Visual Arts

Mater Dei Prep provides students with a variety of courses and extracurriculars in the visual arts, a discipline which includes painting, sculpture, design and photography. Our curriculum is designed to expose students to the history of visual arts and to renowned artists who have impacted their field, as well as offer hands-on experience working in many different artistic media.

Students study prehistoric through contemporary art; 2D and 3D design, including drawing, painting, graphic design, sculpture, ceramics, mosaics and architecture; the invention and evolution of photography and the camera; and career opportunities in the arts. At more advanced levels students can work independently in any visual art discipline to master skills, foster artistic talent and produce portfolios.

Mater Dei Prep also gives visual arts students the opportunity to participate in club activities and art shows, sharing their talents with others and impacting their local and global communities through art projects.

Course Offerings

This course gives students an overview of the structure and media of art, as well as the history
and development of the arts from the earliest cave drawings through the Renaissance. The course
combines cultural and artistic developments in painting, sculpture and architecture. Assignments
include written work as well as related art projects.

Students taking this course study the cultural developments, artists and genres in the visual arts and
architecture from the period following the Renaissance through contemporary times, with a structure
similar to Foundations of Art 101. Assignments include written work and related art projects.

2D Design is a studio course in which students work with drawing and painting media to create
two-dimensional artworks. Emphasis is given to the Elements and Principles of Design. Each project
covers specific design concepts as well as a new medium. Media may include pencil, charcoal, pastels,
scratchboard, printmaking, collage, watercolor and acrylic painting. Students are required to keep a

This course delves deeper into the design concepts related to different artistic movements, such as
Surrealism, Pop Art, Expressive Portraits and Impressionism. Students work with oil painting and
further develop the skills learned in 2D Design 101. Students are required to keep a sketchbook.
Prerequisite: 2D Design 101.

3D Design is a studio course in which students work with different media to create three-dimensional
artworks. Students are introduced to master works and artists for each medium, including
contemporary paper sculpture, papier mâché, plaster casting, wire sculpture, mosaics, hand-building
with clay (both functional and decorative ceramics), wood and found/repurposed art. Some research
and written analysis are required.

This studio course is designed for students who have already mastered the basics of several art
disciplines and wish to work independently to hone their skills and develop their artistic vision. This
course covers portraiture, observational drawing and abstract design; students choose the media in
which they create the artwork. Students learn about careers in visual arts and complete at least five
in-depth works which may be used for a portfolio, if applicable. Sketchbook journals are an important
component of this course and include research, inspiration from master works, media studies and
sketches. Prerequisite: Two prior visual arts courses, such as 2D 101 and 202, or 2D 101 and 3D 101.

This course covers the history of cameras and photography, camera controls and settings, lighting,
photo editing, Adobe Photo Shop and photography careers in advertising, portrait photography and
photojournalism. Lessons are reinforced through research and writing as well as actual photo sessions.
Opportunities for on-campus photography are given, but students are required to spend time outside
the classroom completing field assignments. Students must have access to a digital camera.

Extracurricular Offerings

Arts in Action is a club for those students who have a deep interest in art and wish to make connections with the world through artistic endeavors. Students meet during flex period or after school and must sign up for specific projects. Club activities may revolve around media or genres which are not covered in class, such as Mokume-gane (Japanese “metalworking” using polymer clay). Students are encouraged to use their new skills to raise money to finance community projects and an end-of-year trip to a museum. Previous Arts in Action students created and sold hand-painted ornaments and clay-bead bracelets.

Several community projects are also planned, including painting murals for different departments in the school and constructing set design pieces for the Mater Dei Prep Seraph Players theatrical performances. Students also share art on a global scale through organizations like Peace Crane Project and the Memory Project. In the last year, students have exchanged artwork with a class in Russia and created portraits of both Syrian refugee children and Haitian children displaced by hurricanes, artwork which was then shared with the children in those countries.

In addition to displaying student work in the Mater Dei Prep arts hallway during the school year, there are opportunities for students to showcase their art through contests, shows and festivals, like the annual Monmouth County Teen Arts Festival, and present their talent to a wider audience. During Mater Dei Prep’s Spring Arts Festival, students participate in a live “round robin” exhibition, painting for 20-30 minutes on a canvas and then passing the incomplete artwork on to the next student. By the end of the show, several paintings are completed, each one incorporating the talents of the participating students. The subjects of the paintings are chosen from the work of Mater Dei Prep photography students.

Mater Dei Prep

Mater Dei Prep

538 Church Street, Middletown, NJ 07748
Phone 732-671-9100  Fax 732-671-9214

Mater Dei Prep admits students of any race, color, religion, and national or ethnic origin.
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