Foundations of Visual Art

  • Sequential, standards-based instruction in visual art prepares students for continued study at the secondary levels.  Students explore interests, learn to see themselves as artists, explore a variety of media, learn foundational skills and concepts, and develop fine motor skills necessary for further study. 

  • Elements of Art

    The elements of art, including, line, shape, and color, are the foundation for understanding how art is created.  Students explore line, shape, color, texture, form, and other key concepts in developmentally appropriate ways.  They learn key vocabulary, create art using these elements, and critically respond to art. 

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  • 2D Media

    Throughout the K-5 visual arts experience, students explore a wide variety of 2D media, such as watercolor paint, tempera paint, crayons, oil pastels, clay, that provide the foundations for drawing and painting. Projects might include processes such as drawing, painting, collage, print making, stenciling, weaving, and many others.  Exploring a wide variety of media creates a solid foundation for further study at the secondary level, and develops the fine motor coordination necessary for continued study.

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  • 3D Media & Ceramics

    All K-5 visual art students explore 3D media, which might include ceramics, papier mache, paper sculptures, and many others.

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  • Connections

    There are many opportunities for connections to art history and culture and to other disciplines.  Students are introduced to a wide variety of art and artists, and discuss them in cultural context.  Art is also a natural fit for interdisciplinary study, such as connections between visual art and geometry. In this photo, teaching artist Jason Abide, works with McDougle Elementary students on a face jugs project to connect to NC history.

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  • Collaboration

    There are many opportunities for collaboration in the visual art classroom. This mural was created by visual art students at Estes Hills Elementary, with art teacher, Michele Nelson.

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K-12 Visual Arts Standards

  • Early experiences in music lay the foundation and develop skills, concepts, behaviors, and dispositions essential for future arts participation.  Instruction is sequential, and grounded in the NC Essential Standards for Arts Education.

    Visual Literacy

    V.1 Use the language of visual arts to communicate effectively.

    V.2 Apply creative and critical thinking skills to artistic expression.

    V.3 Create art using a variety of tools, media, and processes, safely and appropriately.


    Contextual Relevancy

    CX.1 Understand the global, historical, societal, and cultural contexts of the visual arts.

    CX.2 Understand the interdisciplinary connections and life applications of the visual arts.


    Critical Response

    CR.1 Use critical analysis to generate responses to a variety of prompts.


    View the complete NC Essential Standards for Arts Education for grade-specific clarifying objectives.