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Art Program Informs Students' Lives at Campolindo High School

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This article is presented in partnership with CA Lottery.

Serving Moraga, Lafayette and Orinda, Campolindo High School has a commitment to the arts, unparalleled in many public schools. A California Distinguished School, the 53-year-old institution offers 30 sections of art coursework to students in all grades. Much of the coursework takes a strong focus on the studio arts, video production and digital photography.

The next artist to take the art world by storm could very well graduate from here.


Studio Art: An Emphasis On Skill, Talent And Creativity

Studio art courses at Campolindo begin with the acquisition of broad-based skills. Students are urged to develop artistic perception and create original artwork, via a combination of traditional and cutting-edge techniques.

This course pushes students to find their own voice while learning to appreciate the history of art and those who have come before them. A deep cultural context is provided in class, but students also journal and maintain a sketchbook to commemorate outside gallery and museum visits.

As their skill sets increase, students are provided the opportunity to hone visual problem-solving acuity and to become more adventurous with their art through drawing, painting and printmaking. Students maintain their own portfolios and find their artistic niche through oral and written critiques of student, historical and contemporary artists.

Students continue to develop their eye and passion for art as their studies shift towards deep experimentation in two and three-dimensional media. Experimentation is encouraged as students participate in exhibitions of their own work and choose the mediums to work within.

Each student works directly in concert with a mentor on outside gallery exploration and the acquisition of a specific and personal artistic theme or concern which will define their portfolio. The acquisition of advanced technical skill continues and the ability to think and create independently from a place of honesty, individuality and power is fostered as well.


Photography And Digital Design: Finding A Personal Eye And Telling The World's Stories

Geared towards the development of mastery in the areas of concept, composition and creation of photographic and two-dimensional works, AP students ultimately produce a two-dimensional portfolio of their own original work. Students acquire in-depth knowledge of and acuity in a specific artistic area and become familiar with advanced software techniques, digital processing and tools and advanced photographic concepts. Students also learn about the history of photography and photographers of note.

Students who take Photography/Digital Design benefit from an interdisciplinary approach to subjects throughout the humanities as informed by the visual arts, in particular, photography. Within this college preparatory class, students acquire comprehension of artistic expression and its ability to tell history's stories, both past and present. Course work includes the creation of photographic work and analysis of historic and contemporary photographers through their body of work and written biographies and reviews.

Group discussions promote an understanding of photographic techniques and each photographer's contribution to their era.

For many of Campolindo's students, art is life and their conduit to a dream career. For others, it is an informing mirror into past and present, able to increase understanding of humanity and the natural world, as well as provide context for their own lives and multifaceted goals.


Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at

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