In March, Gwinnett schools celebrate the fine arts! It’s Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month!
Hats off to our fine arts teachers, who ensure that our students have access to a comprehensive, diverse, and world-class fine arts education in the areas of music, visual arts, dance, and music.
Research shows that arts in schools are linked to academic achievement, social and emotional development, civic engagement, and equitable opportunity.
In Gwinnett elementary schools, all students have regular instruction in music and the visual arts, directed by certified art and music specialists. Most schools have Orff ensembles, choral ensembles, percussion ensembles, and art clubs that provide an outlet for talented and motivated students. Some schools also offer band and orchestra in the upper elementary grades.
Middle school students have access to the fine arts through “Connections” classes, including art, general music, guitar, piano, theatre arts, music technology, and dance. Performance ensembles include band, chorus, and orchestra. A host of before- and after-school clubs and activities give students a chance to explore their creativity as well.
Across the range of fine arts offerings, GCPS high school students can participate in classes at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, and mastery levels in band, chorus, orchestra, music technology, dance, theatre arts, visual arts, guitar, and piano. Students at academy schools and in the technical education program at Grayson HS may have additional options with a fine arts focus.
By audition, student musicians at both the middle and high school levels may qualify for county, metro Atlanta, or statewide performance groups for both choral and instrumental music. The county sponsors the Gwinnett County Youth Symphony, Kendall Orchestra, The Gwinnett County Youth Wind Symphony, Violapalooza, 6th Grade Honor Orchestra, and Elementary Honor Chorus as co-curricular system-wide honor ensembles. High school marching bands begin practicing their routines during the summer and perform throughout the football season. County Dance Day is an annual event that celebrates the many dance programs in the system. The county’s Dramarama event each spring brings together middle school thespians. For high school students, One-Act Play competition is an extracurricular competition governed by the Georgia High School Association. Numerous competitions in the visual arts offer student artists and opportunity to share their best work in drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, jewelry-making, digital design, and more.
High school students also may choose to pursue a Fine Arts Pathway in any one of five areas—dance, theatre arts, music, visual arts, and journalism. A Fine Arts Pathway includes three or more credits in one of the designated areas—either general within the area or with a specialized focus—and shows a progression and growth of knowledge and skills in the area.
Our award-winning programs, staff members, and students routinely make the news with their creative work, including honors for excellence in instruction, the district’s designation as a “best community” for music education, top-ranked student performances, state and national awards for student work, and invitations to perform around the country and across the Atlantic.
If you need a little more of the arts in your life, attend a performance at one of our schools, or check out Tapestry, the three-week visual arts exhibit at the J. Alvin Wilbanks Instructional Support Center (ISC) in Suwanee on display through March 27.
Learn more about the Fine Arts on the GCPS website. Happy Youth Art Month and Music in Our Schools Month!