Cliff Grade 11

Visual Arts Advanced II 


Teacher Contact- Email is the preferred method or a voicemail can be left at 720-424-1777

This Week In Class

Artist Statement for completed pieces

Ideas, research and sketches for new independent piece

Finished piece due April 21st

This Week’s Sketchbook Assignment: 

First thing they should know is that this is by the same person who didHamilton. They will also enjoy listening to the soundtrack which should inspire them as well – and since it is contemporary music (rap/latin/etc) they should find it actually appealing to listen to!  They can Youtube it if they search “In the Heights Soundtrack”.
We are looking to break out of the traditional way that the musical is done.  It usually always has the same set (they can easily find images if they google the show) and the same colors.  Even the graphics and the colors are always the same.  We would like to pay homage to it but also make it completely our own and different.  
The theme is family and home – and how we create these with the people we love no matter who they are and where we are.  Images can be the urban signatures of bricks/walls/graffiti as well family, friendship.  The piragua guy is a staple image, the lottery plays an important role in the story, the bodega/salon/car service are major as well.  It’s a challenge because the title implies the location: Washington Heights but that isn’t a very exciting thing to visually represent – however there isn’t like a main character or two to represent since it’s about a community. Usanavi is about as close we you get since he is our narrator throughout the show but honestly I would love to have the image be more about people dancing (breakdancing, leaping, etc.) around the urban landscape since the goal is to have the show be like a constant dance.
Here is the synopsis. I’m also sending you pictures of when I went and visited the location where the musical is set (aka Washington Heights)
Act 1[edit]
At the crack of dawn, on the hottest day of summer, Usnavi chases away a graffiti artist from his tiny bodega in Washington Heights, opens the store, and introduces the major characters (“In the Heights”). Last to appear is Nina Rosario, back from her freshman year at Stanford University, who readies herself to give her parents some bad news (“Breathe”). Meanwhile, Nina’s parents, Kevin and Camila, seek an emergency loan to keep their struggling taxi dispatch afloat, temporarily leaving Benny, a young employee and friend of Nina’s, in charge; the two reconnect (“Benny’s Dispatch”).
At the hair salon across the street, Vanessa, Usnavi’s potential love interest, dreams of escaping to a studio apartment in the West Village, remaining optimistic despite her own financial insecurity (“It Won’t Be Long Now”). When Vanessa stops by Usnavi’s bodega, Usnavi’s younger cousin Sonny asks her out to a romantic evening on Usnavi’s behalf, and she accepts.
Nina’s parents return and she reveals how she lost her academic scholarship and dropped out of Stanford. Kevin is devastated that he cannot provide for his daughter (“Inútil”). Nina seeks comfort from Vanessa, but the salon owner and local gossip, Daniela, sits Nina down for a makeover, coercing Vanessa into admitting that she cares about Usnavi’s decisions; Nina then reveals to the salon that she has dropped out (“No Me Diga”).
After Usnavi discovers that he sold a winning lottery ticket worth $96,000, everyone on the block dreams of how they would each spend the small fortune (“96,000”). Later, Abuela Claudia—the beloved neighborhood matriarch who “practically raised” Usnavi as a young orphan—reflects on her childhood journey from Cuba to New York in 1943, showing the audience that she secretly holds the winning lottery ticket (“Paciencia y Fe”).
Nina and Benny take a tour of the neighborhood and reminisce, sharing romantic feelings (“When You’re Home”). The local Piragua Guy comes out and sings a song in an attempt to sell his piragua (“Piragua”). Later, at a dinner party, Kevin announces that he has sold the family car service to pay for Nina’s tuition. Vanessa and Usnavi then enter a dance club for their date, followed by a furious Benny, who is now out of work, and an apologetic Nina; tensions rise on the dance floor because Vanessa and Usnavi are attempting to make each other jealous, while Benny drunkenly hits a man dancing with Nina (“The Club”). The entire club breaks out into a huge fight when, suddenly, the power goes out throughout the city, probably due to the intense summer heat. The neighborhood erupts into chaos and Usnavi, Vanessa, Nina and Benny all look for each other in the darkness. Meanwhile, Sonny and his mischievous boyfriend from the opening of the show, Graffiti Pete, attempt to distract the bodega from any potential looters by setting off fireworks obtained in preparation for the Fourth of July; at the same time, Abuela Claudia reveals to Usnavi that she won the lottery, while Nina and Benny find each other, argue, and then kiss (“Blackout”).
Act 2[edit]
Benny and Nina spend the night together and it is now the morning of the Fourth of July. Nina teaches Benny some Spanish phrases, while he shares his stress over what Kevin will think of their new relationship (“Sunrise”). Down on the street, Usnavi’s bodega has been looted. Abuela Claudia convinces Usnavi they should use her lottery winnings to move to Usnavi’s homeland: the Dominican Republic, encouraging him to ‘find his island’. Usnavi agrees to pursue this lifelong dream at last (“Hundreds of Stories”).
Nina’s parents have been searching for Nina. When they learn she was with Benny, Kevin is furious. Kevin vows that Benny will never be a part of the Rosario family because he is not Latino, but Camila ends the family fight (“Enough”). It is high noon and all are frustrated by the extreme heat and continuing power outage. The locals, led by Daniela, muster enough energy for a last celebration before the bodega, salon, and dispatch shut their doors forever. Vanessa complains about having been abandoned by Usnavi during the blackout the previous night, and Daniela finally snaps, telling the whole neighborhood “we all know that (Usnavi) loves you”. Usnavi publicly announces that Abuela Claudia won the lottery, and he and she will soon leave for the Dominican Republic; the neighborhood celebrates, though Vanessa is heartbroken, and Sonny feels abandoned. When Daniela publicly gossips about Benny and Nina’s night together, Sonny snaps, having had a crush on Nina himself, and goes into a rant about how once “they close the bodega, the neighborhood is gone”. Usnavi comforts him, revealing that he and Claudia plan to split the money three ways- a third for Abuela, a third for Usnavi, and a third for Sonny. Quelling Sonny’s fears of it being their last time all together, Usnavi manages to rally the block for a huge blowout (“Carnaval del Barrio”). Kevin makes a sudden announcement over the taxi radios: Abuela Claudia has died (“Atención”). The neighborhood holds a vigil for Claudia, while Usnavi, attributing her death to a “combination of the stress and the heat,” makes an impromptu eulogy (“Alabanza”). Usnavi and Nina rummage through boxes of Claudia’s keepsakes (“Everything I Know”). As Nina discovers photographs from her own high school graduation, she decides to accept her father’s sacrifice and return to Stanford.
Across the street, as Daniela closes her salon, she reveals one last bit of juicy news: she will co-sign on Vanessa’s dream apartment in the West Village, thanks to a little convincing from Usnavi (“No Me Diga” – Reprise). Meanwhile, the Piragua Guy’s rival, Mr. Softee, is unable to sell due to his truck being broken down, and Piragua Guy celebrates the flourishing of his business (“Piragua” – Reprise). Vanessa brings a bottle of champagne to thank Usnavi and, though she flirts with him, he is so flustered by Claudia’s death and Vanessa being open with him that he is unable to appreciate Vanessa’s attempts; Vanessa finally kisses him and leaves (“Champagne”). Meanwhile, Benny worries about his relationship with Nina, since her decision to go back west, and they stand together while the sun sets, uncertain of their future (“When the Sun Goes Down”).
The next morning, Usnavi wakes up early to begin closing up shop. In just a few weeks, Usnavi imagines that the block will be completely changed. Sonny, however, has commissioned Graffiti Pete to paint a mural of Abuela Claudia on the bodega’s grate. Pete now rolls down the bodega grate in front of Usnavi, revealing the memorial. Usnavi is stunned that they completed this all in one night; he tells Sonny and Pete to spread the news that he has changed his mind to stay, promises to pursue Vanessa, and realizes that “I’ve found my island, I’ve been on it this whole time- I’m home!” (“Finale”).

