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K through 12th Grade





Our mission is to give BMUF students the opportunity to pursue individual artistic excellence, and to initiate a  "lifelong quest that begins by developing a profound understanding and appreciation of the contributions made by the most innovative creators in the field". Our goal is to imbue in students intellectual curiosity and a willingness to experiment, while working through an idea in stages. Students shall recognize that the study of art history provides the basis for a visual 'dialogue' in which we can participate.


The Department of Visual Arts at Briarcliff High School provides a sequential curriculum for students, early childhood through college level course work.  The program focuses on the arts as a springboard for creative thought across disciplines. We provide a comprehensive learning progression in the arts curriculum that is developmentally appropriate, cultivating a core set of skills and capacities that develop over time.

Critical thinking is stressed throughout.  As students expand their creative potential they develop an appreciation for methods and practices, as well as, the cultural models from which they are derived. In analyzing art, students of all ages draw evidence from 'Masterpieces' and as they develop they discover more in each work to support their understanding. This increases their ability to discuss and write about art.   With guidance, they recognize technical choices and observe artistic principles such as composition and color theory.  Students eventually learn to apply these principles to their own art making.

Over time, materials and methods become increasingly refined and complex. Students become more accomplished and demonstrate their ability to apply an artist's style or technique to their own original work understanding that there are multiple solutions to visual problems.

The art classroom offers a setting in which the student can reflect on oneself, one's interests, likes and dislikes. As well, students are guided to reflect on the 'world at large', studying social, political and economic contexts of works of art, giving the student a deeper understanding and the ability to make connections with other disciplines.

Todd Elementary, the Briarcliff Middle School and the Briarcliff High School instructors work as a team, collaborating regularly to provide our students with a strong vertical learning curriculum and experiences. Roxanne Ritacco

Here is what we are currently doing to operationalize our mission across content areas

  • Teaching high level curriculum at each grade level
  • Helping students acquire new skills and learn a variety of techniques
  • Offering students opportunities to work in a variety of media: Painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, analog photography/wet darkroom, computer art (digital drawing, animation, stop-motion, Photoshop, Hyperstudio).
  • Helping students refine the skills and techniques that they have already acquired
  • Providing salient connections between the arts and other disciplines
  • Inspiring students with a broad range of cultural and historical references
  • Increasing awareness of opportunities in visual art related careers
  • Offering students opportunities to show their work outside of school
  • Offering students the opportunity to participate in the visual arts on the extra-curricular level (Art Honor Society, Art Club at the HS and MS)



Tuesday, April 24, 2018