The Program | Arts


Since Seattle Academy was founded, the arts have played a central role in our school’s identity. We have a large arts faculty that believes every adolescent is intrinsically creative. All students take nine trimesters of visual and performing arts, and many who play key roles in our advanced programs had never been on stage or engaged with the fine arts before enrolling in Seattle Academy. Whether in class or preparing for an extracurricular performance, we emphasize imagination and creativity; teamwork and risk-taking; and how to deal with ambiguity, self-discovery, failure, and exhilarating success. Overall, we emphasize the joy of art.

The Arts Department was named The Outstanding Arts Program in the Nation in 2011 by a major educational organization. The school also received the 2013 Excellence in Arts Education from ArtsEd Washington, and our theater program was named Best in the Northwest by Stage Directions Magazine. We are a National Young Arts Foundation Merit Winner, and individual students and ensembles have won recognition time and again in venues as varied as the Reno Jazz Festival, the National Film Festival for Talented Youth, international film competitions (South Korea, Ireland, Croatia), the Seattle Improvisational Theatre Open Competition, and the Washington State Congressional Art Competition.

All students–whether they plan to continue in the arts or major in sciences, humanities, or other fields–experience the joy of developing their creative skills and a creative mindset through the arts. Ultimately, a creative mindset provides the foundation for a deep integration of all disciplines in school and in life. Creativity–bringing forth a vision and solving problems for which there is not a single “right answer”–is indeed a Life Skill.

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The Program | Arts


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W32 Dance2 Rv2SAAS offers a fun, exciting, stimulating, and positive Dance Program in both Middle and Upper School. Students are given an overview of concert-style Jazz that incorporates Ballet and Modern techniques along with a smattering of Hip Hop, Ballroom, and World styles. Upper School take at least one trimester of dance during their high school career. Dance classes incorporate a performance component. At the end of the each trimester all dance classes perform for an audience.

Seattle Academy’s dance companies–SAAS Dance Project (Middle School), Intermediate Dance, and Advanced Dance–are open by audition and are vehicles for the more serious dance students, those who wish to go beyond the level of study offered in the general dance curriculum. They afford students more advanced training through after-school rehearsals, the experience of creating original choreography, and multiple performing opportunities throughout the year.

The Program | Arts


In Middle School, theater is required in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Sixth graders participate in a high energy evening of theater, music, and dance. Seventh and eighth graders are required to be involved in one of the four Middle School productions (with Middle School Musical being performed in our 250-seat Arts Center Theater). They may also exercise their theater muscles by designing and building sets in our Middle School Technical Theater class. (Seattle Academy is one of the only schools in Washington to offer Technical Theater at the Middle School level).

Access to theater explodes in the Upper School, where we offer acting on the beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels. For actors who want to act every day all the time, we offer a full-year Advanced Acting ensemble (open by audition).  Every Upper School student must participate and perform in one of these acting classes or any of the numerous theater electives we offer such as Improv, Mask, Stage Combat, etc.=

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W35 TheatreOur Black Box theater is a classroom for Middle School theater and for smaller Middle School shows, as well as the venue for Upper School events such as Lunch at the Improv and experimental theater shows we produce every year.

On top of all the theater classes during the school day, we also mount three main stage, extra-curricular theatrical productions. We’ve staged classic dramas (“Macbeth,” “Grapes of Wrath,” “Metamorphoses,” etc.). hilarious comedies (“Comedy of Errors,” “Tartuffe,” “Cyrano de Bergerac,” “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” etc.), musicals (“Guys and Dolls,” “Gypsy,” “Hairspray,” etc.), as well as original full-length works by our own arts faculty.

The Program | Arts


Seattle Academy’s vocal program has been a popular performing arts program for many years. Multiple entry points, from beginning to advanced, allow singers of all levels to participate. Middle school classes for 6th graders perform at End-of-Trimester performances, and 7th and 8th grade vocal ensemble classes have evening concerts as their culminating performances.3 web s arts vocal

W38 Vocal Rv1In the Upper School, students take Beginning, Intermediate, or Advanced vocal classes. Single-term Beginning classes perform at End-of-Trimester, while other ensembles (Vocal Showcase, Vocal Revue) include a two or three night evening concert in the Arts Center Theater. Students audition for the Intermediate Jazz Choir II or the Advanced Jazz Choir (nicknamed “The Onions”). The Onions are featured at many school and community events throughout the year, and they travel annually to The Reno Jazz Festival, where they have taken top honors for the last two years.