Writing Assignment

Research an artist that inspires you.  Discuss what draws you to the artist and their work.  Describe their process and art.  Do you find yourself in their artwork?  What similarities do you find between you and the artist or in your artwork?  Due May 9th

 Important Dates to Know                                                                                    

Writing #1  Tuesday, January 24

Writing #2  Tuesday, February 21

3rd Quarter Show   Thursday, March 9

Writing #3  Tuesday, March 21

Writing #4   Tuesday, May 9th

4th Quarter Show  Friday, May 19

Visual Arts Requirements and Policies                                                

It is the responsibility of every student to be familiar with and honor classroom policies and Department Requirements listed on the Denver School of the Arts VA home page.

Students involved in a quality art program will learn to convey ideas, and emotions through their artwork. Students will improve their ability to analyze, critique, and understand as they create. Students will practice and experiment with a variety of art materials and techniques while developing drawing and painting skills. Students will learn to express their ideas visually and communicate personal concepts through writing assignments and Artist Statements.

Tool Box- The list of items that must be included in the Tool Box can be found on the VA home page. Please have these everyday.

Sketchbook– A sketchbook is required for weekly sketchbook assignments and may be purchased through the VA Department.  Sketchbook Assignments reinforce vocabulary and concepts that will be presented in class.  Each Sketchbook Assignment will be discussed in class before it is due.  You are to draw the assignment so that it fills the entire page in your sketchbook.  Give yourself 1 inch borders around the edge of the page using a ruler.  Use this space to clearly label the assignment and write you name.  Each Sketchbook Assignment must be completed in the sketchbook and be presented as part of the weekly in class critique to receive full credit.  Each Sketchbook Assignment is worth up to 10 points.  1 point will be deducted for each day it is late.

