Arts

Arts classes, curriculum and instruction at Buxton are unparalleled. Not only does our faculty truly believe in art as the foundation of modern education, but also we are located in the cultural heart of the northeast – with the very top artists in the world as our neighbors, mentors and teachers. Our students follow suit: blowing us away with their talents and capabilities every year. It is a pleasure, a challenge and an unmatched opportunity to explore the arts at Buxton.

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Buxton students can get involved in many different types of arts and in many different ways. There are multiple different kinds of art classes–ranging from photography to drama to everything in between–as well as art activities that practice in the afternoons and evenings. Learn more about what we have to offer:

The All School Play

This is the major production of the winter term and a central component of the All-School Trip. Unlike our other two plays, this one involves every single student in the school. If you are not in the cast (which is usually quite large), you can play in the orchestra that accompanies the production, participate on the lights crew, do make-up, produce the programs, house-manage during performances, or have a hand in any of a number of other necessary tasks. While in our host city, we “give back” by performing the play in nursing homes, schools, retirement communities, or for other groups or organizations that have invited us. The play is usually performed three times in three different venues.

Ceramics

For students who want to learn both the basics of throwing on the potter’s wheel and / or how to hand-build clay works. Classes include slide shows, reading assignments and trips to local galleries and museums to broaden understanding of the past and present states of ceramics as art.

Chamber Music

Students who are interested in playing chamber music may participate in one of a number of group ensembles. They vary in size and instrumentation and are individually coached by the music faculty. Duos to seven-piece jazz ensembles form each semester to rehearse and perform student composers’ work as well as standard repertoire. Rudimentary sight-reading ability is necessary. Performances are given several times each year.

Chamber Orchestra

Chamber orchestra is open to all students who have an interest in playing music in a larger group. A wide variety of instruments can be accommodated in the chamber orchestra. Repertory works are performed during the Fall and Spring Arts Weekends, and in the winter the orchestra provides music for the touring All-School Play. Recent performances have included Bach’s Orchestra Suites in C and D, Handel’s Water Music, Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, and Schubert’s Rosamunde Overture; waltzes and rags by Scott Joplin; and arrangements of pieces by George Gershwin and Duke Ellington.

Chorus

Choral activities and vocal ensembles are open to all regardless of prior experience. Twice a year, major choral works are undertaken. An additional piece involving all students and faculty is performed at Graduation. Vivaldi’s Gloria, Mozart’s Missa Brevis K.220 and Requiem K.626, Schubert’s Mass No. 3, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle de Sainte Cécile, and Carl Orff’’s Carmina Burana have been performed in recent years.

Creative Writing

A weekly activity, creative writing affords the opportunity to pursue writing projects of choice in an informal, non-academic setting. Students are given the option of sharing their work with the other members of the group and may read before larger audiences of peers, parents, alumni, relatives and visitors at the annual Fall and Spring Arts Weekends. Work is also published in the yearbook and in the Newsletter.

Dance

This activity explores West African, Afro-Caribbean, modern, ballet, and other creative influences in dance, focusing on traditional-folkloric and contemporary influences in original student compositions. Several levels of classes run from November through May, accommodating beginners as well as experienced dancers. Individual and group choreography performances are given during the Fall and Spring Arts Weekends.

Drumming and Percussion

Studies include hand and stick techniques, traditional arrangements, and individual compositions. Areas to be considered are West African, Afro-Caribbean, and contemporary influences in original student compositions. Performances with dance are held during the Fall and Spring Arts Weekends.

Fall and Spring Plays

These productions are cast at the beginning of each term and involve students of all grades who wish to be considered for a part. There are no requirements for participation. Casting is at the discretion of the directors, but we strive to involve as many different students as possible. We also take into consideration the needs of the actors. One student might be ready for a challenge, so we will cast him or her in a difficult role on purpose. Another might be trying out for the first time and we want to celebrate their courage by giving them a small part, regardless of acting talent. These plays rehearse two evenings a week, for two hours each time (though not all students are required to be at every rehearsal for the full two hours). Other students, as volunteers, are in charge of lights, sets, props, and costumes. Some of the work for these crews happens during the evening rehearsals, some happens during Work Program hours. Adults are involved in these crews as well, but students are, and need to be, the primary participants.

