The Arts

Crucible Tableaux

The school is co-located with the Lyceum Gallery. They are surrounded by the shows in the gallery and study with working artists. We also have an Artist in Residence programme. In exchange for studio and exhibition space, the children learn from watching Marina immersed in her practice and receive weekly instruction in film and digital photography. They take music theory and composition, graphic design, drawing/painting, limon dance and French on a weekly basis from artists practicing in the community. You can read more about our visiting teachers and our current Artist in Residence, Marina Dempster, in the Collaborators section. You can also follow the work we do on instagram @theorchardlyceum

In the fall, the class had an arrangement to publish a page of content in the West End Phoenix. They were mentored by Kerry Manders, who writes for The Phoenix and The New York Times. In the spring, they had an internship with Jalani Morgan, photo editor of the West End Phoenix. Their assignment was to complete an environmental portrait of a community leader. This will be part of a group show in the gallery.

With a fully equipped studio at their disposal, students can decide how they want to present their work: letterpress, silkscreen, textile arts, painting or photography, for example. We build in time for exploration, contemplation and individual study as well as collaboration on group projects such as the Peace Table Project which opened in the gallery in September.

Our neighbourhood has a history of artists working out of the margins, in the disused warehouses and dilapidated shops to create, critique and connect to what they saw going on around them. They were optimistic, found community and in many ways spurred on change in the area. The Lyceum curriculum is rooted in this spirit of enquiry and innovation.

A Survey of The Arts Curriculum This Year

Novel Study (Old Man and the Sea, The Crucible, Moon Over Manifest): Novels are used as seeds for interdisciplinary study of botany, science, history, visual art, drama and philosophy.

Sample Novel Study Assignment for Moon Over Manifest

Short Story The short story is a form that ideally captures a snapshot of time and place. This year, we surveyed an array of diverse work (such as Hemingway, Salinger, Kinkaid, Achebe and Atwood) in order to map plot structure and learn about different narrative voices, sources of conflict and character development. They did a short story workshop with Dave Bidini from the West End Phoenix and are now completing final term writing assignments in the mystery genre.

Poetry and Poetics This year, we surveyed an array of poetic forms and reviewed poetry as an agent for change through various eras: modernism, postmodernism, Black American poetry timeline 1850 – present, dub poetry and the Brixton diaspora and feminist poets 1960-1980.

Critical Reflection and Writing The children are given writing prompts from which they craft stories, write poetry, develop logical arguments, prepare debates and present research topics.

Visual Art Studio Working in various media (watercolour, chalk pastel, sketching, linocut, colour theory), the children spend one morning a week in studio with Andrew Long. The gallery context the school is situated in provides them with rich material for exploration. They are there from setup through opening night and often have their morning lessons in the gallery. We have also had the pleasure of visiting other galleries such as The Ryerson Image Centre, Stephen Bulger Gallery and Samara Contemporary. More than a field trip, these visits are integrated into studio work and study in the classroom.

The Sketchbook Project Working with Marina each Thursday morning, students are following journal prompts to complete this sketchbook project to be collected in The Brooklyn Library.

Music Theory and Composition Under the direction of Nick Arseneau. each student completed a comprehensive written theory exam, an ear training exam, and eight original compositions, four of which were notated on manuscript paper and four of which were created using a Digital Audio Workstation. They also had to write a contrapuntal melody for two classical instruments, played by volunteer musicians.

Geometry The Table of Pythagorus, graphing transformations and the relationships between triangles and quadrilaterals were undertaken in the first term this year. Here is a sample of student work:

Film and Digital Photography Weekly studies with Artist in Residence Marina Dempster, both in studio and in the field. This year, we looked at graffiti in Toronto alleyways, staged tableaux for a Crucible novel study, had fun with light paintings, and completed portrait studies of each other in the gallery. We are also looking forward to exhibiting the environmental portrait series the did with mentor Jalani Morgan from the West End Phoenix. Here’s a preview:

Students worked with Photo Editor Jalani Morgan of the West End Phoenix to create a series of environmental portraits of community leaders. A midwife, a naturalist, a community gardener and artist and a ballet school founder. They were assigned a formal portrait, a study of an object from their trade and a series of the person in their natural setting. Through this assignment, they learned the ins and outs of setting up a photo shoot, vision boarding, lighting, camera tech, and engaging their subject. Afterward, they learned to to process and work the shots through post-production and printing. As part of the project, they also interviewed their subject about what compels them to do the work they do. We will present that statements alongside the artwork.