Department Overview

In the South Orange County School of the Arts (SOCSA), we believe that art addresses the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual needs of our students. It promotes self-awareness, self-expression, and well being. Through the visual art program, opportunities are presented to develop critical thinking skills.

Visual art students have multiple opportunities throughout the year to exhibit their artwork in art competitions, community galleries, public spaces, local art walks, school display cases and school art shows. All visual art courses help students develop a portfolio of artworks suitable for art school admissions requirements and professional careers. Guest speakers from creative industries and college art programs inform students how they can pursue related careers and college degrees.

The SOCSA Visual Arts program also offers unique and creative experiences which help to build student self-esteem. This aspect of study fosters the recognition and appreciation of differences among individuals and cultures. Art encourages inquiry, discovery, and wonder. Through rigorous art courses and skill development students will be better prepared to enter into a career in art, an institution of higher learning, or simply to make a significant contribution to the world of art.

Course Descriptions

SOCSA Ceramics

This course provides the fundamentals of ceramics and is designed for students will little to no experience in ceramics. Students will learn the beginning techniques in clay forming by means of hand building, pinch method and coil methods, as well as slab building techniques. Students will also have a introduction to the potter's wheel. Emphasis in this year long course is on understanding clay materials, glaze chemistry and learning the foundation of constructing with clay. This course also covers ceramic/art history, design elements and principles, ceramic tools, machinery, kilns, firing, and art vocabulary.

SOCSA Advanced Ceramics

This advanced course provided the opportunity to further refine hand building and the use of the potters wheel. Emphasis is placed on developing personal style in design and decoration. Students will continue to refine hand building skills, more advanced wheel throwing, various clay decoration techniques, extruding methods and more. This course also covers ceramic/art history, design elements and principles, tools, machinery, kilns, firing, and art vocabulary.

Prerequisite: Completion of SOCSA Ceramics with a grade of A or B.

SOCSA Digital Photography

This course provides students with the opportunity to increase their photographic skills, enhance their visual awareness, and further develop creativity. Students will gain confidence in their ability to create different types of photographs using digital cameras and computer programs such as Photoshop CS6. This class teaches the fundamentals of photography including camera settings, lighting, composition, studio lighting, advanced Photoshop editing, history of photography, elements of art, photo careers and photo manipulation.  Students have various opportunities to display their artwork get involved with community art projects and attend photo field trips. Students spend the year creating a 50 page portfolio that showcases their work and the evolution of their progress.

This course is a Career Technical Education (CTE) class and is articulated with Saddleback College. Students who have a B grade or better will earn 3 units of college credit. The class is also weighted as an honors course.

SOCSA Drawing and Painting

This course introduces students to essential concepts and skills in two dimensional visual art. It lays a foundation for careers in illustration, and many design fields. Popular and professional art materials are used in projects, leading to mastery of perspective, shading, portraiture, caricature, observational, imaginative. Students learn aesthetic critique through the study of class projects and masters of popular culture and art history.  The student explores elements of design by manipulating a variety of materials and techniques.  Emphasis is placed on basic drawing and painting techniques.

Advanced Drawing and Painting

This course emphasizes the development of a personal technique, concentrating on observation, imagination, experimentation, and principles of color and composition. The student continues experimenting, researching, and developing a unique means of expression. Participation in school related projects or special independent projects is expected.

Prerequisite: Completion of SOCSA Drawing and Painting with a grade of A or B.

SOCSA Multimedia Design

In this course, students will explore design principles through mixed media - digital photography, graphic design, clay animation and 3-D printing. Students create professional products, such as company logos, magazine covers, print advertisements, and mixed media collages, using Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator. Students explore professional portraiture through studio lighting, green screen and photo retouching. Students sculpt, photograph and produce a clay animation movie, and design and print 3-D products using Solidworks. This course helps students develop skills in technology that will equip them for 21st century careers.

This course is a Career Technical Education (CTE) class and is articulated with Saddleback College. Students who have a B grade or better will earn 3 units of college credit. The class is also weighted as an honors course.

AP Studio Art: 2D Design

In this course, students explore 2-dimensional design principles through advanced digital photography. Students develop professional editing skills using Adobe Photoshop. Projects include color theory, digital collage, tessellations, surrealism, and advanced portraiture (studio lighting, green screen and portrait retouching). In the spring semester, students create a body of work that explores a theme of their choice. Students submit a portfolio, instead of an exam, to receive college credit.

Prerequisite: Completion of a visual arts class with a grade of A or B.

AP Studio Art: 3D Design

In this course, students will pursue the investigation of the three-dimensional form. Art is an intellectual process and AP Studio Art 3D encourages creativity, skill development, visual thinking, and critical analysis. Learning to take informed risks and being inventive in art making is crucial to the development of an artist.  Students will learn to express themselves in their own personal style through the exploration of a variety of materials, both in the classroom and at home. Ceramics, sculpture, and mixed media will be the foundation for most projects. However media that will be explored and can be used in sculptures may include, but are not limited to, plaster, wood, wire, plastics, papers, and found objects. Art making is an ongoing process in which you create, review, make modifications, and explore variations as you make critical decisions and develop your art forms. In class, we will use ongoing discussions and critiques with the teacher, students, and in small groups so students can analyze and discuss their own artworks as well as the works of others.The study of historical and contemporary artists is embedded throughout the course as it is essential in expanding students’ visual awareness and perception of what art is. In the spring semester, students create a body of work that explores a theme of their choice. Students submit a portfolio, instead of an exam, to receive college credit.

Prerequisite: Completion of a visual arts class with a grade of A or B.