One of the UK’s greatest cultural and economic assets is its creative industry. Britain’s art and design education has always been held in high international regard. Our arts graduates possess a wide range and depth of creativity which is coupled with original intellectual and innovative thought. Britain’s unique and long-standing creative tradition is exemplified by its achievements.
Our aim is to promote the understanding and use of Art and Design as a visual language. This subject provides visual, tactile and sensory experiences and a unique way of understanding and responding to the world. Students at OHS will learn to make informed value judgements and aesthetic and practical decisions. They will explore ideas and meanings in the work of other artists, craftspeople and designers, learning about the diverse roles and functions of Art and Design in contemporary life, and in different times and cultures.
Through Art and Design activities students will develop a wide range of practical skills whilst exploring their own ideas for work in both 2 dimensions and 3 dimensions. As students progress through the school they will become increasingly confident and more independent in using the visual language to communicate their own ideas, feelings and meanings. Students have the opportunity to work in media as diverse as photography, film, clay, steel, plaster, oil paints and textiles.
We take our students to Italy, Paris, Holland or Barcelona. These visits are used to support the critical and contextual work that students undertake for GCSE and A level.
Annual Gallery Visits
The Year 10 and 11 visit to the Ashmolean Museum is used to resource coursework projects. Year 11 Students gather images for their mock GCSE exam. Year 10 gather sources relating to their first themed unit.
Y12 and 13 students visit London galleries. This year they are gathering visual sources for a wide variety of individual projects including the Art History dissertation component of A2. The Tate Britain provides a vast range of artists’ work which directly relates to coursework study.
Art, English and RS at the Pitt Rivers museum
The Art, English and Religious Studies departments took all of Year 8 on a connected curriculum trip to the Pitt Rivers Museum on October 8th. It was a wonderful opportunity to make the most of this fantastic museum – just a short walk away through the University Parks. We were lucky enough to have a special talk on the Haida collection by museum staff and later a ‘hands-on’ session with the beautiful Javanese shadow puppets. There was plenty of time for the girls to draw and write about things that inspired them in the museum for projects relating to each of the subjects. We would like to thank everyone at the Pitt Rivers Museum for making us so welcome and helping us to learn from, and be inspired by, their collection.
Year 8 Connected Curriculum
This was a combined Art, RS and English visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum during which students were given the opportunity to handle Javanese shadow puppets. They sketched and gathered information to help them create their clay and textiles puppets during their circus lessons.
Art and Textiles Holland Trip 2012
The students filled their sketchbooks with fantastic drawings that reflected the long and action-packed days in the galleries. Seeing the collection from the Gemeentemuseum at The Hague with its variety of work from different historical periods right up to contemporary art was a highlight and provided particularly good inspiration for our exam students. We are looking forward to our future visit to Italy.
Year 9 wire birds
Wire birds made by Year 9 students experimenting with different media.
There are numerous Art clubs and the students take advantage of the Art facilities before school, after school and at lunchtime. It is a valuable opportunity to gain extra support with coursework and enjoy working with different people - and the younger students are supported and inspired by our Art scholars and other Sixth Form helpers. Many thanks to all students who regularly support competitions and charity work through their work in Art Clubs and outside school.
Post A Level
So, is there life after A levels? We currently have students studying a wide range of Art-related subjects at universities and Art colleges throughout the country. We regularly receive visits from our past students and it is always a fascinating insight into the world of Art today. It is fantastic to see our highly academic students leading the field in some of our lively creative industries on leaving higher education.
“Through Art, I have learnt how to experiment with different styles and take risks with my pieces. It’s taught me how to work to a brief, and adapt to different situations. It’s hugely rewarding to look through my sketchbook and see the progression of ideas, and how you can get from such a general topic to a final piece, using other artists’ work and first-hand sources. It gives you a new perspective, and begin to see the structure and form and colour in the most ordinary of things. I’m so glad I did Art for GCSE – it’s time-consuming, yes, and it’s definitely not a ‘soft’ subject, but it is incredibly satisfying and so much fun!”
“Nietzsche wrote: ‘Freedom appears only in creation. Our only happiness consists in creating. Our salvation does not lie in knowing but in creating.’, ‘As a creator you transcend yourself.’
Art is a truly inspiring subject with an infinite number of possibilities which allow you to express yourself in a wide range of ways. In some ways this subject is very free, an exception to the other subjects we study at school. Art does not consist of learning facts and dates, but of learning more about yourself and exploring the ideas within you. Art is a form of expression. It opens you up – expressing not only your likes and dislikes, but your emotion, your desires, your feelings, your fears, your views.
This subject teaches you to be specific in what you are trying to investigate and re-create. It allows you to open up your mind and understand. It makes you recognise artists’ techniques, and the symbolism behind their work, as well as learning about them and discovering their beliefs/religion/background/culture. This helps with many other subjects, such as history, RS etc. Art can never have one answer. It itself is infinite. You need to be able to realise your intentions and know that you have achieved them and that you have pushed your ideas and yourself to the best of your capabilities (and further).”