UNIVERSITY LIGGETT SCHOOL \ ACADEMICS
The Department of Creative and Performing Arts at University Liggett School offers a carefully curated series of creative outlets in an array of art forms. Our program is student centered and allows individuals to grow as creative artists. We provide structures to allow students to draw connections to the world through understandings in the arts. The arts are an integral part of the school’s core curriculum, and our successes are measured by our students’ ability to demonstrate ethics, excellence and engagement in a variety of art forms.
Our Prekindergarten students are engaged in a rich program of visual and performing arts taught by teachers with deep experiences in their field. Music, art and physical education lessons are regularly integrated with project approach work and seasonal concepts to further extend classroom learning.
Music is taught through a song-based curriculum, which encourages moving, listening, singing and rhythm. Creative movement allows children to combine singing and gross-motor practice. Basic instruments are explored to encourage development with rhythm.
Visual arts are taught from a child-centered and hands-on experience approach. Students explore drawing, painting, ceramics, printmaking and sculpture. Additionally, students explore a variety of mediums during art activities in their classrooms.
The Lower School Visual Arts program begins in Prekindergarten and progresses through the fifth grade. Our philosophy, stemming from the Liggett approach, gives artists the knowledge and exposure to be creative, independent thinkers and problem solvers through the use of proper material exploration, art criticism of personal and public works of art, and the history of artists and movements.
Participation in strings is available to all Lower School, Middle School and Upper School students beginning in the 3rd grade. Students in 3rd grade may start on violin, viola or cello.
The Lower School Music program is an Orff-based program that guides students from PreK through 5th grade to carefully develop musical skills through a hands-on, creative approach. Students learn and develop their musical skills by creating and composing their own music. Singing games, folk dances and traditional songs from around the world are used to create an engaging and joyful learning environment. Hand percussion and drums are the instruments through which rhythmic skills are explored and developed through all the grades. Beginning in second grade, the musical concepts of pitch, melody and ensemble are developed through xylophones.
Children are encouraged to learn through their natural environment of play. Improvisation is encouraged to allow children to explore the possibilities in music. The music used in the classroom is based on the children's own heritage with a combination of folk and composed music.
Middle School musicians build on creative skills learned in the Lower School music program through the choice of a large ensemble. Students may elect to sing in choir, learn a string instrument in orchestra, or learn a wind, brass, or percussion instrument in band. Students meaningfully create, perform, and respond to music from a variety of time periods and cultures while refining technique and skill.
Students in the Middle School move through a program that provides a taste of theater from production to performance with stops in design along the way. As our Middle School learners move through drama activities they become aware of the broad and historical impact that drama has on the human condition. Through activities in public speaking, theatrical performance, design thinking, and design iteration students gain valuable insight into the theatrical process. Middle School students are encouraged to participate with the Upper School in our musical, and also produce a production of their own each spring.
The Middle School visual arts program begins in sixth grade with a foundational course, which aims to develop creative thinking skills and foster artistic independence. In seventh and eighth grades, artists may pursue an intensive year-long focus in studio art or choose from a number of elective courses built around the exploration of materials and ideas. Along this journey, artists develop their strengths, discover their interests, and cultivate their own unique creative voice.
Drama and Film
The Upper School drama program consists of introductory and advanced courses in acting, technical theater and design, as well as film studies. Students are encouraged to initiate creative solutions to artistic problems by examining the manner in which other artists have solved them in the past. Students have the opportunity to craft projects to fit their skills and talents taking them on an individual pathway through the learning. The Liggett Players present two main stage theatrical productions ranging from popular Broadway musicals to tense dramas. In addition, they produce a student-directed production each spring. The Players production company features leadership roles for our students and they are involved in every aspect of the productions, both on stage and behind the scenes. As a result of the program in the classroom and on the stage the Liggett Players have been consistently recognized at the state and national level for excellence in high school theater.
The Upper School music department at University Liggett School offers a comprehensive selection of courses to enhance students’ musical creativity and growth. Students may choose from a variety of exploration electives including music theory, music history, and music production. Students with previous musical experience may elect to refine vocal and instrumental technique through participation in band, choir, or orchestra. Upper School musicians at University Liggett School regularly receive superior ratings at festivals throughout the state and are highly sought after by the nation’s top collegiate music programs.
Set in state-of-the-art studios, the Upper School visual art program offers a wide variety of courses to enhance creativity. Students have the opportunity to complete programs in four levels of studio art, darkroom and digital photography, two levels of ceramics, and design in crafts media--a class which explores craft materials including glass, textile, and jewelry making. Upper level students may elect to take Art Studio Advanced, a yearlong student-directed portfolio development course which includes the production of a major exhibition curated by the artists themselves. The Upper School visual art program emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, art criticism, history of art, and a wide variety of materials exploration. In addition to celebrating our artists’ work with shows in our professional gallery space, Liggett artists have also been honored for their achievements at local, state, and national levels.
Arts Wing and Manoogian Arts Gallery
Dedicated in 1996, the Manoogian Arts Wing is the center of the Creative and Performing Arts program at University Liggett School, housing a recital hall/band room, music rooms, art rooms, a photography studio, kilns, and faculty meeting space. It is also used for exhibited artwork, receptions, and community events. The Anderson Exhibition Center, dedicated in honor of Wendell W. Anderson, Jr., ’42 DUS, hosts the visiting artists and student art gallery. The gallery space hosts solo exhibitions of visiting artists, including opening receptions, which is open for public viewing during school hours. Student exhibitions, beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through our advanced art program, are also displayed here.