Fine Arts

The Fine Arts department fosters an environment that encourages students to think, learn, and create while challenging them to work toward excellence and self-understanding. We promote: the development, expression, and evaluation of ideas and processes; the ability to produce, read, and interpret dramatic, musical and visual symbols; and the assimilation of information needed to recognize and understand the artistic achievements of various societies.

Dance

Dance

Second semester

This class gives students a language in movement and increases their knowledge of the basic elements of dance. Styles may include modern dance, basic ballet, break dancing, hip-hop, and improvisation. Class assignments involve concepts for creative expression, movement ideas, choreography, and development of a personal aesthetic. Watching videos and attending professional performances helps students develop observational skills and exposes students to the broad spectrum of dance as a cultural medium. Dance can be taken for either Fine Arts or PE credit. Students must notify the registrar of what type of credit they choose before class begins; credit selection cannot be changed after the add/ drop period ends.

Drama

Semester Classes

The Craft of Acting

First semester

In this course students explore the unique skills professional actors develop in training. Through improvisation, theatre games, and current plays, students investigate the rudiments of character, scene, and play analysis and learn the steps actors take to create a play. The course concentrates on the six basic elements of acting: concentration, memory of emotion, inner monologue, rhythm, movement, and characterization as well as Fleming's Law of Acting, "Actors don't act, they react." Students are highly encouraged to see professional theatre and are required to attend any University Prep Fine Arts department production presented that semester.

Film Studies

Second semester

This course is a study of the motion picture industry from its beginnings to the present time. Studies begin with series photography as developed by Eadweard Muybridge, and continue through technical developments such as Eastman’s flexible film, Edison’s development of early sound films, and the technical and social contributions of D.W. Griffith and other film pioneers. The course emphasizes the impact and influence of gender, race, and social reform on the film industry.

Play Production - Dramatic Play

Second semester

This class offers students the experience of the rehearsal and performance process. From basic acting technique through performance and critique, students experience the full range of the actor’s process. The class will include one nonperforming student who serves as the stage manager for the production, assisting the director throughout the semester. This student should have prior experience with Stagecraft. Rehearsal and performance requirements: four or five weeks before performance, after-school or evening rehearsals are required. Students who enroll in this class may not participate in after-school sports.

Play Production - Musical

First semester

This class offers students the experience of the rehearsal and performance process. From basic acting technique through performance and critique, students experience the full range of the actor’s process. The class will include one nonperforming student who serves as the stage manager for the production, assisting the director throughout the semester. This student should have prior experience with Stagecraft. Rehearsal and performance requirements: four or five weeks before performance, after-school or evening rehearsals are required. Students who enroll in this class may not participate in after-school sports.

Stagecraft - Dramatic Play

Second semester

Working in conjunction with the Play Production class, Stagecraft students study the technical aspects of theater, including the design and production of scenery, lighting, sound, properties, costumes and publicity. During the semester, students research, design and construct all elements of the set. Students serve as the stage crew during tech rehearsals and performances, providing production support, technical direction and stage management. Rehearsal and performance requirements: students are required to attend all technical and dress rehearsals scheduled during the afternoons and evenings of the week prior to opening, as well as all performances. Students who enroll in this class may not participate in after-school sports.

Stagecraft - Musical

First semester

Working in conjunction with the Play Production class, Stagecraft students study the technical aspects of theater, including the design and production of scenery, lighting, sound, properties, costumes and publicity. During the semester, students research, design and construct all elements of the set. Students serve as the stage crew during tech rehearsals and performances, providing production support, technical direction and stage management. Rehearsals and performance requirements: Stagecraft students are required to attend all technical and dress rehearsals scheduled during the afternoons and evenings of the week prior to the show’s opening, as well as all performances.

Intensive Classes

Musical Theatre

First intensive

Students develop singing, dancing, and acting skills through daily rehearsals and one-on-one lessons. Students apply their work through in-class scene studies and workshops. We also study the history and craft of the American musical, including watching and analyzing live and recorded performances, from classic Broadway to current hits like “Hamilton” and “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Music

Semester Classes

Orchestra & Band II

Seventh – twelfth grades
Full year

This class is intended for intermediate-level instrumentalists seeking to advance their technique and musicianship. We will build fundamentals, working on ensemble playing, practice techniques, basic theory, and listening skills in order to prepare and present a performance. The course prepares students for participation in the jazz and/or orchestral performance groups.

