A Rigorous, Creative Experience
Our arts program offers all students a rigorous creative experience that is personally rewarding and a central component of their education. Students in the arts are exposed to expert, compassionate teachers who model and share their zeal for lifelong learning. Delightfully distinct to the arts department is the daily creating of art by students, in a safe and supportive forum where teachers demonstrate by practicing alongside them. We want our students to build confidence in their ability to express themselves and to communicate to a greater audience, so we help them master foundational skills -- from drawing one-point perspective to matching a musical pitch. We emphasize experiential learning where students are encouraged to engage in projects with personal ownership for decision-making and creative risk-taking, followed by reflection and constructive analysis of their effort. We want our students to both appreciate traditional methods and also recognize and celebrate the myriad ways in which people create art. We thereby consider each student to be an individual creator or performer: we encourage them to ponder and investigate the questions, “Who am I?” and, “What story might I tell?”.
Students considering college programs will be guided and mentored to reach their artistic goals. Students seeking to try—even once—to draw, dance, act, sing, paint, play an instrument, craft pottery, develop photographs or design digitally will receive great encouragement and experience the joy and satisfaction inherent to making art.
Visit our box office to see upcoming show dates and purchase tickets in advance.
Fine Arts Department Chair
University of New Hampshire, B.A.
University of New Hampshire, B.F.A.
California State University, Monterey Bay, B.A.
Johns Hopkins University, M.A.
Mills College, M.F.A.
Whitman College, B.A.
University of Northern Colorado, B.A.
University of California, Santa Cruz, B.A.
University of California, Santa Cruz, M.A.
Kim (Ataide) Schmittgens '81
University of California, Irvine, B.F.A., '85
California Institute of the Arts, M.F.A., '92
- How does Stevenson support and promote the arts?
- Does Stevenson offer advanced courses for students seeking to be challenged?
- What if I want to try something, but don’t really see myself as an artist?
- Can students pursue their arts goals outside of school?
- How does the arts program take advantage of Stevenson’s location, and the resources that surround campus?
- Do Stevenson students pursue the arts in college and as careers?
- I saw a radio station on campus - do students get to be on air?
Stevenson encourages students to be brave and try new things, and provides a rich variety of curricular and co-curricular opportunities to explore self-expression and develop skill in the visual and performing arts, including instrumental and vocal music, theater and dance, technical theater, painting and drawing, ceramics and sculpture, filmmaking, broadcasting, and photography. Our 70-minute classes offer the ideal amount of time for project-based learning, and our daily schedule allows students the time they need to dive deeply into such things on their own or with peers, long after regular academic hours. Few days pass without some exposure to the arts: musical and dance performances are often featured during weekly assemblies, as are short films; our monthly student-run “coffee houses” in the Little Theater draw wildly appreciative audiences; student-staffed KSPB 91.9 FM enjoys a dedicated following on campus and in the communities surrounding the School; and student art shows in the Treasure Room gallery space are periodically complemented by “pop-up” gallery walks around campus. Main stage productions occur four times annually in Keck Auditorium, and are as well-attended as our instrumental and choral concerts.
Yes! Stevenson is dedicated to helping students achieve their fullest possible potential. In addition to offering AP studio art and AP music theory, we offer a range of electives that provide ample opportunities for individuated instruction--meaning that in the arts, as in other departments, our teachers meet each one of their students where they are and help them excel on their own terms. Outside of class work, chances to perform abound. Our musicians and singers, for example, are regular participants in Central California Section Honors performances and competitions, and our students are regularly selected for the National Honor Choir. Last year, our choir performed at world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City, a memorable experience for all concerned.
Yes. That said, most students’ talents and ambitions are fully-served by our offerings, which can include private music lessons on campus as well as clubs organized around shared interests, like fashion design. For elite students whose goals can truly only be accommodated by external programs--ballet is a good example--we help identify feasible local options.
Our surroundings are beautiful, inspiring, and replete with cultural resources. Carmel-by-the Sea features more than 50 art galleries, and the Monterey Museum of Art boasts an impressive collection of early California painting, photography, and modern and contemporary art. Annual world-renowned arts celebrations--such as Carmel Art, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the Bach Festival--punctuate the year. The Pacific Repertory Theatre mounts productions at three different theaters that feature professional actors and often include Stevenson students.
Yes, and we’re deeply proud of our graduates’ accomplishments in this area. Every year, we place students at top colleges to pursue studies in design, architecture, acting, filmmaking, dance and music. Recent graduates attend RISD, USC (animation, architecture), NYU Tisch (film, acting), The Art Institute of Chicago, Parsons, Pratt, Chapman Dodge (film, animation), Cooper Union, Cal-Poly, and Cornell (architecture), to name a few. Alumni artists return to campus frequently to share their talents and inspire our current students.