Flash Drive- Each student is responsible for their own work, and also saving that work. Any writing assignments or digital files must be saved in a secure place not on a school computer. Saving work on a USB flash drive is an easy way to do so. Please make sure that you use a 1G or larger.

Sketchbook Assignments                                                                                           Your sketchbook should be used to develop ideas, plan and research.  Use the weekly assignments to prepare for larger pieces.  You may also select one of the following as a prompt to get you thinking.

Draw the News Live- Draw the nightly news during the broadcast of the anchors, what they are saying and include the footage to illustrate what is happening.  You may use words and pictures.

 Monumental VS. Minimize- Create a composition using two objects or more.  They must be of a different scale.  When you draw them reverse the proportions so the small is big and the big is small.

 A Mirror Reflection- Draw a realistic portrait of yourself using a mirror for reference. Make sure to shade to create value changed.

Me, Myself and I – After studying the work of Edvard Munch draw a self-portrait using a mirror as a reference and show strong emotion on your face.  You may use an abstract style if you wish but be expressive.

From All Sides- Cubistic Artists drew objects from multiple views and would include them in one composition. Take an object that may appear different from different views.  Include at least three views on one piece of paper as a composition.

Music to My Eyes- Take a look at artwork by Kandinsky.  Think about creating work inspired by music, colors, lines and movement across the canvas.  Use media of your choice and be sure to express the emotional qualities of the music.  No lyrics please.

Paper Cuts- Study the work of Henri Matisse and create a collage of cut paper pieces that relate to a scene from your world that you have observed.

 Juxtaposition Composition- Create a surreal composition with magazine photos that combines an unusual arrangement of images.  To get started do some research and look at work by Rene’ Magritte for inspiration.


Evaluation- This course follows The Denver Public School Grading System

 In-Class Assignment- Students will be evaluated on how well they have met the stated objectives for in-class art projects, written assignments, and tests. With each completed project an artist statement is also to be included with student work. This allows students to explain the concept and techniques used to create the work. Craftsmanship is also closely looked at in this course, and is graded. Work is to be neatly presented and labeled. The presentation is a part of the grade.

Sketchbook Assignments- It is important to spend time interpreting each assignment in a unique and creative way. Each assignment must be done with as much professionalism as possible. Completed assignments and work must reflect an effort that is to the best of your ability.

 Professional Points- all students are expected to be responsible and to do their best work at all times. Points may be earned for putting forth best effort each day and being on time and prepared. Points may also be deducted for unexcused absences, being tardy to class, late Sketchbook Assignments, class disruptions, misuse of materials, lack of participation or not putting forth one’s best effort in class.

There will be a final assessment in the course.

AP Breadth Coursework for Visual Arts Advanced- Work at the advanced level is independent in design within a framework of structured assignments, peer dialogue and formal critique with instructors. Higher level thinking skills of observation, comprehension, reflection, invention, connection and transfer in addition to advanced artistic skill are encouraged and expected from all students. Discipline, a strong studio work ethic, and work outside of class are required for growth and success.

The Breadth Portfolio- Students will complete 12 highly resolved works displaying artistic mastery of a variety of themes, genre’s, media’s techniques, and styles. Works should also demonstrate understanding of the basic art elements and design principles. Completion of this portfolio in the junior year prepares students for sophisticated choices for specialized work to pursue for the concentration portfolio and senior show. This is the first part of the AP Studio Art Portfolio and can be submitted in the senior year for AP credit.

 Step One- Students work together with peers and teachers to review examples of their completed high school work from the past 2 years. They check off categories on the Breadth Chart found in these pieces.

Step Two- As assignments are given through the school year, students use the chart to select areas where they do not have checks.   The goal is to fill in as much of the breadth chart as possible so they can exhibit a finished portfolio demonstrating a depth of skill and experience. Students continue the review process in Step One throughout the year, replacing older examples with better work if they reach the 12-piece minimum.

Art History- Students will explore the work of specific, self-selected artists to identify style and mark making tendencies in a variety of subjects. Students will explore the meaning of “style.” Students will survey contemporary art forms in an attempt to understand the notion of creating visual “ideas” over “images.”

Drawing and Painting Skills for the Semester

Students will build on fundamental art concepts and rendering skills with additional experimentation in the following areas:

Exploring mark making in a variety of media

Responding to the human form as subject mater

Definition of form through subtle and dramatic value changes

Still life, portraiture, personal identity in portraiture, narrative drawing

Study of negative vs. positive space in design

Development of personal voice and content

11th Grade Breadth Portfolio

Each piece must demonstrate technical skill

Each piece must be a finished work that shows a completed, clear idea

Each piece must reflect personal content, a theme, or strong idea

Plug in media/skills that you do not have a strong example of

Work on richness of image, content and craftsmanship.

