Visual Arts

  • The John Adams Visual Art education curriculum has been developed in alignment with both the National and California state standards. In addition, the SMMUSD has a comprehensive visual and performing arts framework of standards and goals that all of our schools strictly adhere to. All of the district schools communicate and collaborate regularly to ensure that we scaffold visual and performing arts curriculum appropriately between grade levels within our visual and performing arts program.

    Visual Arts Website >

    Course Descriptions

    6th grade Exploratory Visual Art
    Students signed up for the JAMS 6th grade exploratory wheel enjoy the visual art rotation for a total of 12 weeks. During this time, students are exposed to a variety of tools, techniques, processes, art history movements, and cultural arts. Most projects are thematically aligned with the Humanities curriculum. The elements and principles of visual art are stressed greatly in this course and students will build a small portfolio and sketchbook to take with them.

    7th/8th Grade Fundamentals of Visual Art
    This is a year-long course created especially for visual artists wishing to learn more advanced techniques, vocabulary, and processes of visual art. In accordance with the SMMUSD visual art goals and content standards, students in this course will receive more in-depth exposure to projects centered around the seven elements and principles of art and design. Students will explore these elements and principles within projects utilizing a variety of materials, process, techniques, and art history references. All 7th grade students enrolled in this course are invited to enroll in the 8th grade advanced visual art course offered the following year. All students will leave this course with a full portfolio and multiple sketchbooks.

    8th grade Advanced Visual Art
    Students enrolled in this year-long course are the “cream of the crop” at JAMS. These very special and talented artists have demonstrated an extreme commitment to excellence in the arts through the exploratory rotation or fundamentals of visual art in the previous year. The visual art curriculum for this course is geared specifically towards meeting the portfolio requirements for submission to the advanced placement visual art course offered at Santa Monica High School while still meeting SMMUSD visual art goals and content standards. Although it is not a requirement that students have plans to enter the AP program at SAMO, should they decide to attempt it, they will be on their way to a portfolio and sketchbook that meets enrollment requirements!

    Portfolio requirements for submission to the Advanced Placement art program at Santa Monica High School:

    • A total of 10 pieces are required and should include:
    • A still life (collection of objects)
    • A self-portrait
    • A figure drawing (part or all of a person, preferably from real life, not a photo)

    Portfolio will include at least three different media: photo, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, clay, wood, etc.

    By the end of the school year students enrolled in advanced art will exhibit work in a public space and often times more than once. In addition, students enrolled in this class are often chosen to participate in community projects, competitions, and may take at least one field trip, usually to the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art (LACMA).

    Comments, questions, feedback, and suggestions are always welcome from both parents and students. Please contact me directly at or extension 72-194. I look forward to hearing from you anytime!