The Arts

middle school media arts teacher standing outside with two middle school students looking down at the back of two dslr cameras
upper school production of Raold Dahl's musical Matilda; matilda's mom and dad chastising Matilda in foreground and her brother in background not paying attending looking at smartphone
3 preschoolers facing viewer sitting at wooden table, 2 students wearing eye protection and 1 student wearing noise cancelling headphones using woodworking hand tools on small pieces of wood
2 seated fifth graders in lower school music classroom playing wooden brown xylophones with mallets.
three middle school students  in foreground of woodshop; 2 boys in blue t-shirt and hoodie using mallets to hit piece of wood in vice; 1 girl looking to the left with purple beanie hat and hoodie
upper school rock band class two seated students playing guitar and one student in background standing and singing into microphone

The arts play a crucial role in expressing both individual and collective narratives, understanding historical contexts, capturing present realities, and envisioning future possibilities.

From preschool through senior year, the arts program builds upon itself and is taught in an environment of trust and respect that fosters creation and performance. It integrates and makes connections across all disciplines. Students learn to observe and appreciate the world around them and express it to others through artistic mediums. Engaging in art transforms students into artists who learn to think critically, solve problems, and take risks essential for growth.

Beginning & Lower School Arts Program

beginning school art teacher leondra bracket discussing print projects with 8 seated beginning school students around two large rectangualar tables placed together
6 seated and standing lower school students in art class with lower school art teacher teresa perrin holding up ceramic animal scuptures
Six 4th graders performing leap year day musical in cabell theater
lower school woodshop teacher ric fry helping two third graders on their wood boat sketches; all 3 people standing and looking down at desk with papers

In the Beginning School, students practice being artists in a community space alongside their peers. Research suggests that engaging in musical play provides important stimuli for young children. Singing together in a group is a powerful tool for fostering empathy and building a sense of community. Therefore, a key component of the Beginning School music program is experiencing musical play that helps young children build a musical community. Visual arts serve as a means for young children to express themselves, their thoughts, and their learning. Beyond creating their own art, students practice sharing their artwork and engaging with their peers’ works. This interaction leads to discussions about their creations, the creative process, inspiration, problem-solving, perseverance, strengths, and challenges.

The Lower School art program highly values the joy and challenge of the creative process. All Lower School students engage in instrumental work, singing, drama, dance, creative movement, and improvisation. Through these activities, students are exposed to music from various cultures, providing insights into how music reflects the lives and values of different communities. The program emphasizes risk-taking, innovation, craftsmanship, collaboration, respect for others’ work, and engagement with a broad range of mediums, concepts, techniques, and ideas. Many projects are integrated with homeroom subjects such as social studies, science, language, woodshop, and other specialist classes.;

Middle School Arts Program

middle school music teacher standing on left side of classroom facing around 10 seated middle school students playing xylophones
arts studio classroom with large tables; middle school arts teacher seated next to student looking down at iPad on table; 3 other students in background working on projects
middle school production of where the wild things are in black box theater; group of middle school students wearing all black swinging lime green scarves and character max in monster costume
close up of two middle school students looking downward—one holding a woodshop project while the other holding a small hand saw above it.

In Middle School, students learn to use the arts to facilitate the expression of creative ideas, learn about and share a diversity of cultures, and communicate their own personal visions. They learn to express themselves creatively, both individually and collaboratively, and gain confidence in presenting themselves and their work, as they develop a framework for making informed creative choices. Along with broader choices in woodshop, music, and visual arts instruction, students also rotate through theater arts and media arts. Performing and presenting their art helps build confidence in speaking before audiences. Students learn to collaborate across artistic mediums, such as the band providing accompaniment for a theater production, and visual artists helping in the creation of set pieces. Students are able to conceive of original creative works and execute them with confidence and competence. They begin to understand how art can offer a broader perspective on and invite empathy with a single story.

Upper School Arts Program

upper school visual arts studio classroom; upper school arts teacher chris mateer working with standing student on a screenprint project.
two upper school students facing each other wearing protective face shields using woodworking lathes on projects
Upper School and Middle School Choirs and Chamber Music performing at The Grotto Festival of Lights with upper school music teacher judy rose in front singing in microphone
3 upper school students; one standing on step stool drilling holes into an interactive art haunted house exhibit; one looking up at drilling student; one in lower right background in profile
upper school ceramics class studio; group of students seated and making clay pots on electric wheels; one student standing working on ceramic project

While continuing to build on their previous years of learning in music, visual arts, woodworking, and theater, Upper School students gain broader exposure to a wide range of arts including architecture, fashion design, jewelry making, structural design, engineering, and theater technology. They continue to collaborate across mediums and disciplines, exploring the intersection of art and activism, connecting form with function, using statistics and design science for structural stability, and examining the role of music in social justice movements. Students also have opportunities to write music and plays, direct shows, and learn the art of filmmaking. For those who wish to continue their art education after graduation, portfolio courses are available to help them prepare portfolios and reels for college admissions. Regardless of their future paths, the arts cultivate communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity, equipping them with 21st-century skills that enable them to thrive in their schools, communities, and professional lives.