Always consider how much further you can take a concept or idea.

Evidence of research in 3 areas for each project is required


Technique/Media to be used


Breadth Portfolio Requirements

Black pencil rendering

Pen and ink rendering

2 paintings (optional mixed media, print, pastel, charcoal, crayon)

One direct observation piece from life (not from a photo reference)


Still life

Interior with depth

Self portrait (face or figurative) from an unusual angle

Figure Drawing examples

2 Sculptural or 3D pieces



Self Portrait as a Still life with objects, (Books in a totem format?)

Use a variety of objects that reflect your identity

Process mark making piece layering marks and materials for depth and

transparency. You should be able to explain your process.

White paint on black

Fantasy, Fear, or Premonition (Denver’s future destruction?)

(earthquake, nuclear warfare, flood, giant aliens etc?)

Use contemporary products or behaviors to make a statement on our


Respond to a masterpiece from art history in depth and respond to it.

 Graded Activities and Assignments

Weekly sketchbook assignments, submitted on Mondays for class critique

Three required written assignments including one gallery review and one artist

Interview with cover letter

Mandatory attendance at both VA Quarter art exhibitions

Class drawing exercises (1 – 2 days)

Class critiques and small group discussions

Lecture and viewing of art works

Individual and small group art projects (3 – 14 days)

Quizzes and Written Assessments


1st Quarter                  45% (50% product and 50% process)

2nd Quarter                 45% (50% product and 50% process)

Final Assessment   10%

Please use the parent IC Portal to check grades on a regular basis.  Written work, homework assignments, artistic process, as well as projects are important components of this classWriting and verbal skills are emphasized as major elements in artistic success and are integrated through class discussion, reviews, essays and quizzes. Students will be presented with a rubric for each major assignment. It is better to turn in incomplete work than not to turn in anything since nothing turned in will be a zero, however, incomplete work may not be displayed in a final critique or quarter show. Most assignments are worth 10 points each. Longer assignments and projects are generally worth 15 – 20 points.

You Must Keep All Work from the semester until the semester is over for the final assessment. Class attendance, attitude, studio responsibility, on-task behaviors, and critiques are part of the process grade.

Late Work– penalized 10% per school day and cannot be submitted after 10 school days. No late work is accepted the last week of the quarter except in the case of excused absences. Excused absences (only illness or family emergencies) are allowed only 2 additional days per excused absence day to complete work. After 4 late assignments in a semester, no additional late work will be accepted. Projects not completed for critique will be penalized another 10%.

Behavior Expectations

 The sketchbook and toolbox is required in class every day.

 All art projects must be retained in the school portfolio until the end of the semester for final assessment.

 Class Attendance is crucial in a studio class that meets for a double block daily. Many in class experiences cannot be made up, especially those using a model or class demonstrations. Students are required to attend class unless excused for illness or family emergencies.   Please plan travel and routine medical appointments outside of regular school hours.  Teachers are not required to produce advance assignments for students who miss school for family travel.  Attendance in the major is extremely important for success.

Important Things to Remember While in the Classroom

Be in your seat when class begins.

Be open to trying new techniques, receptive to learning about all areas of art and maintain a positive, inquisitive attitude.

Critique participation is an important part of art school process and all students must fully participate
Be open to trying new techniques and receptive to learning about all areas of art. A positive, inquisitive mind-set is expected from all students.

Critique participation is a major part of the art school process.

Care for the studio space, equipment and supplies in a cooperative and responsible manner. Clean up and replacement of tools is a group responsibility.

 NO FOOD (except water bottles with screw lids) is permitted in VA classrooms. Drink cups or cans left at the studio door will be thrown away. Repeated offenders will be assigned cleaning duties in the studio after school.

Students are not allowed in the  middle room or Jewelry studio without teacher permission.

Focus for the full block-period without excessive noise or horseplay.

Respectful behavior toward the instructor, peers and the artwork of others

 The computers in this lab are not yours. Do not change anything as other VA students use these each period.

Do not save anything to the desktop or computer.

Computers may be used for research as directed by teacher. Each student is responsible for keeping their assigned device secure and safe from falls, spills, etc. and returning the laptops and other digital devices at the end of class.

Cell Phones-may not be used for viewing reference photos or conducting research.

No texting or voice communication during class.

No cell phone use of any kind during testing or critiques.

Cell phones and headphones are a distraction to the learning process and will not be permitted in class. When the bell rings all devices are put away unless otherwise noted.

There will be no use of headphones or ear buds during instruction. Students may listen to music with teacher permission once the class is working independently as long as it is not a distraction to others and you can still hear me if I need to address the class.

Raise your hand if you have a question or need help.

All artwork must be original work created by you. No copy work.

If it is not yours do not touch it.

Clean up materials and the area you are working in before you leave.