Visual Arts Curriculum

Visual Arts Curriculum


The standards-based visual arts curriculum provides a clear vision of the knowledge, skills and concepts all New Haven public schools students need to learn through the study of the visual arts. We view the arts as a rigorous subject area with its own content of knowledge, vital in developing educated citizens.


The goal of the curriculum is for students to develop visual literacy. Students are expected to think critically, learn the language of the visual arts and create artwork which reflects personal experience and imagination.


The structure of the curriculum is based on the language of the visual arts, composed of the elements of art and principles of design. The units of study introduce the elements of art; line, shape, color, space, form and texture as the building blocks artists use to create works of art. Students learn how these elements of art are organized using the principles of design; rhythm, balance, emphasis, variety, harmony and unity. The art vocabulary introduced with each unit is designed to gradually increase students’ understanding of the art-making process throughout the grade levels.


The curriculum requires art teachers to plan and implement the lessons for each unit incorporating three significant tasks: Responding to Art, Creating Art, and Making Connections. It offers teachers the flexibility to choose the media, techniques, artists and resources to teach the concepts in each unit of study.


In Response to Art, students observe, describe, analyze, interpret, compare and contrast diverse art works which relate to the unit they will be studying. The curriculum provides a method for teaching response to art for all grade levels. Teachers are encouraged to use literature as a resource for subject matter.


In Creating Art, teachers are asked to guide students in experimenting with art materials and techniques to create artwork that is based on personal experience and imagination.


In Making Connections, the units of study integrate Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. In the viewing and analysis of works of art, students develop oral language and practice skills which correlates to the method used in response to literature. Students discover that Math concepts such as developing shapes and forms, comparing, measurement, proportion, perspective, visual-spatial relationships and grids are part of the visual arts curriculum. The process of creating art is similar to the experimentation process in Science and students learn that works of art reflect the time and place in history in which they were created.