Visual & Performing Arts Overview

Visual & Performing Arts Overview

“I have always been passionate about drawing and visual arts and never imagined I’d have as many opportunities as I had at Park. The arts department offers a balance of instruction and autonomy to explore your own style of art, and there is such versatility in the class offerings. The faculty was always supportive and constantly encouraged me to expand my horizons. During my junior year, I proposed to do an Independent Study in animation. Both the department and administration were supportive and I am grateful to have had that time to explore my passion as one of my classes.”

— Jayme Brodie ’17
 Maryland Institute College of Art

Program Design and Philosophy

At Park, the arts are an essential part of our daily lives. They frame our experience of the world, serve as vehicles for personal expression, and enhance our exploration of history, culture, and heritage. Our students experience the arts as painters, actors, dancers, and musicians, as audience members, critics, and teachers. Art is often part of teaching and learning in other subjects. Art is everywhere in the school.

In Kindergarten through eighth grade, a sequenced and developmental program in visual and performing arts emphasizes expression, design thinking, creativity, and skill mastery. In the Upper School, the arts program provides opportunities for advanced study and accomplishment in several art disciplines.

Special programs and performances bring artists to our community. An Exhibitions Program brings several shows by visiting artists of national reputation to the school each year. Students in all grades meet and work with local and national artists, create works of art that address similar themes, and hang their pieces in a complementary exhibition.

Residencies and assemblies, along with trips to museums, theaters, concert halls, and studios provide additional opportunities for students to learn from visual artists, musicians, dancers, and actors.

Park Arts Student Painting


 Wyman Arts Center

The Wyman Arts Center houses facilities for performing and visual arts for all divisions. This 3-story, 44,500 square foot facility includes: 

  • 6 visual arts classrooms
  • photography studio with 16 stations
  • fabrication and sculpture studios
  • 2 digital imaging labs
  • Garry Cerrone MakerSpace
  • 4 music classrooms
  • 8 practice rooms
  • keyboard lab 
  • scene shop
  • recording studio
  • main theater
  • black box theater
  • dance studio
  • rehearsal studio
  • arts library
  • exhibition gallery
  • art history classroom
  • arts conference room

Ukeleles in the Middle School - Park Arts

Arts Curriculum

Lower School

Visual Arts: one 60-75-minute class per week

Music: two classes per week (Orff, Kodaly, Delcroze, and an instrumental music exploratory)

Options: Chorus, Strings, Jazz Band, Soundwaves—Grades 4 and 5, Concert Band—Grade 5 only, vocal and instrumental music—after-school group lessons and individual lessons

Faculty: two full-time and three part-time music and art teachers

Middle School 

Grades 6 and 7—Visual Arts and Theater in semester rotation; classes meet three times per week. Music ensembles (Chorus, Concert Band, and String) meet twice a week all year.  

Grade 8—Visual Arts, Music, and Theater electives; students elect one course per semester, which meets four times per week.

Ensemble Options: Advanced Chorus, Concert Band, String Ensemble, and Jazz Ensemble

Vocal and Instrumental Music lessons are available through after-school music

Faculty: three full-time and one part-time music, art, and theater teachers

Upper School 

Four semesters are required for graduation.

Visual Arts Electives

Drawing, Painting, Design Thinking, Figure Drawing, Graphic Design, Surface Design, Photography, Digital Photography, 21st Century Makers, Film, Film History, Online Design, Metalwork, Woodworking, Ceramics, Sculpture, Art History, Junior Portfolio, and Senior Studio

Performing Arts Electives

Accelerated Music Theory, Music Technology, Music Performance, Beatz, Guitar and Ukelele, Electronics for Musicians, Rhythm Workshop, Social Justice Songs, Acoustics, Women in Poetry and Song, Audio Production, String Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Parksingers, Eightnotes, Vocal Chords, Madrigals; Modern Music Band, Fall, Winter, and Spring Theatrical Productions, Acting, Advanced Acting, Improv, Set Design, Directing, Keyboarding, Radio Production, and Podcasting

Facultysix full-time and four part-time music, art, film, and theater teachers

“While the facilities are beautiful, the real star of the Park arts department is without a doubt, the faculty. Throughout my years there, they constantly supported me and pushed me to try new things. The teachers see the best in every student, and work to coax it out. No matter what I was working on, I always felt motivated to keep exploring. Without their enduring support and encouragement, I would never have had the confidence to venture into art at all.”

— Nikita Shtarkman ’16 
Johns Hopkins University

 Arlecchino and the City of Love - Park Middle School Production

Arts Achievements

Interest and Support 

  • more than 90% of Upper School students enrolled in arts classes or programs annually 
  • 30% of Upper School students involved in music performance groups and drama productions 
  • Arts Program directed by full-time Director of Arts

Performance Opportunities 

  • Upper School Jazz Ensemble, String Ensemble,Pep Band, and Wind Ensemble 
  • Upper School Parksingers chorus and three a capella groups: Eightnotes, Vocal Chords, and Madrigals 
  • Performance choruses for Grades 4 and 5 and Middle School 
  • Middle School Jazz Ensemble and a String Ensemble 
  • Fifth Grade Concert Band 
  • Third Grade instrumental music performance
  • Lower School Jazz and String Ensembles 
  • Four theater productions per year in Upper School with sets designed and constructed by students 
  • Eighth Grade full-scale production, part of the Middle School arts rotation 
  • All sixth and seventh graers perform in chorus, band, or strings
  • Additional auditioned vocal and instrumental groups
  • Additional plays directed and produced by Upper School students


  • Students are accepted to nationally recognized arts colleges, theater programs, and music conservatories, including RISD, Cooper Union, MICA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Oberlin Conservatory, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, California College of the Arts, Berklee College of Music, and Northwestern University
  • Students submit art portfolios as part of application to liberal arts colleges
  • 30% of alumni report that arts were very important to them while at Park
  • 25% of alumni participate in arts programs in college
  • 10% of alumni are involved in the arts as a professional career, many nationally recognized for professional accomplishments

Lower School Art Students