The fine-arts curriculum at Thomas Jefferson (TJ) includes art history and music appreciation, courses that give students a basic knowledge of some major art forms and their importance in history and civilization. It also includes studio courses, which allow students to explore their own artistic interests, such as painting, sculpture, mold-making, drama, water color, 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 On Friday afternoons, TJ’s artist-in-residence holds an open studio for 90 minutes, available to all students who wish to work on their own or with the help of the artist. We also encourage interested students to submit their work to various local and state competitions. The artist-in-residence assists these students with their submissions, as well as helping with portfolio review during the college-application process. 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. In recent years, the club has also produced an art fair and a fashion show.
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.