High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

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High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is located in Texas
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is located in the US
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

CoordinatesCoordinates: 29°44′14″N 95°23′18″W / 29.7372°N 95.3883°W / 29.7372; -95.3883
Enrollment723 (2015-16)[1]

High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA or PVA) is a secondary school located at 4001 Stanford Street in the Montrose district of Houston, Texas. The school is a part of the Houston Independent School District.

The school educates grades nine through twelve. The school is divided into six departments: instrumental music, vocal music, dance, theater (including technical theater), visual arts, and creative writing (new to the 2011-2012 school year). Visual Arts was formed by the merging of what were formerly separate art and media departments. However, students may initially audition for multiple art areas if accepted are required to enroll in the school under only one art area, with later exceptions in rare cases, excelling students with enough credits are allowed to re-audition and with approval balance multiple art disciplines. At the end of every semester students complete a re-audition or portfolio review which does not determine whether or not they return to the school; reviews serve as part of the final grade for each art area.[2]

Students who fail classes (Both academic and art area) are placed on art area probation which makes them ineligible to participate in art area activities. If a student repeatedly fails his or her art area or academics he will most likely be removed from the school.

HSPVA was placed as the top school in the Greater Houston Area by Children at Risk's 2009 annual ranking of high schools,[3] and it still remains on the top ten list in 2012. Since 2003, HSPVA has had eight students named US Presidential Scholars in the Arts (Presidential Scholars Program) by the US Department of Education as selected by the National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts).[4]

HSPVA does not automatically take in students from the surrounding neighborhood; the surrounding neighborhood is zoned to Lamar High School.[5]

Art areas[edit]

There are six art areas: vocal music, instrumental music, dance, theatre, visual art, and creative writing. There are subdivisions within some of these art areas. Instrumental Music breaks down into band, orchestra, jazz, mariachi, and piano. Theatre breaks down into musical theatre, acting, and technical theatre. A creative writing department was added in the 2011-2012 school year, raising questions about HSPVA's size and whether the current building will be able to house a new department.[citation needed]


The school was established in the former Temple Beth Israel

HSPVA was established in 1971.[6] The HISD Office of Board Services had, by January 1971, received letters written by art organizations in Houston. Those letters advocated for the creation of an arts magnet school.[7] The motion to establish this school was passed unanimously by the HISD school board during a period when it was divided ideologically. HSPVA was not the first magnet school in the U.S., but it was technically the first magnet school in Houston; this status was mistakenly attributed to River Oaks Elementary School.[8]

HISD chose Ruth Denney as the school's founding director.[7] The district asked Denney to choose between three potential sites: W. D. Cleveland Elementary School, Montrose Elementary School, and the former Temple Beth Israel building. After touring them, Denney selected the temple building and in May 1971 the final plans for HSPVA were presented to the school board.[9]

The school moved to 4001 Stanford Street, the site of the former Montrose Elementary School, in 1982.[citation needed]

In the 1990s, there was a proposal to move HSPVA to the Bob R. Casey Federal Building in Downtown Houston.[10]

Plans existed for a new HSPVA building to be located near the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center in Houston's Freedmen's Town Historical District in the Fourth Ward. The new building would have included a 2000+ seat state-of-the-art theater, updated facilities and possibly a recording studio. Construction was temporarily delayed due to the discovery of a possible American Civil War-era cemetery. In June 2007, the project page for the building displayed "CANCELLED."[11] The site that was to have the new HSPVA instead has the new Carnegie Vanguard High School.[12]

New campus[edit]

A block in Downtown Houston is the new location for HSPVA. It formerly housed Sam Houston High School; at a later point the building housed the HISD headquarters.[13] The building will be five stories and 168,000 square feet (15,600 m2) in size,[14] at a cost of $ $88.4 million.[15] [16] Gensler Architects designed the building.[17] Groundbreaking occurred on December 14, 2014.[18]

On October 13, 2016, the Houston Independent School District Board of Trustees voted 7 to 2 to accept a naming rights contract from the Kinder Foundation for a $7.5 million for capital improvements to the new facility. [19]The school's name will become Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts when the school moves to the new downtown location.[20] The Kinder funds provide primarily upgrades to theater equipment and some performance spaces, such as outfitting the mini-theater.[19]