KSPB 91.9 is FCC-licensed, commercial-free, and--at 1000 watts--is among the most powerful high school radio stations in the United States. The station is student-run and includes staff positions from webmaster to program director. After training as on-air hosts, students broadcast their shows live to listeners in five counties surrounding the campus – Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Benito, Santa Clara and San Mateo – with a potential total listenership of more than 1 million people, as well as a worldwide audience via livestreaming. Students choose the genre of music for their specific show; some prefer to run talk shows on subjects that include sports and business. KSPB also broadcasts many of our school sporting events, and students can produce podcasts to share with the world.
A Gateway to Discovery
Stevenson’s English Department promotes critical thinking, responsible scholarship, and creative expression within an imaginative curriculum. In a seminar setting, we model a learning environment framed on the values of inquiry, mutual respect, and cooperative support. The program emphasizes the content and skills necessary for students to find success in college and beyond through progressive practice in reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, speaking, and listening.
We believe that varied and frequent writing, followed by timely, constructive feedback, creates skilled and confident writers. Students learn to express their views tactfully and persuasively, often against opposing positions. They develop aptitude in reading, writing and speaking, not only as tools essential to all learning, but as a gateway to discovery, self-expression, and communication. Furthermore, they acquire an understanding of the historical events that shape literature and appreciate the vast diversity and continuities that mark human experience.
Paramount to our work is nurturing an abiding respect for the strength and splendor of language, and through a study of poetry, prose, and drama by a diverse range of authors, students develop both insight into their own lives and empathy for the lives of others. When students acquire the temperament to read widely and purposefully, learning will be life-long and enlivening.
We ask that all Stevenson students set aside social media and spend time with books that open their minds to new ideas and communities. Most courses offer a selection of titles that will introduce foundational themes for the course.
Aimée Bates, Department Chair
Dartmouth College, B.A.
University of California, Davis, M.A.
Dr. Richard Enemark
Colgate University, A.B., '72
University of Vermont, M.A., '78
Columbia University, M.Phil./Ph.D., '83
Dr. Karen Hiles '95
Swarthmore College, B.A., '99
Brandeis University, M.F.A., '02
Columbia University, M.Phil./Ph.D., '09
University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.
Boston College, M.A.
Middlebury College, B.A.
Columbia University, M.A.
Sam Salerno Jr.
Pepperdine University, B.A.
University of London, M.A.
Wesleyan University, M.A.L.S.
Eastern Illinois University, B.A.
DePaul University, M.A.
University of Chicago, M.A.
Trinity University, B.A. ’15
University of Pennsylvania, M.S. Ed. ’17
- What does a Stevenson English Classroom feel like?
- Is writing important?
- How do classes deal with sensitive material, like offensive racial language or attitudes in a novel?
- What kinds of classes do seniors take?
- Do students do any creative writing?
- How does our Writing Center work?
- Do English teachers help prepare students for standardized testing?
On any given day, our English classrooms are hives of energy. Through a range of activities, students learn to write with precision and craft, and to read short stories, novels, poetry, and essays with confidence and curiosity. Because our teachers’ approach is student-centered and seminar-style, students arrive each day ready to share new ideas, listen to one another, and celebrate their discoveries.
At Stevenson, writing is taught as an empowering tool of discovery. Towards that end, students write almost every day, and receive constructive feedback that helps them master the tools and techniques required to develop and express their thoughts. As college freshmen, our graduates regularly speak of their appreciation for how Stevenson taught them to organize their thoughts and write well relative to collegiate standards. While written efforts are focused on literary analysis, students also explore their narrative, persuasive, and creative voice.
Our teachers are trained to frame challenging issues with care, such that students learn to navigate—in developmentally appropriate ways—the complexities of our past and present as they encounter them in a variety of written materials. Our students grow in their power to find comfort in their discomfort, and they do so in a supportive, inclusive community.
Seniors enroll in AP Literature and/or semester-long English electives. The electives focus on a particular author or genre or theme—e.g., Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Coming of Age, and The New Yorker magazine—but are aligned with one another in terms of their learning outcomes insofar as students’ skills are concerned. By allowing for a deeper dive into content, the electives’ topical focus prepares our students for college coursework.
Students take the PSAT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test)—the practice test for the SAT—in the fall of both their sophomore and junior years. Our English teachers introduce the test’s format to ensure students know what to expect. More importantly, our courses’ emphasis on building vocabulary, mastering grammar, improving reading comprehension, and honing analytical writing prepares students well for all standardized tests.