore the modern digital darkroom. Using in-depth hands-on study of Adobe Photoshop as well as other image manipulation software, students learn techniques for visual self-expression through digital illustration.
    Grade Level: 9-12
    Prerequisite: None
    Introduction to Film
    Students learn to analyze narrative fiction as well as the aesthetic and cultural valuing of film as an artistic medium. Students view films of various genres selected from the American Film Institute’s top 100 greatest films. Viewing the films by decade allows students a deeper understanding of each film’s historical and cultural context. We place particular emphasis on analysis of narrative structure and creative writing. Students view up to 4 classic films per month in class. Each film is preceded by a classroom lecture/discussion about the film’s historic, cultural and artistic significance. Students study the deeper technical architecture of film and the way in which films are written and created.
    Grade Level: 9-12
    Prerequisite: None
  • Grades 10-12

    Film Production*
    This course allows students to develop a hands-on working knowledge of all stages of short film production. Using the modern film industry as a model, students play the roles of producer, writer, director and actor to produce one or more festival style short films over the course of the year. The first semester of the course focuses primarily on the study of creative writing and narrative structure as students learn techniques for brainstorming, creating original stories as well as interpretations and adaptations of existing stories. Students then develop those ideas into finished screenplays. The second semester focuses on the technical production of the films, including production design, set construction, directing, acting in and shooting the films. At the end of the year, the films are screened as part of the TVT Film festival. The two-hour long festival takes place in an actual movie theater, friends and family are invited.
    Grade Level: 10-12
    Prerequisite: Introduction to Film and teacher recommendation
*This course is approved by the University of California.
Course Availability: It is important to note that a course may not be offered in a given year due to low course enrollment.
TVT Community Day School is a TK-12 Independent Community Day School in Irvine, CA
Founded in Loving Memory of Naomi Gelman Weiss