FIS Upper School Visual Arts Department

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Welcome to the Upper School Visual Arts Department

Click on the FIS Logo above left to go to FIS main website.

Online since December 2004. This page updated: Sept. 2013

Here you can acquaint yourself with the art department of the Upper School, grades 6 to 12. You can link to other sites from this page to discover how art is taught, what facilities we enjoy using and what different types of art-learning are happening outside the studios at FIS. You can also get to know our visual arts faculty, see examples of what some of our students have created and view images from past exhibitions.

IB Students' Group Portrait Mural ("We all know art is not truth..."), 2.2 x 11 meters, acrylic on wooden panels, 2005.

Visual Arts at FIS: A Tradition and a Philosophy

FIS has always had a very strong and well-supported program in Visual Arts. The level of sophistication and maturity with which our students approach their education in art has always set FIS apart as a leader in International education and as the first choice for Internationally-minded families in the Frankfurt area who recognize the growing role of the visual arts and creativity in a high quality, well-rounded education.

We believe it is important that students develop the creative, intellectual and practical skills necessary to express themselves visually, to understand the visual world in which they live and to appreciate the cultural diversity of humankind.   The knowledge gained by participation in art requires a unique awareness developed by study and activity, which enables a student to perceive aesthetically with discrimination and intuition.

To achieve this, the students at FIS learn about art through the examination of artistic production from various cultures and periods of history, by visiting different cultural centers and by meeting artists.   They learn by creating art by experiencing the creative process in all its many forms of planning and execution. Finally, they learn through art by cooperative learning, interdisciplinary themes, class room discussion and by presenting their work before others.

It is essential, in a well-rounded approach to art education, to provide opportunities for students at this advanced stage of development to experience as many areas of traditional visual expression as possible.   Therefore, we include Drawing, Printing, Sculpture, Printmaking, Textiles, Ceramics, Photography, Digital Film and Video and Technology-aided Design in a program that provides a comprehensive range of experiences throughout the Upper School years. A more detailed look at our curriculum in the Visual Arts by clicking on Curriculum Overview.

Finally, we pride ourselves on the success of our graduating art students, many of whom go on to some of the highest ranked art schools in the world. Our recent four graduating classes alone included art students who were accepted for study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Rhode Island School of Design, Parsons School of Design (New York City), Surrey Institute of Art and Design, the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and the Hong-Ik School of Art in Korea. These, like many before them, carry the long FIS legacy of rigorous art-related training with them as they enter the upper echelon of sophisticated, successful artists and designers worldwide. We wish them, and all of our students (young and old) success.

We sincerely hope that you enjoy this opportunity to get to know us here in the Upper School Art Department at FIS. The site is maintained directly by the Head of the Visual Arts Department and is updated regularly. Your e-mails (links to art@fis on every page) are likewise sent directly to the Head of Visual Arts. So go ahead and click the different links at the top or bottom of these pages for a full tour of the Visual Arts Department, including many Flash slide shows and other surprises!

Grade 10 Foundations Art Students Visit Berlin for Workshop on Interpreting Art

On Friday, 31 August 2012, 14 students from FIS grade 10 classes in visual arts were warmly welcomed into the halls and classrooms of Berlin-Brandenburg International School, where they participated in a morning-long workshop with their BBIS grade 10 counterparts on interpreting meaning in images. BBIS art intructors John and Beate Vanden Branden, with FIS' Darren Trebel, lead the students in an exercise in learning to recognize various levels of interpretation in art. Divided into mixed smaller groups, the students examined and researched works of art from the Nazi era, and compared them to similar, so-called "Degenerate" works rejected by the Nazis in 1938. It was a quick visit, but superbly organized and appreciated by the students involved. Thanks to all the students at BBIS for your hospitality and to John and Beate for your hard work.

For more images of our visit to BBIS, please go to the Special Events page.

Above, Mr Trebel with his Grade 10 art students at the entrance to Berlin Brandenburg International School during their visit in August.

FIS IB Visual Arts Results Scrutinized

In an effort to improve our performance, the Visual Arts department at FIS has undertaken a study and analysis of its students' results in the IB exam over the past ten years, from 2001 to 2011. With the aim of understanding how such variables as class size, instructor and number of Higher and Standard level students affect our outcomes, we have patiently assembled some data that might help us to formulate approaches toward better results in the course.

For a more comprehensive look at this study and some of its outcomes, go to our Art Curriculum Review page and read up on what we've discovered and in what directions this might guide us in our efforts for future Visual Arts students at the IB level in FIS or just click here.


Continuing With an Effective Approach to Mock Exams

The current class of senior students approaching exams in the Visual Arts this April underwent the rigorous process of simulated exams during the last week of November 2011. The purpose of these "Mock Exams" was twofold: First, the students got a feel for the actual exam experience - the pressure, the need to articulate clearly what they have accomplished, the interaction with an examiner. Secondly, the mocks revealed deficits or weaknesses which we still have time to address. The students essentially have three months until their actual exam. The Mocks at FIS are designed and administered in a manner which gives them the most time to fill the vacancies in their portfolios. In the past another FIS art teacher examined the work of our senior students. Now we have taken it a step further. And it has proven highly successful. We bring in highly experienced and highly qualified IB art teachers from neighboring international schools, such as Berlin, Luxembourg, Weimar, Hamburg and Nurnberg. It is these visiting IB art instructors who give us a more objective and candid account of our students' progress.

