Chicago Academy for the Arts

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Chicago Academy for the Arts
Chicago Academy Logo 2016.jpg


United States
School typePrivate, Independent
Opened1981 (1981)
CEEB code140–627
NCES School IDA9303202[1]
Head of schoolJason Patera
Teaching staff40
Key peopleRandy Duncan (Dance), Jessi Meliza (Media Arts), Rose Colella (Music), Andy Robinson (Musical Theatre), Ben Dicke (Theatre), Margy Stover (Visual Arts), Nicholas Roux (English), Anthony Pinto (Science and Math)
Enrollment150 (2015–2016)
Student to teacher ratio4:1
Campus typeUrban
Color(s)     Black
AccreditationIndependent School Association of the Central States (ISACS), Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE), National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), Arts Schools Network (ASN), Illinois High School Association (IHSA)

The Chicago Academy for the Arts, founded in 1981, is an independent high school for the performing and visual arts located in the River West neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. It was named a National School of Distinction by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.[3] The Academy offers a co-curricular program: college-preparatory academic classes and professional-level arts training. The school day consists of six academic periods followed by a three-plus hour immersion in one of six arts disciplines: Dance, Media Arts (filmmaking, animation, creative writing), Music, Musical Theatre, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Students participate in more than 100 productions throughout the course of the school year, including concerts, plays, readings, screenings, recordings, and exhibitions.


The Chicago Academy for the Arts high school was founded in 1981 by a group of artists, educators, and business professionals for the purpose of bringing a performing arts high school to Illinois. It is located in the historic school building constructed for St. John Cantius Parish.

The Academy students audition and submit portfolios during the admissions process. whereby only prospective students demonstrating an aptitude, potential, and dedication to their art are admitted.

In 2012, The Academy celebrated its 30th anniversary with a series of events, culminating in a gala event at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance at the Millennium Park Terrace. During this year, the school revised its mission statement to more clearly reflect the further development of its educational philosophy which integrates academics, arts, and the environment to educate the intellectual artist. The new mission statement reads:

The Chicago Academy for the Arts transforms emerging artists through a curriculum and culture which connect intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, and creativity to impart skills to lead and collaborate across diverse communities.

The atmosphere at the school has been described as encouraging and nurturing. It was once one of the few high schools to feature a course on existentialism and have workshops taught by guest tutors like Roger Ebert. A majority of graduates continue to higher education and/or professional arts careers.

Arts aspect of school[edit]

Throughout the school year, students participate in more than 100 productions, including concerts and recitals, musicals, plays, readings, screenings, exhibitions, outreach opportunities, and benefits. Arts departments conclude each semester with a one-on-one student assessment and review process that includes self-reflections and goal-setting, juries, portfolio reviews, and interviews with faculty.

Each year, The Academy presents their All-School Showcase, highlighting the year's top work from each arts department.


The Academy students audition and submit portfolios during the admissions process. whereby only prospective students demonstrating an aptitude, potential, and dedication to their art are admitted. Admissions is a multi-step process, beginning with the audition in a chosen department. Once applicants successfully advance through the audition, their academic record is reviewed. Students must also take the Independent School Entrance Exam prior to enrollment. The Academy offers four opportunities to take the exam at the school. The admissions process concludes with a parent interview.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "The Chicago Academy For The Arts". Statistical abstract. National Center for Education Statistics. October 2009. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  2. ^ "Chicago (Academy for the Arts)". School information. Illinois High School Association (IHSA). August 24, 2011. Retrieved August 24, 2011.
  3. ^ Alfano, Elysabeth (May 16, 2012). "A Solid Future for the Arts: Chicago Academy for the Arts Turns 30". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 27, 2013.

External links[edit]