NEWPORT BEACH — The campus stood nearly empty after dark, save for a few students trickling into an older classroom in a far corner of the school.
About 30 juniors took their seats around tables. Sets from past plays and the old masters' artworks were privy to the conversation — a debate on what makes art.
Photographs of Velázquez's "The Maids of Honour," and Marcel Duchamp's "Fountain" were shown before questions were posed.
"What is art supposed to represent?" asked teacher Joe Robinson about the Velázquez. "Is art real or is what art is trying to reflect real?"
Those questions were debated Monday as part of Newport Harbor High School's International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program, an internationally recognized curriculum in nearly 140 countries that's centered on critical thinking. It is a challenging alternative to honors and Advanced Placement coursework.
Harbor, which began its program in the fall, is the first campus in Newport-Mesa to offer an IB diploma, and one of 16 in Orange County.