Photography

This fall the Photography classes are going to concentrate on Analog, 35-mm, black and white “classic” developing and printing photography – learning the techniques if you are new to this and expanding your skills and eye if you are experienced with the basics.  In the second semester there will be more classes looking into digital photo, alternative techniques, cyanotypes, etc.
Students who are already familiar with the basics of photo and want to explore digital or other areas as independent projects will be able to do so.

Studio Art

Through exploration in painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, fabrics, found objects, and mixed media, students can begin to articulate their artistic visions. Projects are defined through individual discussion. Students are encouraged and introduced to use a broad range of materials. What inspires the student determines which methods of working, materials, and ideas are explored. Throughout, students begin to relate their daily experience to the process of making art.
Students can take structured art classes that offer formal skill sets in drawing, painting and printmaking with an emphasis on balancing direct, observational skills with expressive, independent work. There also is the opportunity to take ‘open studio’ classes where students can work independently on any idea with almost any medium; instruction is available and responsive to individual projects.

Video Production

Spring term we will be looking at satire and mockumentary as a means of telling stories through
video. As a class, we will create videos that aim to honestly capture our lives here at Buxton, and
when appropriate, poke fun at the more absurd parts of it. People of all editing levels are
encouraged to join; no previous video production is necessary

Offered as either a single- or double-semester course, video production offers students the chance to work hands on with HD, DSLR and DV cameras and Final Cut Pro X software to tell stories via narrative, documentary and experimental filmmaking. Each student maintains a storyboard and video journal and must complete weekly assignments in short documentary and narrative video experiments.

 

Private Music Lessons

Lessons in piano, voice, and most instruments can be arranged.

Fall Arts Weekend / Spring Arts Weekend

Twice a year, Buxton invites families to experience first-hand our esteemed arts programs and the incredible accomplishments of our students. These weekends are special times, filled with displays of studio art, photography and ceramics displays as well as live performances of dance, music and drama.

Weekends also include tours, Q&As and academic panel discussions. All current and prospective parents are welcome to attend.

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Testimonials

  • "Buxton has given me the freedom to be the person I want to be, make the art I want to make, and learn the things I want to learn. At Buxton we learn not only in the classroom, but in the community. We learn how to be good to each other and how to support each other. Buxton has so much to offer students, both inside the classroom and outside of it."
    Sadie
    Sadie Great Barrington, MA
  • “At Buxton you get to focus on what you want to be learning; whether it is social skills or in-depth studying- you learn to take responsibility of your education.”
    Francis Magai
    Francis Magai Troy, NY
  • “Living your education means to not only learn things, but to use what you learn in your everyday life.”
    Naima Nigh
    Naima Nigh Mexico
  • “To me, living your education means to be independent, to take charge, to not be afraid of asking for help, to learn from your peers, to love to learn, to take what you have learned from a loving environment and take it into the world.”
    Kat Hallowell
    Kat Hallowell New Hampshire
  • “Your education is more than just your time in class, it’s your life as a whole. Learning is not limited to a teacher teaching you something in a classroom.”
    Cynder Johnson
    Cynder Johnson Missouri
  • “To me, at Buxton, it’s not boundaries that you make, but the ones you break through.”
    Roy Malone
    Roy Malone New York, NY
  • “At Buxton, I can choose what I want to do with my education. I can design my own path and invest my time studying topics that I’m really interested in.”
    Nora Mittleman
    Nora Mittleman New York, NY
  • “At Buxton you can experience your intellectual development in a community that accepts your perspective of the world.”
    Ben Nigh
    Ben Nigh Mexico
  • “I felt instantly at home when I stepped on the campus. At Buxton, we are in school 24/7. We learn things in the classroom, but we really learn valuable things outside of the classroom. We learn how to work with others and respect each other’s spaces. Our education surrounds us and we learn new things everyday.”
    Emily Woodside
    Emily Woodside Albany, NY
  • “I chose Buxton over public school because I think I function better in a smaller environment. You’re able to get to know students and faculty on a deeper level, which is rare.”
    Charlie Starenko
    Charlie Starenko Williamstown, MA

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