Female student and her mother admiring her artwork on display.


Kathryn Wright

Fine Arts Supervisor

The art program in the City School District of Albany provides instruction in 2-D and 3-D that revolves around the development of the elements of art and the principles of design. The art program is aligned with the New York State Learning Standards for the Visual Arts.


In addition to the guiding principles of our district, the mission of the Visual Art Department of the City School District of Albany is to educate students within an enriching, intellectually stimulating, and personally relevant program. Creativity develops visual literacy, aesthetics, art analysis, critical thinking and discovery, as well as promotes cultural, social, technological and global connections through 21st-century teaching methodology.


Art is a conscious, human expression in visual form. It is the means of cultural expression, record-keeping and interpretation of the world. Art is a visual form of communication essential to the understanding of and participation in our increasingly complex society.

The district creates a sequential art education program that ensures that students develop a strong art foundation using the elements of art and the principles of design as a basis for understanding

Involvement in the arts embraces an entire body of knowledge with a distinct vocabulary that transcends time, age, and ethnicity. Engaging our students in multiple hands-on art experiences allows them to contribute to society, celebrate culture, and develop natural talent.

The essential categories in the visual arts program that are presented to students throughout district art classes are as follows:

  • Drawing: Making and arranging lines to represent an image

  • Painting: Applying color to surface to create an image

  • Sculpture: Any work of art carried out in three dimensions

  • Architecture: The art of designing and making buildings

  • Printmaking: To draw, trace, carve making a mark on a surface, and creating an impression of the design with ink.

  • Collage: A group of different textures, objects, and materials glued down to create a visual expression.

  • Fiber Art: Any work of art incorporating year, thread, and fabric.

  • Technology in Art: Art that is from a variety of disciplines, including video, film, photography, computer graphics, and multimedia art.

  • Art History: The field of study that identifies and classifies art works in a cultural and chronological context.

  • Art Criticism: The processes and skills involved in viewing, analyzing, interpreting, and judging works of art.

Elements of Art

  • Line: Line is the path of moving point. The variations of line are vertical, horizontal, diagonal, curved, angular, zig zag, bent, straight, interrupted, thick, thin, parallel, cross-hatched, and spiral.

  • Value: Value is the differences in a hue or neutral ranging from the lightest to the darkest. Example, white to black.

  • Shape: 2-D area enclosed by an outline

  • Form: 3-D object with height, width, and depth

  • Space: Organizes elements in a composition

  • Texture: Appeals to sense of touch

  • Color: Hue, intensity, and value

Principles of Design:

  • Repetition: Rhythm or repeating of a pattern

  • Emphasis: The creation of a center of interest

  • Contrast: Shows differences between elements of art

  • Balance: Symmetrical

  • Unity: Harmony of all the visual elements in a composition.

The elementary art program beginning in kindergarten, where students are provided formal art instruction with certified art teachers each week. At the pre-kindergarten level, art is included in many of the regular classroom activities and projects.

Each art activity provides students the opportunity to be creative as they complete an original piece of artwork. Art lessons also make strong interdisciplinary connections to other subjects, including the learning standards in English Language Arts, Social Studies, Math, and Science.

Students are presented with new vocabulary words as they are exposed to classical artists and their works of art. Researching artists and the historic period of time in which they lived is also stressed. Written reports and oral presentations on their art research is another way that the art program connects to the core subject.

Students' artwork may be displayed at each school as part of an art display or bulletin board, submitted for an art contest, or displayed at a district art exhibits, such as the Empire State Plaza Youth Art Exhibition K-8 or the district's annual Elementary Art Show held at the Albany Institute of History & Art. Artwork also is sent home on a regular basis.

Arts instruction in our middle schools follows a sequential body of content knowledge and skills that broadens learners' understanding of visual expression. Adolescents explore, organize, understand, and evaluate their abilities in art. As they observe and discuss visual environments, they extend and deepen the basis of their knowledge of art. They learn to value curiosity and to appreciate flexibility in their thinking and decision-making.

Middle school courses lay the foundation for work at the high-school level by providing students with opportunities to:

  • Express ideas, thoughts, and feelings

  • Explore a wide variety of media

  • Collaborate on group projects

  • Relate art to social, environmental, and political issues

Art as a means of self-expression is of primary importance in the middle school. Students grow more independent in the process of producing artworks that are meaningful to them. They also mature in their abilities to observe, experience, and express themselves in effective and innovative ways. Teachers encourage exploration and experimentation and consciously individualize instruction to meet the varied needs of their students. Students engage in complex problem solving and creative thinking as they examine ideas relevant to the study of art.

Students' appreciation of art deepens in middle school. Teachers provide many opportunities for students to experience contemporary art, works from the past, and artwork from other cultures.

Learners develop a deeper understanding of other cultures through their exposure to many different cultural notions of art. Students learn the use of a variety of tools and techniques as they learn to elaborate and manipulate images and ideas to create original works of art.

With many strong links to English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies, students are provided a rich connection of different curricular contents as they move through the middle school art curriculum.

The Albany High School Art Department offers a wide variety of elective art courses for students, who begin the arts curriculum with Studio Art, Studio Art in Crafts, Studio Art in Electronic Media, or Design & Drawing for Production. Once completed, students can sequence in one of our Art pathways in 2-Dimensional Art, 3-Dimensional Art, Media Arts, or International Baccalaureate Art (concentrating in Drawing, 2-Dimensional Art, or 3-Dimensional Art)

The high school art program showcases student artwork through various events and exhibitions, including, but not limited to:  the CREATE Festival, Capital Region Media Arts Festival, High School Regional, and the Art in 3-Dimensions Exhibition. Arts-based field trips, visiting artists, and community art opportunities for youth bring enriching real-world experiences and social change for students.