Browning has long sought to provide boys with a balanced and culturally enriched educational experience, and the arts play a major role in that endeavor. Academic courses, which assure a certain level of competence in the history and critical analysis of art and music, are a required part of the curriculum. However, it is equally important to foster a deeper appreciation for the arts. To this end, students set their hands to drawing, painting, sculpture and related media, and display their works in school exhibits and publications. Browning choirs sing at various assemblies and concerts, and individual student musicians are encouraged to perform. Larger groups receive instruction on Orff instruments. Theatrical performances by all age groups are mounted for assemblies and evening productions, and often the energies and talents of school artists, musicians and thespians are pulled together into one unifying effort.
The Arts Program
Grades Five and Six
These courses are devoted to enhancing each student’s creativity, technical ability and work ethic, while at the same time teaching the elements of good design and composition. Students are provided with a variety of media for both two and three-dimensional exploration. Activities within each unit include drawing, painting, printmaking, construction, ceramics and papier maché. Each unit is broken into phases designed to improve the understanding of the individual elements and principles of the process. Content for these units is informed by the inclusion of visual aids and imagery produced by historically significant as well as contemporary artists. There are also a number cross-curricular components which further enrich the program.
Forms I and II
The Form I and II art courses are designed to be more sophisticated as boys have more room for exploration and development of individual ideas. The Form I boys derive their content through a survey of historical art movements including Realism, Impressionism, Cubism and Abstract Painting. The related projects include ceramic sculpture and acrylic painting. The second semester focuses on developing an understanding of linear perspective and how it relates to observational drawing and spatial depth. The boys finish the year with a computer-aided design unit requiring them to create a concept design for an outdoor sculpture. Boys in Form II focus on sustainable design with an emphasis on form and content. They are taken through a series of stages meant to enhance their problem-solving skills. Each student executes a small-scale furniture model in cardboard which is recycled from materials within the school building. Students spend the second half of the semester studying organic form through observational drawing and ceramic sculpture exercises. Frequent critiques are a major component and are meant to develop critical thinking skills.