Arts Disciplines

Visual Arts

The K-12 Visual Arts program at Sun Valley Community School gives students opportunities for creative self-expression and strives to develop a lifelong appreciation for art.

The goal of the Visual Arts Department is to offer opportunities for students to develop their facility with the techniques and processes of the arts as a means of expressing emotions and concepts.

The curriculum is based on observational and expressive artistic expression using a wide range of media and art forms both 2D and 3D. Students are exposed to the elements and principles of design, color theory, and art vocabulary through classroom discussions, critiques, and visual written literacy exercises. Students work towards refinement of sketchbooks, portfolios (including online digital ones), and creation of independent projects.

Concentration on Three Basic Components:

  • Visual Language

To provide a resource of visual terms, concepts, artists and functions of art both past and present.

  • Aesthetic Process

To develop ideas, refine perceptions, and understand visual elements.

  • Productive Skills

Requires an understanding of the properties of a medium, knowledge of a variety of techniques, and a concern for craftsmanship and quality.

Throughout the year we will be working on art that is reflective of the various units taught in the curriculum of the core classrooms. We will consider how we are influenced by the natural world and past artists. We will also observe how we influence other people by our decisions, actions, and words.


Elementary School

The music classroom is filled with a variety of instruments to stimulate young eyes and ears, including rhythm instruments, recorders, xylophones, boomwhackers, hand drums, congas, and bongos. These instruments are combined with children's books and the best of the Kodaly and Orff methods to create a curriculum that produces students who love to perform. Students present a winter performance and participate in other performances throughout the year, including Grandfriends' Day, Community Meetings, and Moving Up Ceremonies.

Middle School

Music is an integral part of every student’s life. We believe all students are capable of understanding and creating music, that every student has some musical talent to contribute to ensemble work, and that participating in music requires a degree of student vulnerability. With these ideals as a platform, the Middle School music program harnesses individual interests and talents through a series of units, each designed to deepen students’ understanding of music as a discipline and to build upon their musical interests. The units may include songwriting, vocals, instrumental, music technology, performance, and other concepts.

The result is a program where students develop an appreciation for a range of music styles, understand music as a language, form skills and appreciation for their own musical talents, and learn to perform.

Upper School

The Upper School music program provides opportunities for students to continue pursuing their interests in music. There are also opportunities for students with little or no musical background to create music and to perform. The program's goal is to instill in its students the confidence to perform and to provide its students with the tools necessary for collaborating in ensembles, as well as for independent learning and practicing.

Performing Arts

Elementary School

The Elementary School performing arts program is designed to explore creative movement and the tools of the actor: the voice, the body, and the imagination. The curriculum promotes individual expression, imagination, critical thinking, problem solving, and cooperation within a group setting. Students learn how to improve their listening skills, self-confidence, and social skills.

As students explore the power of performing on stage, they find new ways to express themselves and to interact with classmates in a positive and joyful environment. Older students also focus on the fundamentals of theater, such as working on a stage, basic acting techniques and theater terminology, in addition to using the principles of Laban and View Points: Relationship, Space, Shape, Effort, Pace, Tempo and Time when developing movement pieces.

Students in the Elementary School perform in at least two productions a year in Sun Valley Community School's Theatre, and also present shorter performances, skits, and presentations at Community Meetings.

Middle School

The Middle School embraces the, "If you want to be in it, you’re in!” philosophy. The Middle School runs a student-driven One-Act Play Festival in the fall season. Student directors run rehearsals under the guidance of the drama instructor, and any student who desires to participate in capacities other than acting or directing may work on stage crew, lighting, sound, set design, and costuming. Each play also has an Upper School student advisor who has volunteered to give back to the Middle School Drama Department and works with the actors and directors. In the spring, the Middle School offers a musical theater production where all students who wish to participate are welcome. Students also have the opportunity to be trained in costume, set design, lighting, and stage crew.

Upper School

The Upper School theatre program mounts two productions a year, a drama and a musical. Our students are taught by teachers who are professionals within the areas of music, drama, dance and design.

All students are encouraged to participate in the productions. We develop the talents of students as actors, singers, dancers and stage designers in a small repertory company, in which students advance from supporting roles to leads in the course of their high school years. Our choice of repertoire is determined by the talent of this company, and by our desire to find material for our actors that they, as well as our audiences, will learn from and enjoy.