The Program | Arts
Instrumental Music


In the Instrumental music program at Seattle Academy, students explore the language of music and sound. The program is open to all Middle and Upper School students and provides year-long opportunity for musical expression and development. Combined-grade classes meet during the school day.

Four areas are covered in a comprehensive program including technical skills, repertory development, sight reading, and improvisation. Aesthetic goals include being able to perform, appreciate, understand, and create music in many different musical styles, including jazz and standard wind-ensemble repertoire. A strong cohort of string players in our Middle School–violins, cellos, basses–has allowed us to include orchestral pieces, as well.

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W33 InstruAll ensembles (including our drumline) have an opportunity to perform at End-of-Tri performances, as well as other school events including all-school meetings, athletic events such as Soccer Mania and Basketball Mania, and three evening concerts each year. In addition, our Jazz Ensemble competes in the Reno Jazz Festival each year.

Course offerings: Instrumental ensembles in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades; Upper School ensemble, Upper School Jazz Band (by audition); drumline (extra-curricular)

The Program | Arts


As visual arts teachers, our first job is to help students not worry about what they are going to put down on paper or sculpt with their hands. Then, we begin.

We teach all the elements and principles of design, a language that artists use and which applies to all forms of art. Most of all, we allow students to believe in themselves.W37a Visual Rv1

We teach skills and techniques and a rich array of media. Our beginning-level courses provide foundation for the more advanced levels.  For example, we begin with an emphasis on figure and self-portrait drawing because drawing from life facilitates the growth of the students’ imagination. We also work from life to learn volume and form, which can lead to more sophisticated abstractions.

Student artwork from all grades and levels is always on display in the campus buildings. Intermediate and Advanced Visual students receive guidance in building a portfolio of work, and senior artwork is highlighted at the annual all-school spring Art Show.

Visual Arts Offerings:
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Studio Arts
3-D Studio Arts
Sculpture/Advanced Sculpture
Design & Technology

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The Program | Arts


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Film Making and Photography

Our mixed media arts program includes film making and photography. Both programs participate in our annual Arts show in May and also submit student work to various national and international arts competitions.

The film program uses state-of-the-art equipment and has its own editing lab located in our Arts Center. Students have the opportunity to show their films at the End-of-Trimester performances, in our annual Arts Show, and at various local, national, and international competitions including opportunities to travel abroad and attend workshops.

Our photography program includes both traditional wet photography as well as digital photography. The facilities include a film room, dark room, and computer laboratory where students learn to use programs allowing them to manipulate and alter their images.

Media Course Offerings: Film, Advanced Film, Animation, How to Read Film, Digital Photography, Film Photography, Advanced Photography

The Program | Arts
Tech Theatre


Students may meet their theater requirement by participating in our Technical Theater program, offered both in the Middle and Upper School levels. Seattle Academy is one of the only schools in Washington to offer Technical Theater at the Middle School level.

Technical Theater course offerings:

Technical Theater and Design—this course includes set-building, sound and lighting control, and stage crew roles. The class culminates in “running the show,” whether a spotlight, a sound board, or being backstage during live performances.  Students can gain professional-level training.

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Costume Design—this project-based course introduces the concepts needed to design clothing and the basic skills of sewing and pattenmaking needed to construct original garments that express a personal vision. Students develop a knowledge of materials and craftsmanship, which help them self-invent solutions to unforeseen challenges and bring their designs to fruition.W36 Tech Rv1

Stage Management—through a structured independent study program, students learn the daily operation of rehearsal preparation and running a show. Skills include keeping a thorough Stage Manager’s Book to preserve the director’s blocking; calling cast members for rehearsal; working with the Technical Director to call and run a show; and a myriad other coordination and communication activities related to a show.



The Program | Arts


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Opened in 2001, our Arts Center is the location for more than 40 art classes on any given day. Both Middle and Upper School students walk through the neighborhood to attend classes in the Arts Center, located on the corner of 12th Avenue and East Spring Street.


The Arts Center features the 250-seat Orvis Theater complete with a Green Room, dressing rooms, scene shop, costume design and storage rooms, as well as state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems. Our 2050 square-foot Dance Studio is booked with Middle and Upper School dance classes every period of every day, and Monday-Friday after school. This professional-level studio has hosted the Bolshoi Ballet and The Alvin Ailey Dance Company (twice) as their daily rehearsal space when those companies have been in Seattle for extended performances. A secondary sprung-floor dance studio in the Arts Center also doubles as PE space for our Yoga classes. The Black Box Theater, three visual arts studios, a darkroom, a video production studio, an outdoor welding and metallurgy balcony, as well as vocal and instrumental music classrooms and practice rooms attest to the school’s commitment to arts education.

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