Visual & Performing Arts
At St. Johns, we believe that by doing everything, students can become anything and that a vital facet of "everything" is the arts. The visual and performing arts are part of a complete education just as they are part of a full, rich life.
Unlocking student creativity and talent is a pivotal aim of St. Johns' varied arts options. So, too, are building confidence and community. Just take a look around our hallways at the impressive art created by our students, guided by faculty who are practicing artists and excellent role models. Or come watch our biennial St. Johns on Broadway, a musical and theatrical extravaganza that brings the whole school together—on, behind, and in front of the stage.
The arts program is designed for varied skill levels and interests and taught via coursework incorporating history and theory. In the second semester of odd-numbered years, St. Johns Celebrates the Arts shines an even bigger spotlight on art through guest artists who give assemblies, master classes, and workshops. Because of this emphasis on the arts as well as our size, St. Johns provides abundant opportunities to perform and exhibit as well as to take part, stand out, and lead.
Some of our students choose to make the arts their career, but many more—from excited lower school ceramicists to our accomplished St. Johns Singers, who performed at the White House not long ago—simply develop an appreciation for art and the joy of being artists.
The visual arts are integrated in the St. Johns curriculumfor Pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Students receive instruction in painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, sculpture, and ceramics. Basic through advanced technical skills in each medium are taught with an emphasis on excellence in craftsmanship and developing personal expression. Workshops with guest artists supplement the studio classes which also incorporate art history and art appreciation.St. Johns artists have won numerous local, regional, and national art competitions, such as the U.S. Congressional Art Awards and Scholastic Art Awards, with work being exhibited in the U.S. Department of Education, the Corcoran Gallery, and the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. Student exhibits are also held throughout the year in various venues, including the Jacksonville International Airport and the Thrasher-Horne Center for the Arts.
There’s no such thing as “stage fright” at St. Johns! Beginning in pre-kindergarten our students are regularly placed beneath the lights in our 600-seat Performing Arts Center; so frequently that often, without realization, it becomes second nature. Whatever their interest—be it vocal, instrumental, drama or dance—our students are given every opportunity to pursue their passion under the tutelage of the region’s most talented performing artists.
Lower School students in Pre-K3 through grade two enjoy music instruction twice a week to develop and enhance their understanding of music, introduce them to a variety of of instruments and sounds, and encourage creative expression through singing, movement, and playing instruments. Grade three students attend classes, learn to play the recorder and further develop their singing voices. Students in grades four and five continue to attend one music class a week and also enjoy classes in movement and drama.
Middle and Upper school students are able to choose from an even greater selection of classes and electives. Sixth grade students may choose classes in Music or Band. Students in grades seven and eight choose either Dance, Drama, Band, Handbell Choir, or Chorus. Students perform at school and in a variety of events in the community and throughout the state. Upper School Students may participate in St. Johns Singers, Band, Drama, Handbell Choir, or Dance. There are continued opportunities for performance, adjudication, and travel, including a trip to Germany every fourth year for St. Johns Singers.
Performing Arts students frequently perform for assemblies and school programs as well as in full length musicals, plays, and St. Johns on Broadway. Recent productions include Fiddler on the Roof, Frankenstein, and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown!