Visual Arts

At OCS, the visual arts curriculum is set up to develop the student’s skill by focusing on the understanding and the use of art elements in a variety of media. But in the same way, the emphasis is also on a student’s visual literacy. That is, the student will learn to understand and appreciate the historical context, the cultural bases, and the current manifestations of visual art. In turn, the student will develop the ability to appropriately understand art, make aesthetic judgments, and create art.

Course Offerings

3-D Art

Recommended for students who have taken Art Studio or who have had previous experience with three-dimensional art, this course is designed to introduce students to concepts and techniques necessary to create sculptural forms and ceramics. For sculpture, it offers the advanced art student a chance to work in many materials available to sculptors today. Stone, metal, and wood sculpture will be emphasized. Innovative sculptures will be made from a variety of materials. For ceramics, this course can accommodate a range of skill levels. Students will be challenged to deepen their knowledge of both technique and concept while becoming more fully involved in all aspects of the ceramic process. Assignments will be geared toward specific themes such as tiles, vessels or functional pottery. At this level, students are expected to give specific attention to craftsmanship and self-expression. We will also view ceramic art in relationship to the cultural context in which it was created.


This course introduces students to the concepts of proportion, movement, character design, background layout, and principles of art. Students will receive instruction in storyboarding, applying techniques and receiving directive feedback, embarking in the creative process of visual storytelling. Students will experience an array of animation development, including computer-rendered animation. The course will include an overview of the history and development of animation as a field.

Art Portfolio

Students will have already learned in pre-requisite courses that art plays a unique and important role in furthering God’s Kingdom through praise and witness through a display of images and God given talent. Students enrolled in Art Portfolio will already understand that art plays an important role in society and that it is a viable pursuit as a career. All students enrolled in this class will be pursuing art as either a major or minor in college. The foundation of the course will be producing a portfolio for admittance into an art program at the college level. Also, the students will be meeting with college representatives and practicing artists, and visiting art museums. The students will also participate in regular critiques of their own work as well as the work of their peers. Another feature of the course will be looking at and discussing the whole concept of what it means to be a Christian artist in our culture.

Art Studio

Art Studio is an introductory yearlong course. Students explore many diverse art techniques and approaches to communicate their ideas. Assignments emphasize the elements of art, principles of design, aesthetic awareness and problem-solving skills. Projects include printmaking, leather and beadwork, glasswork, drawing, collage, painting, and mixed media. Students also have the opportunity to work with PMC clay (pure silver) and wire jewelry. Emphasis is placed on personal effort, creativity, craftsmanship and technical skill.


Ceramics is a beginning to intermediate-level course for students interested in working with clay to create hand-built and wheel-thrown pieces. Students will focus on ceramic forms and surface enrichment including glaze application and kiln firing techniques. Structure, function, form and decorative elements as well as the historical and cultural applications of ceramics will be learned throughout the year. Group critiques and individual analysis will be used for grading purposes. Creative problem-solving is encouraged as students learn to work with this challenging but rewarding media.

Drawing & Painting and Advanced Drawing & Painting

Drawing & Painting - This course is designed to help further students’ sense of design and technique, as well as to help the students realize how two-dimensional arts play a role in society and in emotional and spiritual expression. We will study and respond to the work of other artists to learn about visual expression and how to appreciate other artwork. The students will enhance their drawing and painting skills through various projects, including different mediums and styles. They will learn to study scenes and objects in order to obtain a basic grasp of line, shape, space, value, form, mass, thrust and movement. Students will have opportunities to create works of art using many different mediums and tools such as pencil, ink, charcoal, pastel, acrylics, oils, and printmaking.

Advanced Drawing & Painting - Students will have already learned in pre-requisite courses that art plays a unique and important role in our lives through a display of images and God-given talent. As Drawing and Painting focused on learning technique and enhancing skill, Advanced Drawing and Painting focuses on enhancing the student’s creativity and understanding of two-dimensional composition. The students will take the skills they acquired in Drawing and Painting and apply them to the studies of work of other artists. This course will also focus on how an artist prepares for various careers that employ capable and knowledgeable sketch artists and painters. The course will also explore how a Christian artist goes about seeking artistic purpose and how to follow it in an art career.