Chamber Orchestra

Seventh – twelfth grades
Full year

Chamber Orchestra is UPrep’s classical instrumental performing group and is open to all orchestral instruments. Each year, students play at the Solo and Ensemble competition and perform at either the Western Washington University Orchestra Festival or the Northwest Orchestra Festival. These festivals are in March and are preceded by an annual Orchestra Retreat at the beginning of second semester. Because of the performance exposure, the commitment level and expectations for student preparedness are high. The Puma String Quartet is drawn from this class each year. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Rehearsal and performance requirements: After-school rehearsals once a week for 2.5 hours during the last two weeks of February and the first two weeks of March. Two to three evening concerts and open houses, as well as weekend performance trips.

Sinfonia

Seventh – twelfth grades
Full year

This introductory orchestra is designed for all string players as well as woodwind, brass, and percussion players who are familiar with note reading and rhythms and who demonstrate competence on their instrument. We will build our group-playing skills and work on music that is both fun and challenging. We will play for the local Solo and Ensemble competition and perform at either the Western Washington University Orchestra Festival or the Northwest Orchestra Festival in March. Full-year participation is strongly encouraged. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Performance requirements: two to three concerts and open houses, four after-school rehearsals to prepare for the March festivals, as well as weekend performance trips.

Intermediate Jazz Ensemble

Seventh - twelfth grades
Full year

This class is designed for intermediate-level instrumentalists who are familiar with note reading and rhythms. The focus of this class is on building skills playing in a group setting, basic improvisation, jazz articulations, and preparation for the advanced jazz ensemble. We will participate in two jazz festivals each year and perform twice a year at a Seattle area jazz club. This class is open to students who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums and guitar. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Performance requirements: two to three evening concerts and open houses, as well as weekend performance trips.

Advanced Jazz Ensemble

Seventh - twelfth grades
Full year

UPrep’s advanced jazz instrumental performing group participates in three or four regional jazz festivals and performs twice a year at a Seattle area jazz club. Because of our performance exposure, the commitment level and expectations for student preparedness is high. This class is open to students who play saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums and guitar. Entry into the class is by audition and/or teacher signature. Performance requirements: two to three evening concerts and open houses, as well as weekend performance trips.

Vocal Music

Second semester

This class is for students who are interested in gaining experience in a group vocal setting. Over the course of the semester, we focus on vocal technique, sight-reading, group singing skills, and performance. We explore a wide variety of styles and genres, reflect on the role that music has played in our own lives, and deepen our understanding of what singing is all about. This class is for students of all experience levels and backgrounds. Performance requirements: Music Day and Spring Concert.

Intensive Classes

From Songwriting to Production

First intensive

This course may meet the Senior LaunchPad requirement.

Follow the studio recording process from songwriting to recording and producing a demo. Through trips to area recording facilities and writing and recording workshops on campus, musicians use audio recording and sound synthesis to write songs, create game soundtracks, and score movie clips. Topics include running live sound, recording techniques, MIDI programming, synthesizers, and audio editing as well as basic music theory principles for songwriting and composition.

Visual Arts

Semester Classes

Architecture

Tenth – twelfth grades
First semester

Architecture students explore the relationship between two- and three-dimensional space through a range of spatial design exercises and projects related to drawing and drafting, as well as architectural model making. The course is organized around the design of an original, single-family house, with smaller projects leading to a final presentation. The course also specifically examines the work of several well-known architects, as well as topics including environmental/sustainable design, contextualism, and contemporary architecture. Students regularly discuss their work with peers, maintain a weekly image collection, and may write a short research paper. Enrollment limited to 14 students.

