The Arlington Independent School District Visual Arts Department seeks to influence the lives of students by teaching innovation, creative thinking, and meaning - making through investigations and production of visual art. Creating and nurturing opportunities for collaborations between students, parents, and the community is a priority. Through the visual arts, students develop an understanding of self-awareness, increase higher critical thinking skills, collaborate with their peers and make artistic choices that are independent and intentional, ultimately, promoting the development of the whole child.
All students in Arlington ISD have the opportunity to take elementary and secondary art. In grades K-6, students focus on learning broad concepts using the elements and principles of art as a foundational component. Students are exposed to both 2D and 3D techniques and mediums such as drawing, painting, watercolor, clay, printmaking, mixed media and a myriad of others. Students will learn how to make cultural connections and be able to articulate and assess their own individual work. Elementary students will be able to participate in various district art shows and community events, such as the Dallas Cowboys Art tours funded by the Gene and Jerry Jones Youth Foundation and Youth Art Month at the Arlington Museum of Art.
At the secondary level, students will continue to explore the elements and principles of art with a focus on media applications and techniques in combination with theme development. Students develop an intellectual and emotional understanding of visual art, as a continuation of the primary years. Students will demonstrate an understanding of subject matter and genres by using the skills, processes, and trends they have learned and analyzed. Additionally, the visual arts will represent a learning experience wherein special emphasis is given to each individual’s ideas, inspirations, and imagination. Students will develop a pathway of concentration in 2D or 3D, focusing on painting, drawing, ceramics, graphic design, art history, IB and AP studio arts, ultimately gaining 21st century skills necessary to pursue careers in fields that incorporate the visual arts. Secondary students will have the opportunity to participate in various district art shows, community events and competitions, such as VASE, Junior VASE, Dallas Cowboys Art Tours, High School Art Day at the University of Texas at Arlington, Youth Art Month, Imagine No Violence, MLK and 4th of July.
Formal instruction in woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments begins for AISD students in grade 7. Beginning students are placed in homogenous classes that allow for foundational skills to be taught by specialists on each instrument. Students are combined into a large band several times a year for public performance and demonstration of their learning. Advanced band courses are offered for students who have completed their beginning year and are differentiated to allow for maximum musical growth of each student. Students in advanced band courses showcase their individual learning through auditions for the Arlington All-City Band, TMEA All-Region Band, and solo and small ensemble evaluations.
At the High School level, students are exposed to a variety of different band settings which include the marching band, concert bands, and symphonic orchestra. Students are placed in differentiated ensembles that allow them to continue development of their musical skills while performing in public multiple times per year. Students showcase their individual abilities through auditions for the Arlington All-City Bands, TMEA All-Region, All-Area, and All-State Bands, as well as performing at various solo and small ensemble evaluations
Formal instruction in choral music begins in 7th grade for students in the AISD. At the Junior High School Level students are placed into either treble or tenor-bass ensembles that are differentiated to meet individual student needs. Varsity level students may also be exposed to a mixed choral ensemble that usually meets during the advisory period or after school. At some campuses, an auditioned show choir ensemble is also available. Students show individual achievement through audition processes with the Arlington All-City Choir, the TMEA All-Region Choir and solo and small ensemble evaluations.
At the high school level, students are exposed to multiple ensembles that are separated by voice part as well as mixed ensembles that incorporate all parts. Each student is placed in a choir that helps them continue to develop and refine their vocal skills. Students are involved in auditioned activities such as show choir and musicals that are available at many campuses. Students show individual learning through the TMEA All-Region, All-Area, and All-State process as well as through solo and small ensemble evaluations.
Students can begin formal dance instruction at the high school level in the AISD. Courses are designed to help students develop fundamental skills with exposure to jazz, tap, ballet, modern, and folk-dance instruction. As students progress through the program, instruction is differentiated to meet student’s needs and help them develop further skills and knowledge of these styles. Students are exposed to public performance throughout the year and demonstrate individual and team skills during these performances.
General music in AISD begins in kindergarten and progresses through grade 6. Certified music specialists lead sequential, active lessons centered around the district’s Kodaly and Orff curriculum of singing, instrument playing, moving, creating and listening. Emphasis is on the foundational concepts of beat, rhythm, pitch, form, dynamics, and tempo. Students experience historical, relevant and cultural connections, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and responding as both performers and audience members to a variety of musical genres. Such experiences are intended to provide an avenue for student self-discovery and growth.
Extracurricular school activities include choir, instruments, drumming, movement, and musical theatre ensembles. Additional opportunities available for classroom music students are many: Bass Hall field trips, Music Memory, Cliburn in the Classroom, the MLK Youth Extravaganza, Six Flags Education Foundation Celebration!, and the Levitt Pavilion, to name a few.
The Arlington Children’s Chorus, an auditioned choir for 5th and 6th grade students, meets weekly during the school year and participates in community, metroplex, and state concerts. The Chorus has premiered several choral works; sung at TMEA and TASB and with UTA, TCU, the Arlington Master Chorale, and the Dallas Women’s Chorus. The singers have also performed under the guest direction of nationally acclaimed conductors and composers.
The AISD is proud to boast a robust string program. Instruction on the violin, viola, cello, and string bass begins in grade 5, where the program is offered at all 54 traditional elementary school campuses. In grades 5-6 students learn the foundational skills needed to play their selected instrument and perform in multiple public performances throughout the year.
Once a student moves to the Junior High School level, the student is placed in a differentiated ensemble that continues to develop their musical abilities. Students are offered the opportunity to develop individually through auditions for the TMEA All-Region Orchestra and various solo and ensemble opportunities. The program is offered on all 10 traditional Junior High campuses.
At the High School Level, students broaden their musical horizons with ensembles that challenge and refine the student’s abilities while offering multiple opportunities for the student to showcase their individual skill through the TMEA All-Region, All-Area, and All-State process and solo and ensemble opportunities. At the highest levels, students will be exposed to a full symphonic orchestra setting with multiple opportunities to perform music by the world’s greatest composers.
Beginning theatre classes are offered beginning in 7th grade at all of the AISD Junior High Schools. Students are given a variety of foundational skills that allow them to develop stage presence, vocal and language skills, and many aspects of technical theatre. After the beginning year of instruction, courses are offered that continue to refine these skills. Students are allowed multiple opportunities to audition for plays and/or musicals that demonstrate these skills in public performance.
Students that are involved in theatre at the high school level are placed in courses that match their individual skill level that consist from beginning courses to advanced placement courses where students can showcase multiple facets of the theatre arts. Students at the high school level are involved in multiple public performances throughout the year and display their talents through the UIL One-Act Play competition.