In the Spotlight
About Visual Arts
The Visual Arts is a discipline of study that offers students an opportunity to develop aesthetic and cultural awareness through exploration leading to creative expression. Creativity, encouraged through the study of visual arts, is essential to nurture and develop the whole child. Visual Arts develop cognitive functioning and increase student academic achievement, higher order thinking, communication and collaboration skills, making the visual arts applicable to college readiness, career opportunities, workplace environments, social skills, and everyday life. Visual Art engages and motivates all students through active learning, critical thinking and innovative problem-solving.
As defined in the Texas Education Code, Fine Arts are a part of the “required academic curriculum.” Senate Bill 815 stipulates that instruction in the Arts must be delivered and assessed under the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. No Child Left Behind defines the Arts as a part of the “academic core curriculum.” The study of Fine Arts is a critical component of the balanced curriculum in RRISD, and our department has been recognized as outstanding at the state level and beyond for many years.
Rigorous curricular study in the Visual Arts also offers students a variety of activities beyond the academic classroom. This includes the RRISD Secondary Art Show; Visual Art Scholastic Event (VASE), Junior Visual Art Scholastic Event (Jr. VASE), Elementary Art Exhibition, Art UIL, service learning through the Round Rock Empty Bowls Festival and an active community exhibitions schedule, alongside numerous other arts events and initiatives.
At all grade levels and campuses, the fine arts support student learning by developing critical thinking skills, encouraging active participation in learning across the curriculum, and providing opportunities for self-expression through a variety of media. In Round Rock ISD, the fine arts are more than enrichment, they are a critical component of our graduate profile.
Elementary Visual Arts
Students in the Round Rock ISD (RRISD) Elementary Art program learn essential skills through the Aligned Round Rock Curriculum (ARRC) that focus on timeless and broad concepts employing the elements and principles of design.
Students experience rich instruction in media and techniques through painting, drawing, sculpting, printmaking, ceramics, mixed media, weaving, collage, digital art and more. Additionally, students experience essential art knowledge through the elements and principles of design, art history, cultures from various countries, and critical thinking and problem solving skills.They become familiar with a wide range of materials and their use in artistic pursuits, and will relate their work to topical and historical events.
Students also learn how to talk about art experiences and share their interpretation, thoughts and appreciation about various works of art. The RRISD Elementary Art program provides sequential visual art content and unique learning experiences at each grade level that helps students become more aware of their physical environment, extend and develop the use of the senses, and utilize inventive thinking.
Secondary Visual Arts
Students at the middle school level in Round Rock ISD are exposed to a wide variety of techniques and media. From painting to sculpting, from drawing to mixed media; there are many different experiences for the middle school student. Students are instructed in the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design, create unique and individual works of art, learn to talk about works of art created by others, as well as reflect on their own. Middle school student artists establish a foundation of knowledge and skills that will prepare them for high school visual art and life. Students choose coursework in Art Middle School 1, Art Middle School 2, and Art I for Middle School (High School credit).
High School visual art students in RRISD begin their coursework in a general art class (Art I or Art & Media I) that focuses on the Elements of Art and the Principles of Design. Students create unique and individual works of art, learn to talk about works of art created by others, as well as reflect on their own. Once students have completed Art I or Art & Media I, they then get to focus their visual art experience into a deeper, focused of study in coursework from Art & media II, Pre-AP Studio II, Drawing I, II, III, Painting I, II, III, Ceramics I, II, III and Sculpture I, II, III. Art students in upper division coursework may enroll in Advanced Placement 2D Design Portfolio, Advanced Placement Drawing Portfolio or Advanced Placement 3D Portfolio.
High School Academies
All five high schools in Round Rock ISD (Cedar Ridge, McNeil, Round Rock, Stony Point, and Westwood) offer fine arts programs of study. The State of Texas House Bill 5 has put in place an endorsement for Arts and Humanities. Pathways include: Dance, Music, Theatre, and Visual Art. Our coherent sequence for the Arts and Humanities endorsement is based on the following:
* Visual Art – Four credits of Visual Art: Art I plus any combination of the offerings in Art II, III, and IV (painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, photography, 2D/3D AP design, etc.), as long as at least one Level III or IV course is included)
* Performing Arts – Four credits of sequential classes in up to two of the following strands: Music, Theatre or Dance, as long as at least one Level III or IV course is included. (For example, a student might take courses in both Theatre and Dance, or courses in both Music and Theatre.)
In addition to the pathways of study in visual and performing arts that are offered at all five of our high schools, there are unique courses offered for students at Cedar Ridge High School and Westwood High School. These programs increase course choices and allow students to study some subjects in greater depth. Areas of specialized courses are in visual art, music, theatre, and dance. These unique courses include, but are not limited to, instruction in Ballet, Tap Dance, Jazz Dance, and Piano Performance.
To learn more about the academies, please choose the pathway of study for the campus with which you are interested: