The faculty of the Visual and Performing Arts Department, all working artists themselves, share a profound commitment to making the arts an integral part of their students’ lives and the Williston community. Our art courses, which range from 2-D Foundations up to AP Music Theory, offer expert instruction and hands-on experience the fields of studio art, photography, dance, music, and theater. More broadly, the arts are a celebrated part of our community at Williston, with enthusiastic participation and attendance for our many performances and shows. Find your inspiration in one our 13 different creative spaces on campus, including painting, photography, and music studios, performance spaces, and costume and scene shops.
The Arts Intensive is Williston’s afternoon program in the arts. Students choose between visual, musical, performance, and theater production, and can use this daily time to refine a current passion or try a new arts discipline under the guidance of a faculty member.
The Grum Project is Williston’s five-year visiting artist program. Funded by a generous alumna from the Northampton School for Girls, the Grum Project brings artists of all kinds—musicians, actors, visual artists, dancers, and more—to campus for mini-residencies so that the entire Williston community can participate.
Williston’s on-campus art gallery showcases the work of students, faculty, and visiting artists. The light-filled room—complete with a veranda; high, windowed ceilings; and an overlook from Reed Campus Center’s upper floors—hosts exhibitions and special events.
Throughout the year, Williston brings in visiting artists to share their expertise in our academic and campus life programs. In the last few years alone, we’ve had dozens, including street arts practitioners, ceramicists, YA authors, Random House editors, Grammy-winning musicians, social media artists, and sports photographers.
Students engaged in the arts at a deep level (participating in both curricular and co-curricular components) may be recognized for completing a “Williston Arts Concentration.” These students work closely with arts faculty mentors to develop a challenging, enriching program of study, and are able to note the concentration as a special course of study their school transcript.
Three Tiers of Classes
We offer three levels of arts classes to meet you where you are. Introductory classes help beginners acquire a solid foundation of techniques. Middle-tier classes are for those who want to pursue growth. For students who want to develop their own bodies of art work and work more independently, we have upper levels and AP classes, plus Williston Scholars.
Our Studio Arts classes encompass drawing, sculpture, two- and three-dimensional design, and painting. We offer three levels of classes: introductory (for true beginners), middle-tier (for those who want to pursue growth in a current passion), and upper level (for students who want to work more independently or develop a more complex body of art).
Film + Photography
Photography students study both film and digital photography and participate in the Photographers’ Lecture Series, which brings professional image-makers to campus several times each academic year. Film students learn camera work and editing software, and participate in the annual film festival and the student-run film club.
Williston’s theater program provides performers, technicians, and designers with hands-on opportunities to practice their craft. In addition to our extensive extracurricular program, we offer curriculum-based acting, directing, and design classes, senior independent projects, and courses in acting, directing, and technical theater.
The dance program at Williston offers technique classes for students of all levels of ability and experience. Training in choreography and performance are available for students who wish to participate in the full-evening dance concerts that are performed in the fall and spring seasons.
Instrumentalists may play in large or small ensembles or take private lessons. Singers may join the Caterwaulers Male Concert Chorus, Widdigers Female Concert Chorus, the Teller Chorus or the Wild Chords. All musicians perform at special events and concerts throughout the year.
Watch a video highlighting our performances from the 2020-21 school year.
See the Arts in Action
Edward Hing '77, Photography Teacher, Film Club Advisor
“I do believe that the best photographers have had exposure to both film and digital processes. Film-based imaging teaches the concept of pre-visualization, yet rewards with the unexpected. Digital imaging is instantaneous, it’s in your face, and unforgiving. It’s a fantastic learning device but the student needs to take the time to analyze the results critically. Ultimately, it’s about creating images.”
Tori Zingarelli ’18, Singer
Tori Zingarelli ’18, who sang in the Widdigers, Teller Chorus, and the WildChords a cappella group, built her musicianship skills in AP music theory, and made music through a special Williston Scholars project in the winter of her senior year. She performed the national anthem at the Springfield Puerto Rican Day parade last year. She is focusing on voice and music at the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
Kevin O'Sullivan '18, Director
Inspired by the comedy genre popularized by Saturday Night Live and Key and Peele, Kevin O’Sullivan ’18 wrote, cast, directed, and filmed a collection of sketch comedy skits based on the theme of adolescents in the 21st century, or, as he puts it, “how kids my age interact with society and the funny ways we view things compared to the generation above us.”