The contract was approved by the school board after the Kinder Foundation said it would withdraw the funds if the board did not vote, [21] six days after the public announcement of the deal.[22]

One HISD board member, Jolanda Jones, spoke against the deal, arguing that it was selling out the rights to name a school and that HISD was not giving attention to the non-specialty schools in the district. Jones and Diana Davila were the only board members to vote against the deal. Most speakers at the board meeting, including community members and HSPVA students and parents, supported the deal (17 speakers in favor, 11 against).[23][24]

In April 2017, in response to a petition asking the Kinders to give the name back, Richard Kinder wrote to the superintendent of Houston Independent School District. Citing negative controversy, he offered to release the naming rights, but did not suggest or request the school's name be restored. [25] The issue is unresolved. By contract, the name change will be effective when the new downtown school building is occupied, [19] expected January 2019.


The demographics for the 2016 - 2017 school year are listed below.[26]

Race/Ethnicity 2016-2017
African American 18%
American Indian <1 %
Asian/Pac. Islander 9%
Hispanic 25%
White 45%
Two or More 3%


As of 2014, many students practiced their creative arts in the school hallway due to the small size of the campus. Many Montrose-area residents attended performances even though they do not have children enrolled in the school. Students sometimes traveled to area cafes and restaurants after the official end of the school day but before additional rehearsals.[27]

Admissions patterns[edit]

HSPVA has no actual feeder patterns. Since it is a magnet school it takes students from all over HISD and, until recently, from districts outside of HISD.[28]

HSPVA takes students from many HISD middle schools. In addition, some students who are enrolled in private schools in the 8th grade, such as St. Mark's Episcopal School, Presbyterian School, River Oaks Baptist School, John Paul II School,[29] and Annunciation Orthodox School,[30] choose to go to HSPVA for high school.[31][32][33][34]

Notable alumni[edit]

Presidential Scholars in the Arts[edit]

  • 2014 - Reagan Lukefahr attended HSPVA but was enrolled in the high school Drama program at University of North Carolina School of the Arts at the time the honor was awarded.[52]
  • 2009 - Devyn Tyler[53]
  • 2008 - Janye Grant[54]
  • 2006 - Tassity Johnson, Eloise Santa Maria, Rachel Goss[55]
  • 2004 - Blake C. Williams[56]
  • 2003 - Roderick R Georg[57]


  • Gore, Elaine Clift (2007). Talent Knows No Color: The History of an Arts Magnet High School. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc. (IAP). ISBN 1593117612, 9781593117610.


