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Arts and Design

Arts and Design

We believe that an arts and design-based approach to learning promotes creative expression and an enhanced academic experience. Our mission is to provide a rigorous educational program with a purposeful integration of the arts and design and challenge our students academically.

While our elective offerings focus on Arts and Design, we also strive to integrate creativity across the curriculum through inquiry, projects, and the arts. Arts Integration is an approach to teaching in which students construct and demonstrate understanding through an art form. Students engage in a creative process which connects an art form and another subject area and meets evolving objectives in both.

At Murray, we recognize that our students have inherent gifts and abilities unique to each individual. For this reason, the basis of student learning will be formed by the acknowledgement, exploration, and development of these talents within an environment of continued cultivation of self-awareness and community consciousness.

As a lab school, we will together breaking new ground in arts, design, and maker-centered learning opportunities!

Course Offerings

Visual Arts

Art I

This course introduces students to the foundational elements and principles of design to be used as a basis for the development of a common language both visual and verbal. It provides an overview of many aspects of art through a variety of experiences in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpting. The course stimulates creative thinking and problem solving, imparts technical knowledge, and develops expressive skills.

Art II

This course provides students with the opportunity to build on the skills developed in Art I in the areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpting. An in-depth exploration of a variety of media allows students to develop a personal style and to compile a portfolio.


Students continue the development of artistic and aesthetic skills learned in the first two years of art at a more advanced level with increased emphasis on personal expression and on the use of a wider range of media in the areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Students continue to develop their portfolios.

Art IV

​This advanced course is designed for students who have a serious interest in art and have demonstrated a high level of proficiency. Students will be guided to work more independently with special emphasis on individual growth. This course provides the opportunity for the mature student to develop a portfolio and to apply art knowledge and techniques for personal expression.

Digital Imaging Technology I-II

Digital Imaging Technology is a course in which students study the development of photography as a communication medium and its evolution into the digital realm. Students will learn to use specialized editing software such as Photoshop to manipulate images. Course topics include: elements of design; digital photo technique; differences between computer technology imaging and print imaging; how various graphic activities affects web imaging; video, sound and animation design; and storage and memory issues.

Digital Imaging Technology III & IV

This course is designed for students who want an in-depth knowledge of digital photography, design, and the Adobe Creative Suite. Emphasis will be placed on creating a digital portfolio. Students will assist in designing their own projects which align to goals and competencies for learning.

AP Art History (Virtual Virginia)

Building on a strong foundation in world history, students explore western and nonwestern traditions in art and architecture from the prehistoric-era to the present. This course integrates studies of aesthetics, production, and criticism with the history of art in preparation for the AP Art History test. Course expectations include independent reading of a college-level text and writing critically about art.

Performing Arts

Drama I

This course explores the fundamentals of theater as an ensemble art. Students apply the creative process through in-class storytelling, playwriting, acting, and improvisation and respond to theatrical experiences using theatre arts vocabulary. This course prepares students for participation extracurricular participation in dramatic productions (although course participation is not a prerequisite for participation in extracurricular school plays and musicals)


​Drama II

This advanced course is designed for students who want to expand their artistic abilities and appreciation of drama. It is designed for students eager to excel in theater as an extracurricular activity beyond the classroom and/or a career. Through various modes of expression and performance, students investigate and interact with dramatic literature, theater styles, historical periods, and technical theater.

Audio Production I

Students enrolled in this course develop a foundational understanding of sound and how to capture it in a digital form. Students will learn the fundamentals of audio recording and editing, including hardware identification, terminology, and standard recording techniques. Working independently and in mixed-skill groups, they will produce original work in digital formats such as music, broadcast journalism, and creative prose. Students in this class are not required to have any prior experience with music or audio production.

Audio Production II

Students enrolled in this course will continue adding to their arsenal of recording techniques, while also refining the skills they learned in Audio Production I to create more sophisticated audio compositions. Students will develop a portfolio of finished work, which they’ll have the opportunity to publish. They will be exposed to a variety of audio art forms and encouraged to specialize in an area that incites their passion.

AP Music Theory (Virtual Virginia)

Students develop their aural, sight-singing, written, compositional, and analytical skills through a series of listening, performance, written, creative, and analytical exercises. The course covers the mastery of the rudiments and terminology of music with an emphasis on speed and fluency and then progresses to more sophisticated and creative tasks to include: melodic and harmonic dictation, composition of a bass line for a given melody implying appropriate harmony, realization of a figured bass, realization of a Roman numeral progression, analysis of repertoire, including melody, harmony, rhythm, texture, and form and sight-singing.

PVCC Modern Dance / Production DAN 160/161 (Proposed for SY19-20)

Teaches the basic techniques of creative dance. Skills include self-expression, contemporary routines, dance forms, and basic choreography. Additionally, there is a focus on creating a dance performance and teaching the basic skills in creating and producing a dance. Includes lighting, costumes, music, and choreography

Design & Entrepreneurship

Design Thinking (Proposed for SY19-20)

An introduction to design thinking, problem seeking, ideation techniques and strategies, creative cognition theories, creative intelligence, and the methodologies embedded in the design thinking process.

Design I: Industrial Design and Prototyping

This is a foundational design theory course that introduces students to a variety of tools that focuses specifically on the nature of design and aesthetic appeal. Students will identify the specific needs of worldly concern or a customer, generate concepts, pitch ideas, and create physical or digital prototypes for evaluation. Students may interact with a variety of problems or iterate a few designs based on the needs of the class.

Design II: Product Design and Development

Students will work in teams to design and create unique, functional and meaningful products that will benefit society. Teams will apply knowledge and skills of design and manufacturing techniques combined with entrepreneurial thinking and social justice to bring ideas and products to market. Throughout the process, they will evaluate how aesthetics, materials, societal impact, and people’s interactions with their creations influence the final product or idea.

Entrepreneurship I: Entrepreneurial Thinking

Presents the various steps considered necessary when developing an idea. Includes areas such as product analysis; market research; financing; ways to finance a startup; operations of the business; development of business plans; buyouts versus starting from scratch; and franchising. Uses problems and cases to demonstrate implementation of these techniques.

Entrepreneurship II

This course is designed for students who wish to concentrate on advanced strategies for entrepreneurship, building upon concepts introduced in Entrepreneurship I. The focus of the course is on the iteration of student ideas and strategies for bringing an idea to market. Students will have the opportunity to connect with the local entrepreneurial community to help support the development of their idea.

PVCC Entrepreneurship / BUS 116

Presents the various steps considered necessary when going into business. Includes areas such as product-service analysis, market research evaluation, setting up books, ways to finance startup, operations of the business, development of business plans, buyouts versus starting from scratch, and franchising. Uses problems and cases to demonstrate implementation of these techniques.

Multimedia Design and Publishing

Creative Writing I-II

This course is designed for students with special interest in writing original poetry, short stories, essays, scripts, and novels. Strategies, style and techniques used by successful authors are studied. The course requires independent study, teacher-student conferences, group discussions, and sharing of work.

Video Production I-IV

Students develop a basic understanding of the television industry with an emphasis on video production. Working individually and in teams, students produce various video projects both in and outside the studio setting. Students develop skills in equipment handling, filming techniques, lighting, editing, script writing, studio operations, and other skills related to video production. Students receive basic instruction in electronics to gain a working knowledge of studio equipment.​​

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