The Visual Arts program at PMFS is designed to build confidence in each student’s ability to visually communicate. With each new project, students learn how to work with a variety of materials and art processes in order to express their unique vision. Each year, students build on skills from the previous year, while expanding their art vocabulary and independence.

Pre-K and Kindergarten

Starting in Pre-K and Kindergarten, students gain an understanding of the elements of art and design, learning about major artists and art movements throughout art history. They explore their own interests and creative vision by working with a variety of art materials, developing painting, drawing, cutting and pasting, and sculpting skills. In the beginning of the year, for example, students create a mixed media painting and collage using both drawn and 3-dimensional lines.

First and Second Grade

In First and Second Grade, students continue to build on the art techniques and vocabulary they acquired in Pre-K and Kindergarten. They analyze and make connections between cultures using art as a vehicle for understanding universal art concepts. By focusing on the folk art from around the world, students are able to learn how art techniques and craft are used to create meaning in art. As a recent example, First Graders created colorful Amate paintings inspired by those from the Otomi people of Mexico, while Second Graders created clay sun sculptures inspired by those created in Metepec, Mexico.

Third Grade

Third Grade focuses on developing students’ sense of observation and analysis of the world around them. One project, which corresponds to the Kids Care exhibition program at the Woodmere Art Museum, revolves around the artwork of muralist Violet Oakley, whose images decorate the state capitol in Harrisburg. Students created works inspired by her “Divine Law” mural and created “hidden illuminated manuscript” paintings which will be on display in December at the Woodmere Art Museum and will then be given as gifts to people with life-threatening illnesses in Philadelphia, through a collaboration with MANNA.

Fourth Grade

Through the lens of American Art, Fourth Grade students investigate observational genres of art: self portraiture, still life, landscape. They become aware of American history and symbolism and stories in art, as they relate to works of art. With a focus on understanding the messages behind works of art, students continue to develop their craftsmanship and fluency with art techniques in painting, drawing, and clay. In the past, students have explored drawing self portraits, using the proportions of the face as a guide, and referenced how American artists, both historical and contemporary, use portraiture to convey meaning.

Fifth Grade

The Fifth Grade curriculum continues to build on previous skills, but with a focus on Mexican works of art. Art projects reflect an understanding of symbolism and meaning, while referencing historical and cultural concepts. Students apply a solid fluency in working with a variety of art materials in order to create projects that are personally relevant. One example project is a personal nicho, or diorama.

Sixth Grade

Sixth Grade focuses on helping students’ individual artistic voices blossom into projects that are personally relevant and well-crafted, and that reflect a solid understanding and referencing of art history. Through the process of inquiry, students create works of art that allude to research that they’ve done based on their own interests. Using the entire history of art as a jumping-off point, students explore contemporary and historic ways of working and understand how artists reference and find inspiration for their work. Our year began with an exploration into the art and culture of ancient Egypt.

Sixth Grade also meets one day a week for the Art and Theater Workshop to discuss, plan, and build the school yearbook and the set pieces and costumes for the school musical. They are responsible for most visual aspects of the play, as well as the yearbook publication, including photography and design layout, and more. This class is designed to have students working independently on many pieces of a moving puzzle, in order to create something amazing as a group.