Graphic Design

Second semester

Graphic Design teaches students visual communication skills through illustration, photography, layout and typography, focusing on projects such as posters, logo design, book and magazine covers, and signage. Students take each project from abstract idea to concrete expression, guided by principles of composition, hierarchy, contrast and consistency, color, texture and shape. The course will include instruction on how to work with software commonly used in professional graphic design (the Adobe Creative Suite), but digital tools are simply one means to the end of creative expression, and are not the sole focus of the class; students will also complete projects using traditional hand techniques.

Photography I

First semester

This course is an introduction to photography in which students explore the basics of digital photography and gain knowledge of traditional black and white photography. Students learn basic camera functions for film and digital cameras, exposure, lighting, composition, darkroom usage and film development. Through weekly assignments, themes, and portfolios, students develop observational skills, improve critical and creative thinking, and learn a variety of photographic applications. This course covers different material than Middle School Photo. Enrollment limited to 14 students.

Photography II

Second semester

Photography II is for students who want to further develop their darkroom (black and white) photography skills and also learn color photography. Students work with film cameras and digital imaging software such as Photoshop, while also exploring advanced printing and technical skills. Each student completes a self-directed semester project that examines subject matter of personal interest. Critical and technical information is introduced to correspond with the students’ needs as they advance through the course. Prerequisite: Photography I. Enrollment is limited to 14 students.

Sculpture

Second semester

This course examines sculpture, kinetic art, assemblage, carving and other forms of three-dimensional art. Through projects that stress problem solving and experimentation, students explore form, space, line, shape, composition, mass, scale, and proportion. Projects may include sculptures that move, traditional carved objects, paper constructions and self-portraits.

Visual Art I

First or second semester

Visual Art I is a foundational course that integrates painting, drawing, and basic sculpture as a means of developing skills, introducing techniques, and teaching art elements and design principles. This course provides students with the opportunity to see how these disciplines can genuinely be integrated in basic art practice. Some basic art history and criticism are also part of the course.

Visual Art II

First semester

Visual Art II provides students with the visual language of artistic representation and abstraction. In this course, emphasis would be placed on observational drawing and painting, methods and entry points for abstraction, and approaches to mixing media effectively. Students will explore improvisation, collage, appropriation, and other methods of image creation. The second quarter of the class is primarily devoted to individual work around a central theme during which students write artist statements, manifestos on the central theme, and comments on works in progress via blogs and Schoology. Prerequisite: Visual Art I, Drawing 1, Painting 1, Mixed Media or Sculpture.

Visual Art III

Second semester

Visual Art III pushes students much closer to ideation, research and experimentation as processes integrated with artistic expression and creation. In this class, students are challenged to take greater risks—and work through inevitable failures—as a process for creativity. Problem solving is fundamental to the course, as artistic challenges are both presented by the instructor and self-generated. Contemporary art is used extensively as a vehicle and model for moving beyond traditional representation. The course culminates in a body of finished work, created around a central theme. Prerequisite: Visual Art II or Photo 2. Students may also enter the course after having taken at least two of the following courses: Drawing 1, Painting 1, Mixed Media or Sculpture.

Yearbook

First and second semesters

This class introduces layout, design and photography. Students acquire advanced skills in appropriate computer applications to create and publish the school’s yearbook. Students are required to photograph events outside of class time. Students are encouraged to take the course for the full year. Students may take the course more than once and advance to more responsible positions on the yearbook staff each year.

Intensive Classes

Art and the Body

Second intensive

Works of art created specifically for or in relationship to our bodies—tattoos, jewelry, armor, masks, costumes, symbolic garments—are powerful tools for reflecting on personal identity. Museums often display masks, costumes, and other performance regalia as static, stationary art objects. However, they are traditionally designed for public performances or ceremonies, and are intended to be worn on the body, and to move. Contemporary artists explore the relationships between art, traditions, adornment, costume, and the body in amazing, creative, powerful ways. In this class, students explore how performance, motion, sound, and human interaction can add critical layers of meaning and understanding to works of art, creating various items and garments that reflect elements of ourselves.