  1. ^ "PERFOR & VIS ARTS H S". National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved December 1, 2018.
  2. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage".
  3. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "3 HISD schools sweep top spots." Houston Chronicle. April 12, 2009. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  4. ^ "Awards - U.S. Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. August 31, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  5. ^ "Lamar High School Attendance Zone Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District. Retrieved March 24, 2009..
  6. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage".
  7. ^ a b Gore, p. 9.
  8. ^ Gore, p. 15.
  9. ^ Gore, Elaine Clift (January 1, 2007). "Talent Knows No Color: The History of an Arts Magnet High School". IAP. Retrieved December 31, 2016 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy. "Officials ponder downtown move for HSPVA." Houston Chronicle. October 14, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  11. ^ HISD | Bond vgn-ext-hidden_DeptArticleCTD
  12. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Carnegie Vanguard May Finally (And Happily) Move To A New Home." Houston Press. December 10, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  13. ^ Gonzales, J.R. "Sam Houston High School (old)." Houston Chronicle. March 30, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2011..
  14. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "HSPVA to get $80 million makeover with roof terrace, outdoor dining." Houston Chronicle. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014..
  15. ^ "Building Programs / High School for the Performing and Visual Arts". www.houstonisd.org. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  16. ^ "New Kinder HSPVA on track to welcome students in January 2019". News Blog. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  17. ^ "HSPVA breaks ground for new school in downtown theater district." Houston Independent School District. December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014..
  18. ^ "HISD breaks ground on four new campuses, celebrates first project to ‘go vertical’." Houston Independent School District. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014..
  19. ^ a b c "Kinder-HSPVA-HISD Executed Agreement 10-13-16". Scribd. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  20. ^ "HSPVA to be renamed after Kinder Foundation donates $7.5M". click2houston.com. October 14, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  21. ^ "Fate of arts high school renaming proposal uncertain". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2018-02-02.
  22. ^ Pulsinelli, Olivia (2016-10-14). "HISD approves Kinder gift, name change". Houston Business Journal.
  23. ^ Downing, Margaret (2016-10-14). "Trustees Vote to Rename HSPVA and Jones Says HISD "Is Like a Pimp"". Houston Press. Retrieved 2017-01-11.
  24. ^ "October 13, 2016 Board Meetings - Houston Independent School District". houstonisdtx.swagit.com. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
  25. ^ Downing, Margaret (2017-04-27). ""The HSPVA Fight Continues Even After Rich Kinder Offers to Take Back His Name"". The Houston Press. Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  26. ^ http://www.houstonisd.org/cms/lib2/TX01001591/Centricity/domain/21231/school_profiles/HSPVA_HS.pdf
  27. ^ Ambrose, Amber (2014-08-25). "A Sense of Place: Appreciating HSPVA's Montrose Campus Before the big Jump to Downtown". Montrose Management District. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  28. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage".
  29. ^ "St. John Paul II Catholic School". Archived from the original on May 22, 2007.
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 7, 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2006.
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 18, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  33. ^ http://www.robs.org/podium/default.aspx?t=1996
  34. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2007.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage".
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Distinguished HISD Alumni Archived May 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.." Houston Independent School District.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g "Outstanding Alumni Archived May 18, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.." High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.
  38. ^ Golodryga, Bianna (July 8, 2010). "Bianna's Inspiration: My High School Teacher". ABC News. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  39. ^ Lapacazo Sandoval (30 August 2018). "Soul Singer MAJOR drops new album "EVEN MORE"". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  40. ^ Soap star talks about struggles, surviving Ike KTRK.com special report
  41. ^ MARGARET DOWNING (27 May 2013). "Flashdance, the Musical Brings Its Dance Dreams Back to Life in Houston". Houston Press. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  42. ^ Jo-Carolyn Goode. "DeQuina Moore Stars in Flashdance – The Musical". Houston Style Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  43. ^ Matusow, Cathy. "The Blog Age." Houston Press. October 28, 2004. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  44. ^ "Videos Featuring Distinguished Alumni". Houston Independent School District. Archived from the original on November 8, 2015. Retrieved November 8, 2015. Matt Mullenweg - The founder of Wordpress is a Houston ISD graduate. In this video, HISD alumnus Matt Mullenweg describes his experiences at HISD schools, including Parker Elementary and HSPVA, and explains how he created Wordpress.
  45. ^ Sorenson, Edith (May 30, 1996). "Press Picks".
  46. ^ "Get Happy". October 21, 2008 – via IMDb.
  47. ^ "Ronen Segev." Ten O'Clock Classics. Retrieved on May 18, 2009.
  48. ^ Yvonne Villarreal (5 May 2018). "'Dear White People': Creator Justin Simien goes back to class in Season 2". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  49. ^ Terry Gross (16 October 2014). "'Dear White People' Is A Satire Addressed To Everyone". NPR. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  50. ^ Berkowitz, Lana. "Ping Pong Playa busts stereotypes with comedic flair." Houston Chronicle. September 11, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2008..
  51. ^ "Reagan HS grad becomes Houston’s first poet laureate." Houston Independent School District. May 9, 2013. Retrieved on August 19, 2017. While she graduated from Reagan, she also attended HSPVA as noted on the page
  52. ^ http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/2014/scholars.html
  53. ^ "2009 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  54. ^ "2007 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  55. ^ "2006 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  56. ^ "2004 Awards - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. January 29, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  57. ^ "2003 Awards Index - Presidential Scholars Program". ed.gov. November 2, 2012. Retrieved December 31, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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