Online since 2004.  This page last updated Jan 2017

Upper School Visual Arts Department

Here you can learn about some of the recent museum trips, special projects and exhibition outings that have been sponsored by the Upper School Visual Arts Department recently, as well as look at slide shows of our students engaging in projects and activities that enhance their education in art beyond what is outlined in our curriculum.

Mock Exams for the new IB Visual Arts Guidelines - senior students undergo a critical appraisal of their progress to date in last weeks of November

Our second year IB Diploma students underwent their mock exams in Visual Arts over the course of two days, 21-22 November.  This year's exams differed considerably from those of previous years, due largely to the new guidelines issued last year for the Diploma level program and the three components that now consist of a candidate's complete output.

The students were asked to present their selected exhibition and to account for the way it was displayed with a prepared curatorial rationale, just as they will have to present in May.  Their younger IB first-year peers were on hand to question and comment upon their presentations and make recommendations for their continued improvement based upon careful reflection on the main exhibition and process portfolio criteria for assessment.  The examinees were able to walk away from their mocks with a comprehensive report on their achievement to date and (even more importantly) a fuller understanding of what they have done well, what they need to do to in order to achieve better results and what they might aim for to access the very highest results possible.  We will continue to develop our approach to mock exams for the IB Diploma program with an eye toward refining the experience for our candidates, giving them the very best feedback for their paths to success.


Click on the images above for a visual tour of some of the exam sessions from our mocks.

23 October: IB Diploma First and Second-year students visit the MMK in Frankfurt for a look at work by video artist Fiona Tan

The annual outing of the IB students (grades 11 and 12) to visit the great art museums of Frankfurt continued with the 2016 IB class trip to the Museum fur Moderne Kunst (MMK) on 23 October. 19 students in the IB art classes led by Mr. Trebel and Ms. Hirao, enjoyed a fine day of intensive contextual and critical research in one of Europe's premier venues for the exhibition of contemporary art. In the MMK, the students were introduced to the film, video and installation works of the artist Fiona Tan, in her retrospective there entitled The Geography of Time (runs until 15 January 2017). They also prowled the galleries taking in pieces of the permanent collection, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, On Kawara, Gerhard Richter and Joseph Beuys. The students spent the last hour of their day over lunch discussing problems of knowledge associated with the Visual Arts.. An excellent day abroad, learning about art by taking in some of the more challenging works of contemporary artists.


For info (in English) on Fiona Tan's Geography of Time exhibit at the MMK click here.


Left:  Ms Hirao with her second-year IB Diploma class, posing just outside the MMK, which is about a block north of the Cathedral in Frankfurt.  An enjoyable outing with some superb critical inquiry!

The Historical Portrait Project


In the mid-1990's students at FIS collaborated with students at the International School of Dusseldorf and their art instructor, Mr Richard Caston, on a project that was truly ambitious.  Called "2000 Years of Mankind" the project invited students from five international schools from France, Luxembourg and Germany to submit full length portraits of famous figures from history.  The seventy-some images that resulted were exhibited together  at the 1998 ECIS Conference in the Convention Center in Nice, France and then permanently installed in the halls of the school in Dusseldorf, where they can still be seen. Mr Trebel revived the project in the halls of FIS five years ago and the painting of historical figures who contributed positively to the course of human history goes on in our studios and corridors.


Students in Mr Trebel's and Ms Hirao's IB art classes have continued the tradition of undertaking this enormous creative challenge - to complete a life-sized portrait of their favorite figure from history. The completed 80 x 200 cm paintings and/or life sized ceramic busts have been completed by candidates in the most recent four graduating classes, 2013 to 2016 and all of these images have been kept on permanent display in the halls of the Da Vinci wing on the Main Campus of FIS.  Their quality and workmanship speak volumes about the high expectations we have here in art.


Students have to research their subject thoroughly, develop their own image of them that successfully conveys a convincing likeness, and write up a 300-word statement detailing their contributions to history. The finished works are displayed in order to teach, inspire and entertain the rest of our school community. So far, 36 finished portraits have been completed this year, with an additional 8-10 every year to be added by each successive IB Year 1 class.  The halls of FIS come to life as a living history book, with lessons on greatness on display wherever you look.  For more on this extraordinary and ongoing exposition, please see the Historical Portraits gallery on our Student Work page here.


IB Diploma Level Exhibition Posters

Every year, the Visual Arts Department showcases the works of its best and brightest IB Diploma candidates, celebrating their completion of the program and unofficially marking the opening of the May IB exams in all subjects.  Historically, the exhibition of their work has most often occurred in the third week of March, usually just before Spring Break and features a climactic opening ceremony, which we have always referred to as the "IB Vernissage."  In 2004, the art department began to generate annual posters advertising the opening of the exhibition which featured a group image of the artists involved, with various approaches to the image being the theme of each year's poster.  The posters have become a tradition that we are happy to carry on into the future and each year's image has become synonymous with that year's graduating class.  Click here to download the past 13 years' IB Vernissage posters.

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