Upper School theatre students welcomed IS students from the Theatre Arts Bridge Program for a weekend of workshops at the Virginia Thespian Festival in Richmond over MLK Weekend. Workshop topics included costume design, musical comedy, dance, and virtual reality in theater. Our students were even invited back to perform their fall play, Dearly Departed, next year!
Learning rhythm on African drums, creating dynamic characters, visually expressing the way one sees and thinks – experiencing art is personal – and we teach this by asking students to observe the world around them. They are supported and encouraged as they face new techniques and mediums.
At Potomac, in all grade levels, we think of the arts as expressive pathways, both inward to the mind and heart of the individual and outward to the wider world. While emphasizing the acquisition of skills and aesthetic judgment, we respect the instincts, intuitions, and ideas our students bring to their experience in the classroom, stage, and studio each day.
Sometimes all it takes to be artistically inspired is a melody, a feeling, good lighting, or a story. In Potomac's Arts program, we look for ways to explore the world around us, not only for inspiration, but for appreciation of how different perspectives, techniques, and tools from around the world contribute to unique expressions of creativity and self.
The arts are a central component of learning here at Potomac. Our qualified and experienced faculty provide a space for all to shine – in their own ways. We broaden their educational environment with visiting artists, field trips, independent exploration, competitions, exhibits, and more.
Stories from The Arts
Congratulations to Charlotte Gabriel ’25, Miqy Khapra ’26, and Sasha Leifer ’26 for being three of the five Potomac students accepted to the 2023 VBODA District 12 Junior and Senior Honor Orchestras after highly competitive auditions in November. The other two students are from the IS. The orchestras, each made up of 80 of the best student string players in northern Virginia, will be led by Foster Beyers, director of orchestras at JMU, and Todd Parrish, a well-known string educator and composer. Each group will rehearse extensively before sharing the results of their hard work in a concert for friends, teachers, and families at 3:00 pm on Saturday, January 14, at Langley High School. All music enthusiasts are invited to attend!
On November 18, local ceramics artist and educator Ryan Rakhshan visited Lower School Art to teach third graders all about ceramics. Mr. Rakhshan shared examples of his unique sculptures and answered questions about his artistic process. Then, students had a great time working with the artist, getting their hands messy by throwing a small clay pot on the potter's wheel. Enjoy some more photos from his visit.
Eighth grade A block art students have created treehouse constructions using sticks, cardboard, and twine. They worked in pairs, using their imaginations and developing practical construction skills as part of their architecture unit.
Lower School students recently participated in an educational program with visiting musicians, arranged by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington, DC. The students learned about the angklung, an Indonesian musical instrument made from bamboo, which symbolizes unity and community. Topics included how and where the instruments are made, the significance of using bamboo, and the geographical layout of Indonesia and its more than 17,000 islands.
Professor Diah Ayu Maharani, DDS, PhD, the Educational and Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia, attended the program in support of bringing awareness of Indonesian culture to Potomac’s students. Read more
Upper School architecture students recently made two local site visits to gather first-hand information for design projects. Architecture 1 students explored the neighborhood around the historic Friendship Baptist Church as they reflected on the history of Southwest DC. This extra context will help them to imagine a respectful new use for the deconsecrated church.
Advanced architecture students visited historic Lockhouse #25 to learn about the Canal's 200-year history and seven renovated lock-keeper's houses. This is part of a collaborative design challenge in partnership with the local non-profit organization, The Canal Trust, to imagine and model 21st-century overnight lodgings for travelers along the 185-mile C&O Canal towpath.
The IS String Orchestra played for a very interested and welcoming audience of third graders last week. The older students demonstrated the various special effects they can make with their instruments, performed a spooky Halloween piece, and introduced their new LS friends to stringed instruments. The IS can’t wait to come back to play for LS again! Enjoy the photo gallery.
The MS Autumn/Halloween Assembly was the culmination of weeks of preparation - and what a success it was! Every Middle School student contributed in some way: performing songs, playing instrumental pieces, and/or participating in dramatic performances. Several sixth graders were featured, reading a poem, playing the piano, and performing the witches’ scene from Macbeth. Performing in the dark with only a blacklight as their lightsource, Middle School Handbell students rang “The Blood Moon” during their first performance of the year. The MS Band performed an exciting multimedia experience entitled “Mechanical Monsters,” and Grade 6 Strings successfully gave their first public performance of the year with “Deep Sea Fandango.” The Grade 6 Chorus gave great renditions of “Benjy Met the Bear” and “Old Abram Brown.” Bravo to all for their efforts. Enjoy the photo gallery.
The Visual and Performing Arts Concentration program (VPAC) is offered for Upper School students who wish to undertake a deep and rigorous study in the arts. To be admitted to the program, students must be able to demonstrate a special passion for and sustained commitment to their own artistic development. Concentrations are offered in music, theater, and visual arts.