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2020 CAS - Family and Community Guide for High School Visual Arts

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Working Together: To support families, communities, and teachers in realizing the goals of the Colorado Academic Standards (CAS), this guide provides an overview of the learning expectations for students studying high school visual arts. This guide offers some learning experiences students may engage in at school that may also be supported at home.

Why Standards? Created by Coloradans for Colorado students, the Colorado Academic Standards provide a grade-by-grade road map to help ensure students are successful in college, careers, and life. The standards aim to improve what students learn and how they learn in 12 content areas while emphasizing critical thinking, creativity, problem solving, collaboration, and communication as essential skills for life in the 21st century.

See all the Family and Community Guides here.

Where can I learn more?

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Visual Arts

Colorado high school art programs have varying resources and curricular options for students to investigate the many areas of the visual arts (including but not limited to drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, art history, digital and graphic arts, design, ceramics, fibers, metals, woodworking, performance and installation art, or career and technical education). Whatever the course design, the visual arts standards in the high school years focus on a deeper understanding of the intent and purpose of art and the art-making process for the culture and the individual. Students “tell their stories” through art making and the study of art, learning advanced studio processes, and investigating tools and materials that support their own artistic vision. Reflecting on and documenting the art-making process is an essential element of the visual arts standards in high school. Students examine their art-making practice in relationship to other makers (both past and current) and cultures. Career opportunities and the arts’ relationship to society (technology, media, issue-based/conceptual art, art appreciation) are also explored.

Expectations for High School Students:

  • Demonstrate complex skills that utilize the theories and language of art to communicate meaning by creating and analyzing works of art; recognize the complexity of art across time and cultures.
  • Reflect on and document the art-making process with technical proficiency by ensuring appropriate images of art and the art-making process are effectively presented and opinions and decisions are supported by research.
  • Demonstrate complex ideas (concepts) in a work of art using traditional and non-traditional materials as well as new technologies; combine and refine art materials and ideas in new and unusual ways.
  • Explain and consider the value and purpose of art based on historical significance, cultural context, and artistic (personal) intent.

Throughout High School, You May Find Students:

  • Using sketches, plans, and models to create and/or design a functioning work of art.
  • Creating works of art representing traditional and non-traditional subject matter that use new and traditional media.
  • Debating changing ideas and values about art and design created throughout time and across various cultures.
  • Critiquing works of art using a process of description, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.
  • Documenting and evaluating art and the art-making process to assess completed artwork and inform new works of art.
  • Discussing a personal belief statement about art and art making.
  • Using materials, tools, technology, and processes in new and unusual ways.
  • Explaining the influences that shape the creation of art (societal issues, personal preferences or experiences, economic needs).