Overview of the Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum
The JCPS Visual and Performing Arts curriculum is based on the Kentucky Academic Standards for Arts (National Core Arts Standards). The standards incorporate the four arts disciplines:
- Visual Arts
Schools are urged to provide their students with rigorous arts programs that emphasize creating, presenting/performing, responding, and connecting to the arts.
At all grade levels, students should have the opportunity to learn about the arts in the context of creating and presenting/performing. As students create and present/perform, they learn that the arts are basic to human communication and that they can use the arts to communicate specific meaning through their choices in the use of various arts elements and principles of design.
- Creating involves conceiving and developing new artistic ideas and work.
- Presenting for visual arts students involves interpreting and sharing artistic work. Performing is limited to the performing arts of dance, music, and theatre. Performing involves realizing artistic ideas and work through interpretation and presentation. For dance, music, and theatre students, performing addresses previously created works by a choreographer, composer, or playwright, as well as original, student-created works.
- Responding to the arts involves understanding and evaluating how the arts convey meaning. The arts are a tool for communication and are capable of delivering meaning through literal and emotional content. Responding to the emotional content of artworks involves actually feeling the emotion(s) set forth by the creator. Responding can also involve intellectual analysis of works of art in regard to their design, effectiveness and quality.
- Connecting to the arts involves relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and external context.
The visual and performing arts programs in the elementary grades center on an exploration of the arts disciplines: dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Emphasis should be placed on exposing students to a variety of arts through active experiences in all four arts disciplines. This exploration includes a beginning of literacy development in the arts content areas, simple analysis and critique of the arts, and active creating and presenting/performing in the arts.
The visual and performing arts programs at the middle school level should center on establishing grounding in the arts so that students are able to communicate at a basic level in each of the arts disciplines: dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. Emphasis should be placed on exposing students to a variety of arts through active experiences in all four arts disciplines. Students may have already begun to, or at this level choose to focus on one arts discipline for more in-depth study. This will help students to prepare should they choose specialization in one arts discipline at the high school level. Grounding in the arts involves literacy development in the four arts content areas, analysis and critique of the arts, and active creating and presenting/performing in the arts.
At the high school level, students may choose to specialize in one or more arts disciplines. Specialization will enable students to study an arts discipline in an in-depth manner and work toward achieving proficiency and mastery in creating, presenting/performing, responding, and connecting to their chosen arts discipline. Students who specialize in an arts discipline will participate in performance-based arts courses designed to develop skills and understanding that will enable students to use that arts discipline as a high level communication tool. This is accomplished through the development of creativity and production or performance skills. Performance-based courses also connect the arts with their historical and cultural contexts as students study exemplary works and learn the impact of time, place and personality on the arts. In addition, these courses promote an understanding of the interrelationships among the arts disciplines and connections with other academic content areas.
Students choosing not to specialize in an arts discipline in high school should move beyond the grounding in the arts achieved at the middle school level toward proficiency in the arts. Emphasis for these students should be placed on exposing students to a variety of arts through active experiences in all four arts disciplines, and developing further understanding and appreciation of the historical and cultural significance of dance, music, theatre, and visual arts. A higher emphasis on the process of responding to the arts is a natural outcome of this more general approach to arts education, however creating and presenting/performing the arts remain as critical processes in the general education of all students and promote deep understanding and appreciation of the arts.