The fine-arts curriculum at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) includes courses in visual arts, performing arts, and digital arts. Studio courses allow students to explore their own artistic interests, such as painting, ceramics, printmaking, graphic design, animation, drama, set design, dance, vocal music, and musical theatre. Visits to galleries, museums, studios, or performances are incorporated into each course.
Fine-arts classes take place for 60 minutes on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. The seventh and eighth grades study music and drama one year, followed by dance and art the next. Students in grades 9 to 12 may choose to take the courses in which they have the greatest interest, satisfying certain requirements along the way. Each year, a few students take advantage of the opportunity to pursue music or art lessons off campus in place of a TJ fine-arts class.
Arts in the Community As part of the Fine Arts program, each student enjoys a season ticket to The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. The entire student body attends all six productions, along with faculty, staff, and interested parents. The following week, the students then have the opportunity to discuss the performance with actors, directors, or technical staff who visit the school. In addition, the Student Activities Committee selects a wide range of optional musical, theatre, and dance events off campus throughout the year, including an all-school trip to the Saint Louis Art Museum – or to one of St. Louis’s many other art institutions – for special exhibits. All of the fine-arts instructors share a commitment to exposing their students to as many aspects of the fine arts as possible.
The Visual Arts Gallery In addition to regular exhibitions of student work, TJ’s gallery exhibits artwork by local (and even international) artists. A committee of students, parents, faculty, staff, artists, and an art-organization representative determine what is displayed in the gallery, and with each show, the TJ community enjoys a great deal of interaction with the artists themselves.
The Artist-in-Residence TJ’s artist-in-residence is responsible for teaching, mentoring, and representing the visual arts in a learning environment that guides and encourages students to develop and fulfill their academic and artistic potential. He teaches two courses per academic year and mentors and advises students intending to pursue studies beyond TJ in the visual arts, design, film, etc. He also serves as the primary curator for the Visual Arts Gallery, fostering relationships between TJ and the larger arts community. About Greg Edmondson.
The Art Club Each year, the Art Club publishes a collection of visual arts and literature by students in its magazine, Pandora.
The All-School Play While the eighth grade performs a play each spring as part of its English class, older students produce, direct, and perform a play in the late fall. There is a faculty liaison for these productions, but the shows are almost entirely the work of the students.