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 Pre-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 connect our community with professional artists. An Exhibitions Program brings the work of 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, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and an instrumental music exploratory) 

Co-curricular Opportunities: 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 Strings) meet twice a week all year 

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

Co-curricular Opportunities: Advanced Chorus, Band, Jazz, and String Ensembles, vocal and instrumental lessons

Faculty: two full-time and six part-time music, art, and theater teachers

Upper School 

Four semesters are required for graduation.

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

Performing Arts Electives
Accelerated Music Theory, Acoustics, Acting, Advanced Acting, Audio Production, Beatz, Directing, Eightnotes, Electronics for Musicians, Ethnomusicology, Guitar and Ukelele, Improv, Keyboarding, Modern Music Band, Movement Matters, Music and Film, Music Performance, Music Technology, Park Jazz Collective, Parksingers, Rhythm Workshop, Set Design, Shakespeare, String Ensemble, Theatrical Productions (fall, winter, and spring), Vocal Chords, and Wind Ensemble

Faculty: five full-time and six part-time music, art, movement/dance, and theater teachers

“At Park, my passions for singing and arranging music were sparked by the accelerated Music Theory class and my membership in Vocal Chords, one of Park’s a cappella groups. It was there, working with a devoted and talented faculty who really knew me, that I gained the confidence and stamina to balance my academic studies with my music. At the University of Pennsylvania, I performed in the a cappella group, Off The Beat. Over four years, I arranged several songs, recorded albums, and helped our group reach the semi-finals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. Because of my time at Park, I was able to achieve that same balance at Penn and felt well prepared to thrive as a college student, continuing to grow both as a scholar and as a musician..”

— Alex Kalvar ’15 
University of Pennsylvania

 Arlecchino and the City of Love - Park Middle School Production

Arts Achievements

Interest and Support 

  • More than 85% of Upper School students are enrolled in arts classes or programs annually 

  • More than 40% of Upper School students are involved in music performance groups and drama productions 

  • Arts Program is directed by full-time Director of Arts 

Performance Opportunities 

  • Performance choruses for Grades 4 and 5 and Middle School
  • Lower School Jazz and String Ensembles
  • Lower School Choral and Instrumental Ensemble performances
  • Middle School Ensembles: Band, Jazz, and String
  • Eighth Grade full-scale production, part of the Middle School arts rotation
  • All sixth and seventh graders perform in chorus, band, or strings
  • Seasonal concerts and performances featuring vocal and instrumental ensembles, including auditioned a cappella groups and jazz ensembles
  • Four theater productions per year in the Upper School with some sets designed and constructed by students
  • Additional plays directed and produced by Upper School students


  • Students are accepted to nationally recognized arts colleges, theater programs, and music conservatories, including Berklee College of Music, California College of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon, Cooper Union, Eastman School of Music, MICA, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Northwestern University, Oberlin Conservatory, RISD, Royal Academy of Music, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Temple University, University of Michigan, University of Southern California, and Yale 

the faculty

  • All Lower, Middle, and Upper School arts teachers have substantial formal training in the arts
  • Park's arts teachers have an average of 22 years of teaching experience, with an average tenure of 13 years at Park
  • Nearly all have master's degrees in their area of artistic expertise and seven have MFA's, the terminal degree in visual and performing arts

Lower School Art Students