The elementary program consists of art teachers who provide each elementary student (grades 1-5) with a 40 – 45 minute formal art class every 2 weeks. All elementary art lessons are specifically designed to correlate with the Standards of Learning in the other disciplines in the elementary curriculum. The elementary art class becomes a vehicle for expanding math, science, history, and reading in visual terms. Simultaneously, the young student also learns the vocabulary and techniques basic to the visual art discipline.

In the middle school in grade 6, art is one of four subject areas that is presented in an exploratory series. In grades 7 and 8 students may choose to take art as a semester elective.

Visual arts education in high school (grades 9-12) is an elective. The content of Art I, II, III, and IV is aligned with the 2013 Virginia Fine Arts Standards of Learning, Visual Arts section and is organized into four specific content strands or topics: Visual Communication and Production, Cultural Context and Art History, Judgment and Criticism, and Aesthetics. These courses provide the student with a wide range of hands-on experiences with different media, materials, and tools as well as some historical background on various art periods. This sequence of courses encourages the student to discover and exploit his or her personal talents and to begin to specialize in a particular media. The student may continue to develop his or her art talent by taking Studio Art. Advanced Placement courses in Art History, Drawing and Studio Art are available. In addition Chesapeake offers a variety of special courses such as arts and crafts, ceramics, drawing, jewelry making, painting, and screen printing.

colored pencils arranged in a circle

Two major exhibits of student work are held annually–the Spring Elementary and Secondary Art Shows and the Student Gallery Competition. The Spring Elementary and Secondary Art Shows are presented at the Chesapeake Square Mall in April/May. Secondary work is exhibited during the first week and elementary work is exhibited during the second week. Prize money and ribbons are awarded to secondary students.

The Student Gallery Competition is sponsored by the Chrysler Museum in cooperation with local school districts. Chesapeake students in their junior or senior year are selected to compete with other area students for prize money and ribbons.

The ODU Tri-cities Secondary Show will be held in the fall and the Elementary show is held in the spring, usually in October and March, respectively.

The Virginia State Visual Arts Standards of Learning, adopted May 20, 2013, by the Virginia Board of Education, provide the (K-12) foundation for the Chesapeake Public Schools art program. The Virginia Visual Arts SOL and Chesapeake Public Schools’ art program are both based upon discipline-based art education (DBAE) principles. The following description off DBAE is from the Getty Institute normals website– Discipline-based art education (DBAE) is a comprehensive approach to art education that takes advantage of art’s special power to educate. DBAE is an effective means by which to help students experience the visual arts in a variety of ways.

The Getty Institute adopted the ideas of art educators who had been calling for a more holistic, comprehensive, and multifaceted approach to art education. The creation of artworks and inquiry into the meaning of the arts are the primary means through which we understand human experiences and transmit cultural values, hence, the visual arts should be an essential part of every child’s education.

Educators who take the DBAE approach integrate content from the four disciplines that contribute to the creation, understanding, and appreciation of art. These disciplines of art provide knowledge, skills, and understandings that enable students to have a broad and rich experience with works of art.