This well-established FIS practice has us bringing in qualified IB art instructors from other well-established IB schools to examine our students. We pay for their room and board and they benefit from the experience in many ways. It is something that we hope other IB art teachers around our European area mightconsider doing. Let us know if you an IB teacher and are interested in visiting in this capacity.

For more information on the Mock Exams and how and why they are administered at FIS, please conact the Head of Visual Arts here.

Above left, visiting Mock Examiner Shoni Devitt, of Thuringia International School in Weimar, discusses the collected studio works of Carla, a second year IB Diploma Visual Arts student at FIS.

The Role of Art History, Theory and Appreciation in the IB Visual Arts Curriuclum? Give us your feedback!

In November, our Head of Visual Arts at FIS Darren Trebel attended the ECIS conference in Nice, France with the aim of learning as much about the current practice of teaching art histoyr, theory and appreciation in IB schools across the world. During his time there, he asked many participants to give feedback on specific questions regarding their current practice, ideas and aspirations. If you'd like to provide feedback on this issue, please view the following web slide show and then repsond as you see fit.

Art History in Curriculum Slide Show

Click on the link above to view.

IB Students in Metz: Our Class Trip to the New Centre Pompidou

The group of 31 first and second year IB Visual Arts students with Ms Crowe and Mr Trebel on the Place St. Jacques in Metz in October 2011.

In May, the new Centre Pompidou in Metz opened to great fanfare and acclaim. In late October, our IB Visual Arts diploma classes made an overnight excursion to the city of Metz, to sketch the beautiful Gothic architecture, visit the Pompidou and tour the massive Masterpiece? exhibition on display there. To learn more about our class trip to Metz, click on the photo above or click here to go to our Special Events page.


Diploma Level First-years Work on Monumental Self-Portraits


Students in Mr. Trebel's IB first year class set to work on large, Chuck Close-inspired self-portraits which they hope to finish within the next four or five weeks. Stay tuned for updates!

IB Diploma Level Art Music and Film

Exhibition 2013 Opens

21 March in the Da Vinci Atrium FIS

The IB Visual Arts, Music and Filmmaking students gather for an homage to Renoir's famous "Luncheon of the Boating Party"

The 2013 IB Diploma level exhiibition opens Thursday, 21 March in the Da Vinci atrium in FIS. This year's exhibition features the artworks of 14 talented young artists, musicians and (for the first time in FIS history) filmmakers as well. Dont miss it!!

Click on the image above for a poster of the upcoming exhibition..


FIS Visual Arts students visit the dOCUMENTA13 Exhibition in Kassel

On 7 September 2012, IB Art and Filmmaking students at FIS had the unique opportunity to explore dOCUMENTA 13 in Kassel, Germany—an international art exhibit occurring every five years and widely viewed as one of the most important events for modern and contemporary art in the world. Students accompanied Darren Trebel, Alison Crowe and Pete Sinclair and enjoyed a beautiful September day exploring the exhibits of more than 300 participants scattered throughout the city-center.

According to art historian Werner Haftmann, who conceptualized dOCUMENTA 13, “It is designed with our young generation in mind, and the artists, poets and thinkers they follow so that they may recognize what foundations have been laid for them, what inheritance they must nurture, and what inheritance must be overcome.”

IB Diploma News!

The Historical Portrait Project

All IB Year 1 and Year 2 students at FIS have been challenged to complete a life-sized portrait of their favorite figure from history. The completed 80 x 200 cm paintings and life sized ceramic busts will be kept on permanent display in the halls of the Arts, Science and Technology building on the Main Campus of FIS.

Students have to research their subject thoroughly, develop their own image of them that successfully conveys a likeness, and write up a 300-word statement detailing their contributions to history. The finished works will be displayed in order to teach, inspire and entertain the rest of our school community. 21 finished portaits will be completed this year, with an additional 10-15 every year added by each successive IB Year 1 class.

For more info on this project or to download a copy of the assignemnt sheet, go to our Special Events page.

IB Visual Arts Class Trip to the Heart of Tuscany, Oct. 2011

The IB Diploma Level Visual Arts students were given a rare opportunity over the fall break to visit and work in the very heart of Tuscany. Mr. Trebel and Ms. Crowe, the IB Visual Arts instructors in the Upper School, accompanied 10 of their IB art students to a stunning 16th century villa in the Tuscan countryside, just 7 kilometres south of Cortona, Italy. There, the students spent their days working in collage, using encaustic (wax) and transfer techniques and venturing out into the beautiful landscape to paint in oils al fresco. They spent their evenings swimming in the villa's pool and taking turns shopping in the local market, practicing their Italian and cooking sumptuous dinners for the whole group. On Wednesday, 5 October, the classes spent the day in Florence, touring the fabulous Uffizi Galleries and taking in the sights, smells and tastes of the birthplace of Renaissance art. By the end of the week, all of the young practicing artists returned to Frankfurt with 5 or 6 new artworks, many freshly completed pages in their sketchbooks and a host of memories of a superb week spent among the cypress trees and rolling hills of central Tuscany.

Go to Special Events page for more info on our trip and to see a slide show of images.







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