Life at PCD

Arts at PCD

The arts at PCD color our days with confident, bold brushstrokes and fill our halls with jubilant voices raised in song.
They offer abundant opportunities for exploration and expression, and are shared with an appreciative and engaged audience.

Through a combination of skill development (launching new levels of discipline and opening new doors to self-expression), critical analysis (developing important discernment skills), and performance (punctuating hours of collaboration and hard work), PCD’s visual and performing arts programs offer inspiring, inclusive, and supportive environments for ongoing personal discovery and growth.

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  • 75%

    of students exceed our two-year art requirement
No paint-by-numbers, curriculum add-on here; the arts are a dynamic and essential piece of our culture and are honored as much as every other classroom pursuit.

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  • Middle School Arts

    Fifth through eighth graders benefit from a wide range of visual and performing arts opportunities. Performing artists enjoy choral, instrumental, and musical theory instruction, as well as numerous performance and publication opportunities.

    The consistency and breadth of the program lay the foundation for a lifetime of participation in and appreciation for the arts. Students attend regular music classes, participate in chorus, perform in the Middle School Band (supported by instrumental music classes), and take part in the annual musical theater production. As a part of their daily schedule, PCD Middle School musicians have the opportunity to take their musical studies to new heights through our unique relationship with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Music School.
  • Upper School Arts

    Once students enter the Upper School, opportunities to engage in the arts are abundant—for the committed studio artist, the fledgling, stage-frightened thespian and everyone in between. PCD students are nationally recognized, award winning musicians and artists, and they are brave explorers—learning a new language on a piece of sheet music and getting their hands dirty for the first time at a potter’s wheel.

    A full range of visual and performing arts opportunities keeps the creative juices flowing and gives students multiple outlets for self-expression. PCD’s media-driven Upper School visual arts department offers introductory and advanced instruction in painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, computer graphics, printmaking, and design. Students can choose to focus on a specific discipline, working toward advanced studio/portfolio preparation classes in their senior year; or they might find unexpected success as they venture into completely new territory. The arts at PCD call in equal measure to every student, as each finds different means of self-expression and increases his/her understanding and appreciation of the expression of others.

Signature Arts Programs

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  • Arts Winter Session

    Arts Winter Session is a special opportunity for students who are committed to full-year art classes (choir, instrumental ensemble, portfolio prep, and senior studio) to try something new. This curricular innovation is one of the only programs of its kind in the area that helps students find more time to explore. High school students are constantly making choices and prioritizing their interests and they learn early on that there isn’t enough time in the day to do it all. But at PCD, where student success relies on the expectation and opportunity to participate fully, and fail or discover a new talent in the process, the art department has created more time to create. For eight weeks in January and February “Susie,” who is in the school’s jazz ensemble, will spend three days a week playing her tuba and two days a week designing, building, and programming a robot. Her classmates will learn how to play the ukulele, learn the art of video character development, study art history, prepare acting audition monologues, try their hand at 3-D computer modeling and much more.

    By changing the sessions each winter we are able to respond to student interest and introduce students to new disciplines with in-depth concentrated courses that provide essential hands-on experience. Winter Session courses are taught by the PCD arts faculty as well as visiting artists, engineers, and tech designers, who give students the opportunity to work with and learn from professionals in the field.
  • World Cultures Day

    More than a cultural festival, more than a day of arts exploration, World Cultures Day—held each March before students and faculty depart for spring break—reveals as much about the diverse talents and perspectives of the PCD community as it does about the many different forms of art and culture throughout the world.

    Throughout the years the day of workshops has evolved to reflect a variety of themes and interests—with professional and amateur practitioners sharing their culture in a day of hands-on workshops.

    This day calls on all of us to cross perceived limits. The roles of teacher and learner are blended as we showcase our community spirit, our curiosity and respect for others, and our willingness to step outside of our comfort zones to discover something new.

Arts at PCD