Film & Video I, Film & Video II and Film & Video III

Film & Video I - This digital video course will provide students with a basic understanding of the technology and techniques used behind video as an information medium, and explore ways in which it is created to achieve its desired effect on an audience. Upon completion, students will be able to demonstrate production skills and techniques, both in front of and behind the camera, as it relates to producing a variety of video formats. Example formats include producing a school news program, public service announcements, promotional advertising commercials, music videos and community documentaries.

Film & Video II - Students will be introduced to the main elements of film and video productions and their historical development. This film and video course also provides students with a basic understanding of technology and techniques used behind film and video as a medium for visual expression, exploring ways in which film is created to achieve its desired effect on an audience. The course also examines several “Hollywood” films and discusses the importance of watching with a critical eye, developing an appreciation for the art form. Upon completion, students will be able to demonstrate production skills and techniques as they relate to producing a variety of video formats. Example projects include producing a public service announcement, a promotional advertising commercial, a music video, and a documentary. Prerequisite: Film & Video I.

Film & Video III - Students continue to develop their repertoire of short films, studying the techniques of director’s and applying to their own work, aiming to participate in an end-of-the-year campus film festival. Prerequisite: Film & Video II.

Broadcast Journalism

This course will expose the students to the workings of a news broadcast. Students will have the opportunity and the responsibility to fulfill each of the positions, including anchor, reporter, camera operator, editor and producer. A weekly news broadcast centered on student life, on and off, campus will be produced by the class.

Advanced Broadcast Journalism is for students who have already taken Broadcast Journalism and are ready for more difficult assignments in the course.


This course provides students with a unique opportunity to produce a published book using visual imagery, writing, and photography. Students will learn to interview, gather information through research, learn photojournalism and what makes a good storytelling photo, and compile beautiful spreads using industry standard publishing software programs Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. Yearbook is one of the best classes to teach life skills including collaboration, problem-solving, communication, and meeting real-world deadlines. Student will be eligible for leadership roles, and for membership into the Oaks Christian Quill & Scroll International Honor Society charter. There is also opportunity to travel to national journalism conventions, including a prestigious national journalism convention at Columbia University in New York.


Graphic Design

Graphic Design - Students in this course will develop a working knowledge and understanding of the elements and principles of art as they explore two-dimensional design utilizing Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. They are presented with the challenges of sketching, scanning and creating everything they need for a project according to production deadlines. At the end of each deadline, students learn to give constructive criticism of their classmates’ designs utilizing the appropriate elements and principles of design. This course provides students with a historical context of graphic design as a foundation from which they may gain appreciation, inspiration, and a sense for their current cultural and technological context. In addition, students learn about the process a design must go through from inception to production. This class also aims to give students a taste for the real world challenges that come with designing for a client. Students create and show works throughout the year.

Photography I, Photography II and Photography III

Photography I - This course introduces photography, both black & white and color. The class will provide students with opportunities to apply technical knowledge of the camera with design elements to further their ability to communicate visually. Students will become proficient in the use of the 35mm camera: black and white (the primary background for instruction), lighting technique, color and digital photography, and darkroom skills. Students will also learn visual elements and principles of design. The study of art history, contemporary and commercial photography, and critique of student work will be included in the instruction. Students will build and manage a portfolio of their own work for later use. A 35mm single reflex camera with manual controls will be required.

Photography II - This course extends the objectives of the Photography I and develops advanced skills in composition, thematic elements, lighting, studio lighting, special effects, color printing, and developing. Students create and show works throughout the year. Prerequisite: Photography I.

Photography III - This class will focus on developing skills for storytelling with photographs. Students will learn how to tell meaningful stories with individual images, with series of images, and with series of images set to original scripts and sound tracks. Students will study some of the most impactful images in history and dissect how they told their stories. Each student will learn to apply the structure of storytelling to create projects that can have a positive impact on our school, the community and the world. Prerequisite: Photography II.

Advanced Placement Offerings

OCO AP Art History

OCO AP Art History - Art history goes far beyond the memorization of dates. It follows the thread of human emotion and thought, giving us—hundreds, even thousands of years later—critical insight for understanding the cultures that have come before us. Humans take an incredible interest in each other, and art has always been the voice of culture and collective human thought. By studying the art, we study the people behind the art and engage in a conversation with those who came long before us. This online course is weighted on a 5.0 scale, as all honors and advanced courses are, and it prepares students to take the AP Art History exam.