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A Place To Create

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.

Actors perform on stage for Puffs
Lower School student stamps with paint

ARTISTIC 
EXPLORATION

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.

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Enriching Curriculum

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.

Music Program

Performing Arts

Visual Arts

Stories from The Arts

Treehouse Constructions in Grade 8 Art

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.

Architecture: A Regional Classroom

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.

Strings Visitors from IS

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.

An Enjoyable Autumn Assembly

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.

Senior Ben Schirmeier has been named to the All-Virginia Jazz Band for his drumming excellence. From the many who auditioned, only a small number of students were accepted for this prestigious ensemble. Ben will travel to Richmond in November with some of the best high school jazz musicians in the state. The ensemble will prepare a concert under the direction of Dr. Barry Long from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. Congrats to Ben on this outstanding achievement!

Last week, members of the IS and US Bands got the opportunity to work with Staff Sergeant Charles Sonoda from the U.S. Army Band. SSG Sonoda gave a masterclass for our students who are preparing to audition for the All-District Band next January, explaining the audition process, practice strategies, and tips for the day of the audition. The students got to play for SSG Sonoda, received individualized feedback, and learned how to make an effective practice plan. A member of the U.S. Army Band since 2018, SSG Sonoda studied music (clarinet) at DePaul University and Northwestern University, and has performed with such groups as the National Repertory Orchestra and the Chicago Symphonic Winds.

Fourth Graders Explore MS Art Studio

Fourth grade students began the semester by exploring the Middle School Art studio. As the students experienced how the studio functions, they developed greater independence to easily access materials, set goals for themselves, and guide their works through the process of creation. The students experimented with a variety of processes and materials, including a favorite activity - Zentangle. Zentangle is an abstract work of art created from a collection of patterns on a small paper tile. Incorporating the skills of refinement and detail into small abstract paintings, the students converted letters from their names into galaxies of design while playing with color, line, shape, and texture. Continuing our practice of letter design, the students used studio resources to create their Illuminated Initials, pictured above. 

photo of clay chocolates in a box

Colorful and realistic-looking sculptures made by the Class of 2027 will be on exhibit in the IS Commons, just in time for Parent Night. On display is work that our eighth graders completed at the end of the last academic year. In an effort to understand form, shape, color, and dimension, the students made sculptures of everyday food, such as hamburgers, sushi, ice cream, pie and cake, baozi, noodle soup, and fruit. The goal, according to IS art teacher Hillary Steel, was to teach observational skills and trompe-l'oeil, the technique of creating art that, at first glance, looks real and "fools the eye." The exhibit will remain in the IS Commons through most of October.

Arts at Potomac

ARTS CONCENTRATION

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.

VPAC