Outside the formal arts program, students have many other opportunities to explore the arts. Through the after-school club program and the daily Art Zman Kodesh, students have access to the studios and faculty to work on individual or group projects of their choosing. CESJDS students regularly participate in local and national art and photography competitions to have their work showcased and honored.
Images are a language system equally as powerful as words and numbers. Being able to consider the world in different ways inspires students to find alternate ways of solving a problem. As our students are exposed to a variety of artistic mediums in their Art and Design classes – drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, digital imaging – they are internalizing their creative processes while trying to “solve problems” within any given medium: How do I create a castle out of old disposable plastic film canisters? How do I create a 3D sculpture using only paper? How do I take a tiny object and transform it into a larger than life acrylic painting? Who am I as an artist and what does it mean to “be creative”?
Our students have the opportunity to showcase their artwork throughout the school, throughout the year. We believe it is our obligation to encourage and inspire each and every student’s ability to display their “visual language.” Students not only learn to appreciate the artwork of others – be they famous artists of yesteryear or the work of their peers – but they also learn to be intuitive, instinctive, and authentic.
All students in every grade have the opportunity to take Art and Design. Additionally, they may join the Art club. They may also join the environment committees for holidays and school productions and transform the school to visually capture the spirit of the event.
Walking through the hallways at CESJDS, one will see an array of art work including sculptural and functional ceramics that are proudly displayed throughout the school. Adorning the walls are themed clocks and masks inspired by various cultures from around the world. Also on display are themed Pinch Pots, functional bowls that depict a cohesive idea. There are wheel-thrown tea pots, bowls and vases as well as large serving trays demonstrating the out students' sophisticated aesthetic. Pacific Northwestern Totem Poles are also showcased, each animal individually constructed and then assembled to create the stacked Totem Poles.
In our classes, we look at specific cultures, artists and movements to delve into some of the functions and motivation for ceramic objects. This includes the construction and the decorative aspects, the latter of which depends upon an understanding of the different glazes. All of the projects involve practicing time-honored techniques, while studying the evolution of clay and the role it has played throughout history.
Grades 9 – 12 have the opportunity to take a ceramic elective which is tailored to experience level and accessible by all. The quality of the Ceramics on display throughout the school reflects the determination and pride of the Ceramic students.
All photography students learn how to operate a standard 35 mm camera and how to take quality photographs in black and white and color. Each student learns how to develop film and enlarge images in the dark room. Additionally, all students work with digital cameras. They crop, adjust and learn how to alter images artistically on the latest digital imaging software in our photography studio.
The Photography program also has a built-in mentoring program: more experienced students are encouraged to mentor those relatively new to Photography classes. School events are photographed in teams and students working together evaluate each other’s work.
Our CESJDS photography students have had their work showcased within the school – in the Yearbook, in the literary magazines, in the Arts Chai-Lights showcase – and externally: they can speak to tremendous successes in the Nora School Photography Competition, the Congressional Art competition, the Montgomery County Media Competition, and the Photo District News Magazine Competition.