Avenues is committed to the study of art and culture as part of a student’s education. Instruction in the visual and performing arts teaches vital skills that help students express their ideas about themselves and the world around them. Our talented and experienced teaching artists provide an exciting, comprehensive program of study in four disciplines: theater, instrumental music, vocal music and visual arts. We consider every student an artist capable of making creative connections between a wide variety of art forms and their academic disciplines. From our youngest students in nursery to our oldest in 12th grade, our Avenues artists learn self-discipline and to appreciate the talent of their peers, along with techniques and skills that transfer into all of their creative endeavors at school and in life. We weave divergent thinking, perseverance and problem solving into the arts curriculum, supporting students as they stretch themselves and expand their understanding of who they are and what is possible.
Art, music and movement are an integral part of the curriculum in nursery, pre-K and kindergarten. At every turn, our Early Learning Center (ELC) teachers incorporate arts-related activities into their project work. Adorned with student art projects and installations, the hallways burst with energy and color throughout the year. You can hear ELC groups making music in all corners of the school building, and it’s not uncommon to ride the elevator with a group singing in Chinese or Spanish. Like our older students, our ELC children visit local galleries, collaborate with guest artists and use our own school art collection—including works by Chuck Close and Sol LeWitt—for inspiration.
Lower Division students explore music and visual art throughout all grades and begin their formal study of drama in fifth grade. All students are invited to create in fun and meaningful ways while tackling challenging, age-appropriate assignments that allow for the development of artistic and musical technique. As part of the immersion program, visual art and music are taught in either Chinese or Spanish, providing further opportunities for language practice and acquisition. In art, students frequently visit world-class galleries in the neighborhood, allowing them to make connections between their studio projects and the real world. True to our commitment to interdisciplinary study, students are often encouraged to integrate musical and artistic practice into their coursework for other subjects.
From sixth through eighth grade, students continue to explore and discover their artistry while developing foundational techniques. They gain a deeper understanding of both the artistic process and the role of the arts culturally and historically. Instrumental and vocal musicians practice both solo and in groups and perform throughout the year. In drama, students analyze and create texts, study the art of adaptation and explore various approaches to theater. In visual art, students practice a wide range of techniques while investigating a variety of 2-D and 3-D materials. Students in the middle grades are required to observe and reflect on their process as well as think critically about their own performances and projects.
The art and design program for grades nine through 12 encourages artists to develop individual means of expression while pursuing their particular passions for making. Through individual and collaborative work, students develop rigorous artistic practices and learn how to iterate on each assignment. Ninth grade students take a required course on the creative process, which helps them make connections in the art studio between ideas, materials and methods. In 10th grade, students select a workshop in either design and engineering or visual and digital arts, which prepares them for deep-dive electives in junior and senior years. Performing arts are offered as an additional elective throughout the upper grades; more advanced electives in drama and music are also available.
Each year, four creative professionals come to Avenues to collaborate with students of all ages as part of a deep, hands-on learning experience. Through our artist-in-residence program, students have worked with Sarah Cameron Sunde, Taylor Mali, Nathan Carter, Omari Tipton and Gil Morgenstern, among others.
In addition to the artists in residence, dozens of creative professionals have participated in lectures and visits as part of our visiting artist program.
January 17, 2017 - In October, students in the middle grades HIP writing program read about the secret life of Gus the theater cat in T.S. Eliot’s poem of the same name, then imagined their own versions of what kind of secret life their pet would have. The lesson set the scene for an optional field trip to see Cats on Broadway, and on Tuesday, November 1, more than 135 Avenues students, teachers and parents attended the evening show of the musical. More...
January 10, 2017 - On October 2, a group of 13 visited the Dodge Poetry Festival, a biennial four-day celebration of the art form in Newark, NJ. A smaller group of students attended the festival two years ago, but this year's group had more than doubled in size, proof of Avenues students' ever-growing interest in the written and spoken word. More...