Fine Arts at West Nottingham Academy
Art, music and theatre at West Nottingham Academy enhance the rigorous academic program. All freshmen participate in the Freshman Humanities Art and Music courses, which are an extension of their Humanities History class. They learn about the culture of historical periods to deepen their understanding of the people, while creating art and composing music. As students continue their high school careers, they are given the opportunity to advance their skills in visual arts and/or music. They choose from Photography, Studio Art, Chorus and Music Theory. Each year, students have the opportunity to perform on stage by joining the Nottingham Players as an after-school activity.
The Nottingham Players have long been an integral part of the student experience at West Nottingham Academy. Students gather to select and produce full-scale productions, involving themselves in every aspect of Drama; acting, singing, lights, sets, etc. Past productions have included Broadway Musicals like Grease, Once Upon a Mattress, and Into the Woods, Drama/Mystery productions like Deathtrap and Night Watch, and intellectually challenging plays like Aria da Capo and last year’s Canterbury Tales. As the pictures from this production demonstrate, there is room for every sort of talent in the Nottingham Players.
The art facilities include the Joseph R. and Paul W. Gates Gallery, where both professional and student artists exhibit work. Our computer lab offers the Adobe Creative Suite with which students learn Photoshop, InDesign and Illustrator. The art studio has a brand new printing press, a darkroom, and an electric kiln for ceramic work. Students learn about drawing, three-dimensional artwork, digital and darkroom photography, oil painting, color theory, the list goes on and on.
Students wishing to continue their art education at a visual arts school have the opportunity to prepare a comprehensive art portfolio with which to apply. Students have in recent years been accepted to Maryland Institute College of Art, School of Visual Arts, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, and the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.
WNA also has an active National Arts Honors Society chapter. This student led group works on promoting the arts.
West Nottingham Academy is proud to be partnered with the New York Academy of Art through the Eric Fischl '66 Artist-in-Residence Teaching Program. Each trimester a visiting graduate of the New York Academy of Art will be on campus each trimester to teach classes and work on their own art in a studio close to the students’ art studio. Students will not only benefit from their tutelage, but by witnessing the dedication and processes of professional artists in their studio, they will gain a greater understanding of how artists work.
One of the priorities of music education at West Nottingham is to facilitate a high level of musical literacy. Literacy in academic terms is defined loosely as the ability to read and write, and so musical literacy is the ability to read and write music. Students are able to achieve this through a variety of classes and performing ensembles. The school has a state-of-the-art computer lab with Finale music software. Students taking humanities and theory classes have the opportunity to create their own music compositions using the finest technology available.
Concert Choir: The school’s largest ensemble. The Concert Choir is offered as a class to be taken as an art credit, but students unable to take it during the academic day may attend weekly evening rehearsals. This choir performs for the various convocations throughout the year.
Academy Singers: A small group of singers selected from the larger Concert Choir. This choir rehearses during the second half of the school year. The Academy singers perform more challenging repertoire including acappella works. This ensemble performs for convocations, special events, and recording sessions.
Maroon & White: Our all-male ensemble. Newly formed, this group of singers consists of the best male singers in the school. This ensemble performs for convocations, special events, and recording sessions.
Chamber Ensemble: A small group of instrumental players. This group was formed to facilitate the variety of talented instrumentalists at West Nottingham. Students with four to five years’ experience playing an instrument are encouraged to join. This ensemble rehearses during the second trimester as an afterschool activity. Performances are not limited to second trimester.