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IB Visual ART

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What are the IB Visual Arts?

In the simplest terms, the aim of the International Baccalaureate Visual Art course is to get students to think like great artists.  Rather than making art for arts sake, students need to put their ideas into context. The following parameters are taken directly from the IBO guidelines:

A. students need to challenge their own creative and cultural expectations and boundaries

B. students need to develop analytical skills in problem-solving and divergent thinking

C. students need to work towards technical proficiency and confidence as art-makers

In order to achieve this students should focus on developing the following at both the SL and HL in their visual arts practice:

•  be able to make artwork that is influenced by personal and cultural contexts

•  become informed and critical observers and makers of visual culture and media

•  develop skills, techniques and processes in order to communicate concepts and ideas.

Students are required to investigate the core syllabus areas (context, methods, communicating) through exploration of the following practices:


•Theoretical practice (comparative study)

•Art making practice (process portfolio)

•Curatorial practice (exhibition)

The 3 Components

There are 3 components to the IB Visual Arts program. They are..
Comparative Study(CS) Theoretical practice - internally moderated/externally assessed

• Process Portfolio(PP): Art making practice - internally moderated/externally assessed

Exhibition(EX): Curatorial practice - internally assessed/externally moderated

Part 1: Comparative Study 

External (20% of grade)

•  Students are required to analyze and compare            artworks, objects or artifacts by different artists.

•  This independent critical and contextual                      investigation should explore artworks, objects            and artifacts from differing cultural contexts.

•  At SL: Compare at least 3 different artworks, by at      least 2 different artists, with commentary over 10–      15 pages. 

•  At HL: As SL plus a reflection on the extent to              which their work and practices have been                    influenced by any of the art/artists examined (3–5      pages).

Part 2: Process Portfolio

External (40% of grade)

•  Students at SL and HL submit carefully selected          materials which demonstrate their                                experimentation, exploration, manipulation and         refinement of a variety of visual arts activities              during the two-year course.

•  The work, which may be extracted from their              visual arts journal and other sketch books,                    notebooks, folios and so on, should have led to          the creation of both resolved and unresolved              works.

•  At SL: 9–18 pages. The submitted work should be      in at least two different art-making forms.

•  At HL: 13–25 pages. The submitted work should        be in at least three different art-making forms. 

Part 3: Exhibition

Internal (40% of grade)

•  Students at SL and HL submit for assessment a            selection of resolved artworks for their exhibition.

•  The selected pieces should show evidence of their      technical accomplishment during the visual arts            course and an understanding of the use of                    materials, ideas and practices to realize their                intentions.

•  Students also evidence the decision-making.                process which underpins the selection of this                connected and cohesive body of work for an                audience in the form of a curatorial rationale.

•  At SL: 4–7 pieces with exhibition text for each. A          curatorial rationale (400 words maximum).  

•  At HL: 8–11 pieces with exhibition text for each. A        curatorial rationale (700 words maximum)

Click the link below for IB Examples of CS, PP, EX with assessments

See the following sub-pages for information, examples and resources for each component.

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