Visual & Performing Arts

Tutoring Hours/Schedule:

Course Offerings:

Art 1 & 2

Art I is an introduction to the world of art and art history. Learning to draw is a major component of this course, as this skill serves as the basis for all other instruction. Experiences with various 2 and 3 dimensional media will foster the development of artistic and critical thinking skills, an understanding of the elements of art and the principles of design, and an awareness of global and personal themes. Students will become familiar with the language of visual art and will learn to celebrate its function as a multicultural means of communication. These skills will allow students to articulate informed responses to the aesthetic qualities and varied purposes of art.

Photography 1

This semester course is designed to introduce the beginning student to the fundamentals of photography as a means of visual communication. Through a series of lectures, demonstrations and hands on activities, students will learn the technical and aesthetic considerations necessary to create good photographs. Traditional film techniques will be taught using 35mm cameras, black & white film and a wet darkroom. Digital technology will be introduced through the use of scanners and Adobe Photoshop software.

Photography 2 (Digital Photography)

This semester course is designed to develope skills using digital technology through the use of scanners and Adobe Photoshop software.Through a series of lectures, demonstrations and hands on activities, students will learn the technical and aesthetic considerations necessary to create quality digital photographic artwork. Various software is explored and alternate creative processes with multiple applications and exploration of careers in the digital world.

Crafts 1 & 2

Crafts is a survey of handwork that has been the foundation for American Folk Art. This hands-on course covers historical topics that include but are not limited to textiles, painting, wood, paper and more. The various projects give an over view of western Crafts and cultures including emigrant communities as well as The First Americans.

Ceramics 1, 2, 3 & 4

The Ceramics course begins with basic hand construction in coil, slab and pinch techniques then builds the student to working on the wheel, called throwing. First year students will complete Raku firings as well as many electric firings while studying the development of the craft and its movement from the "craft show" to a fine art form. Functional pieces are the primary focus, although some sculptural work is explored. Our recent construction of a Pit Kiln further expands the program and our focus on safety and understanding underscore the importance of the arts.

Ceramics 2

During the second year, students will further work with basic construction techniques, but take a more active role in the running of firings and a significant goal of furthering the concept that this is a working professional quality studio course. Several projects are student based which includes designing a project that meets certain given aspects regarding construction and end function of the work.

Ceramics 3-4

These years focus on students developing a style and raised skill level while developing a digital portfolio of the thier work. The coursework is more student directed with assignments creating an interdisciplinary approach to fostering a better understanding of the inspirational sources available outside the studio. Furthering skills and eventually designing independent projects that reflect the technical skills acquired in previous years will require a significant amount of independent yet teacher directed work. These year are tailored to the inidvidual student needs and directions, helping them create a portfolio of work that will follow them to further studies.

Graphic Design

The Graphic Design course is a drawing and printmaking curriculum focusing on visual communication through 2-D and 3-D assignments. Students acquire a firm foundation in the Principles and Elements of Design, managing Color Theory and non-text based communication. Careers in Graphic Design are explored with a focus on the skills needed to create a job for yourself by exhibiting a solid design process.

Introduction to Painting

A popular introductory class that explores painting from the mid-1800's through more contemporary styles. This class is hands-on from the very first day, starting with Abstract and working backwards to Impressionism styles. Students will complete a minimum of four paintings and have thier work displayed throughout the school, school offices and appropriate localities.

Intro to Theater/Theater 1

Introduction to theatre including theatre history, Team building, overview of improv, acting, movement, voice, theatre related careers, basic technical theatre, notebook checks and 9 weeks projects.

Advanced Acting/Theater II

Advanced course including performing techniques, interpretation of dramatic literature throughout beginning with Greek Classical to present day, with emphasis on character study, technical theatre, intro to playwriting, journals and 9 weeks projects.

Theater III/IV

Playwriting and Stage Direction/Theatre III
Advanced course with emphasis on playwriting, advanced acting, portfolio development, stage management, introductory directing, journals and 9 weeks projects. Designed for students who are advanced in dramatic techniques and who may pursue the study of theatre arts.

Studio Theatre and Film Directing/Theatre IV

Designed for students who are highly advanced in dramatic techniques, rehearsal process and performance and who wish to pursue a career in theatre beyond high school. Objectives of this class include understanding of elements involved in developing characters from analysis to performance. The studio theatre student is expected to assimilate the acquired skills learned in Theatre 1, 2, 3 and demonstrate knowledge in the rehearsal/ performance process. The students will understand that effort promotes achievement, develop a spirit of cooperation and positive self-esteem, experience enrichment through participation, respect individual and cultural differences, and continue to acquire stage presence and etiquette through directing, acting, producing, varied performance styles (comedy, performance art, interpretation), playwriting, journals, and 9 weeks projects.

Technical Theater

Introductory course with an emphasis on technical production including theatre safety, lighting design, sound design, set construction techniques, set design, costume design, makeup application and design, properties management, stage management, publicity standards, notebook checks, and 9 weeks projects.


Students that study percussion at NKHS focus on percussion literature, the 40 essential snare drum rudiments, mallet percussion, and axillary percussion techniques. Students in this class will perform as an ensemble in concerts and competitions.

Int/Adv Band

The concert band class focuses on learning wind band literature grade levels II-IV to prepare for concerts and competitions. We study scales, technical studies, and ensemble skills in order to improve as musicians.

Marching Band

Students learn a musical program in the fall of every school year that is choreographed as a "field show". They study many difficult musical and marching techniques. Students in the marching band play at all varsity football home games and travel to 6 competitions each season.

Music Appreciation

The music appreciation class focuses on music theory and music history. We study how music effected culture and life throughout history as well as what effect it has on us today. Students will learn about software and applications of music technology, as well as current professional careers in music. Students will also study the physics of sound and what allows us to hear and appreciate music.

Beg/Adv Choir

The New Kent High School Choral Program is an evolving program with emphasis on correct vocal production, performance technique, music theory, diction, sight-singing, traditional and classical choral repertoire, foreign language works, folk songs, musical theater, jazz pieces, and concert etiquette expectations. The program provides Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced levels of training according to the Virginia Choral Music SOL standards. The program is offered to students who would like to continue their vocal studies through audition based high school courses, with a goal of establishing foundational tools that will enable future vocal studies.

Department Members:

Brandon Hess (Chair)
Linda Gallant
Kendra Hunt
Jenifer Lowery

Susan Musselman