Art Lab

Second intensive

Students develop creative thinking and art-making skills through immersion into the creative process. To encourage risk-taking and exploration of topics in a deeper dive, students visit artist studios, performance venues, and creative spaces to understand how various professionals embody and explore the creative process and view the production of art as a journey. Students explore creative process through exercises in writing, poetry, dance, improvisation, photography, and visual art. Students practice sharing their work with others and develop skills in responding critically to the work of their peers. During the intensive, students keep an online journal to share their understanding, reflect on lessons, and document their projects and thinking. The course is meant for students to show progress in the development of work rather than focus on a completed final product. The course culminates in a showcase in which students will share their perspectives on the creative process and a selection of their works in progress.

Capturing Landscapes

Second intensive

Students hone their photography skills by focusing on photographing landscapes. Students use black and white film as well as DSLR cameras to photograph the landscape in Washington State. The course includes travel around the state and exploration of an array of urban and natural settings to learn how to photograph the landscapes that we see on a day-to-day basis in a creative and exciting manner. Students also explore the environmental and urban changes that have occurred in western Washington by analyzing the photographs of Seattle from the past and the photographs they produce.

Ceramic Arts

First intensive

Students learn to create objects from clay using two different techniques: throwing and handbuilding. Using a throwing wheel, students create functional pottery out of clay, which they can use in their everyday lives. Through this process, they learn about food-safe clays, the chemical makeup of food-safe glazes, and glazing techniques that allow them to use the items they create to carry the food they eat daily.

Students also learn how to build sculptures, functional and nonfunctional, using handbuilding techniques. This very tactile course gives students the opportunity to learn, in a hands-on manner, how a mundane, slimy, and uninteresting object like clay can be transformed into the objects that they use daily. Students also learn about the history of ceramics through European, Asian, Native American and Indigenous cultures in contemporary and modern ceramics.

Painting

First intensive

Painting is an artistic discipline that asks the artist for time, focus, and a love of exploring possibilities. This course is designed for beginners as well as those who have experience in the practice. Through a variety of challenges, students explore brushwork, color mixing, tonal variations, texture, and paint additives. Activities may include still life, portraiture, abstraction, landscape, and student-directed work. The class also visits local museums and artist studios, watches short films, and explores the work of exemplar artists for creative inspiration.

Video Journalism

Second intensive

This course is designed to teach students the skills necessary for telling journalistic stories using video and audio. Students will scour the Seattle area for stories about events, people, and issues of interest to the University Prep community. In addition to shooting and reporting their stories, students will anchor and produce a newscast to showcase their work. Completed videos will also be posted online.

Turning Pages: An Introduction to Book Arts

Ninth - twelfth grades
First intensive

This course may satisfy the Senior LaunchPad requirement

Students are both producers and presenters of information in this hands-on course. With a focus on creating a portfolio of book structures, students learn the basic elements of bookbinding by creating models that build progressively. They learn about multicultural history, construction, materials, tools, skills, inspiration, and decoration as well as contemporary trends in book arts. This immersive class, covering the fundamentals of paper, adhesives, and technique, is a perfect introduction to book arts representing multiple cultures and time periods.


Multidisciplinary

Intensive Classes

The Duwamish through Art and Science

Ninth-twelfth grades
Second intensive

Students explore the Duwamish River and its place in the region's history. Ecology, history, art, chemistry, social justice, and urban studies offer different ways of understanding and exploring the river and the people who surround it. Throughout the term, students reflect on their learning through art, engineering, and experience, including a multi-day canoe trip down the Duwamish River and the construction of site-specific artwork. This course is cross-listed in Fine Arts and Science.

Student-Produced Works

Tenth – twelfth grades
First or second intensive
This course may satisfy the Senior LaunchPad requirement.

Advanced students work on a self-directed project within any of the fine arts disciplines. Early in the term, students discuss and share sources of inspiration and collaborate on a small project. At the same time, students write and submit a proposal for their independent project. Daily work on projects alternates with regular check-ins to show progress and receive feedback from classmates and the instructor. This class is performance centered; public performances or exhibits of the student-produced projects are required and are supported by an artist statement that describes both the inspiration for and the process of creating the piece. The seminar concludes with an in-depth evaluation by both the teacher and the student artist.

To satisfy the LaunchPad requirement, the senior develops a relationship with an off-campus mentor and shares their work with that person for feedback and guidance.