The CVPA Philosophy
Central Visual and Performing Arts High School (CVPA) of the Saint Louis Public School District evolved in 1984 from a realization that gifted young artists need highly specialized and rigorous training in the arts to be prepared for the intense competition they will meet in colleges, conservatories, and the professional arts world. The creation of CVPA represented the district’s attempt to correlate an academic program with concentrated training in the arts.CVPA is fully accredited and offers the same academic curriculum and graduation requirements as all SLPS high schools; the major difference in the academic program is that we offer the added ingredient of correlating the arts with academics, rather than treating either as isolated disciplines. All students spend some time each day in their art areas, and the remainder of their time in academics or electives. The arts offered for in-depth study are: Dance, Instrumental and Vocal Music, Theatre, and Visual Arts.In addition, CVPA is committed to its role as a college preparatory school, making students aware of the variety of opportunities they have for future training at colleges or universities, advanced art institutes, and conservatories.
The school recognizes and values student individuality. It nurtures, without exception, the values of individual accomplishment and independence. Since individual creativity is integral to the production of art, our faculty and staff work with students on an individualized, human level that stimulates intellectual, artistic, and technical originality. We strive to graduate people who can work independently and creatively.
At the same time, CVPA places high value on group responsibility, loyalty, and sense of community. In a country that is sustained by a democratic process, a sense of individual worth, coupled with a sense of responsibility to a society, is invaluable. It is to these ends that CVPA devotes its energies.
The Instrumental Music program focuses on developing a student’s understanding of music concepts that serve as the foundation for future development of aesthetic judgment. Students apply knowledge and understanding of the elements of style, form, and cultural heritage to listen to, perform, create, and defend their musical choices.
In the Vocal Music program, the student’s understanding of musical concepts is developed. Students focus on their own special interests and compare and contrast social, ethnic, and cultural influences on music. As students learn about the individuals who contributed to the area and time period of music studied, they form personal choices of musical performances from all historic periods. In both musical strands, students explore career possibilities in music education, music composition, the music business, and music therapy.
The Visual Arts program provides consistent instructional opportunities for students to examine a wide range of forms that are natural and man-made and to create art work using the elements and principles of design. Students’ interests in individual artists and their art forms are encouraged, and they study careers in graphic design, commercial art, art history, preservation of art, art education, art therapy, and arts management.
Students taking classes in the Dance program develop an awareness of the body as an instrument of expression. They refine their skills in dance technique and choreography and increase their ability to move creatively and spontaneously. Exposure to great works of art allows students to analyze the special characteristics of noted performers, choreographers, critics, and impresarios, as well as understand how these individuals have shaped the history of dance.
In the Theater program, students learn to create, perform, analyze, and critique dramatic performances. Class work becomes formalized with the students participating in theatre productions. As careers and performers are studied, students develop a broad worldview.