Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts

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Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts
Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.jpg
New downtown HSPVA campus
790 Austin Street, Houston, TX 77002

CoordinatesCoordinates: 29°45′25″N 95°21′37″W / 29.75686°N 95.36022°W / 29.75686; -95.36022
TypePublic Arts Magnet High School
School districtHouston Independent School District
PrincipalDr. R. Rivas Priscilla
Enrollment753 (2017-18)[1]

Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (Kinder HSPVA, HSPVA or PVA) is a secondary school located at 790 Austin Street in the downtown 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.

HSPVA was placed as the top school in the Greater Houston Area by Children at Risk's 2009 annual ranking of high schools,[2] and it has continued to be ranked as an "A" grade or higher by Children at Risk.[3] 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]

As a Magnet school, HSPVA does not automatically enroll students from the surrounding neighborhood; the surrounding neighborhood is zoned to Northside 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.


Plaque located at 790 Austin Street detailing history of the new campus site.

HSPVA was established in 1971.[6]

The school was established in the former Temple Beth Israel

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.[8]

Parents rallied against a planned move to Timbergrove Manor due to its lack of proximity to Downtown Houston, artist landmarks, and the Houston Museum District, even though the district had already paid $500,000 for planning as of 1979.[9] The school moved to 4001 Stanford Street, the site of the former Montrose Elementary School, in 1982.[10] The cost was $1.3 million, and the HISD board had given the green light to the move the previous year. Keith Plocek of the Houston Press wrote that partly due to the 9th grade being reassigned to the high school level in 1981, "The building on Stanford Street was overcrowded from the get-go" as the facility was only intended for grades 10-12.[9] The HSPVA Friends booster club stated an intention to raise funds to recoup the money used for the Timbergrove site planning; according to the group, the district and HSPVA Friends had conflicting interpretations of their accord in the said recouping, and Plocek stated "The Friends never really paid much of the bill".[9]

By the late 1990s parents advocated for another move due to overpopulation, but again rejected the idea of the Timbergrove site due to the lack of proximity.[9] In the 1990s, there was a proposal to move HSPVA to the Bob R. Casey Federal Building in Downtown Houston.[11] HISD later proposed moving the school near the Gregory-Lincoln Education Center in Houston's Freedmen's Town Historical District in the Fourth Ward. HISD officials agreed to pursue a relocation at that time as Friends of HSPVA agreed to raise about 50% of a projected $30 million cost to develop a new site; otherwise HISD officials were reluctant to promote building a new HSPVA when there were schools with campuses in much worse repair.[9]

The Fourth Ward building would have included a 2000+ seat state-of-the-art theater, updated facilities and possibly a recording studio.[citation needed] Construction was temporarily delayed due to the discovery of a possible American Civil War-era cemetery.[9] In June 2007, the project page for the building displayed "CANCELLED."[12] The site that was to have the new HSPVA instead has the new Carnegie Vanguard High School.[13]

Naming discussion[edit]

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. The school's name will become Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts when the school moves to the new downtown location. The Kinder funds provide primarily upgrades to theater equipment and some performance spaces, such as outfitting the mini-theater.[14]

The contract was approved by the school board after the Kinder Foundation said it would withdraw the funds if the board did not vote,[15] six days after the public announcement of the deal.[16]

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).[17][18]

Former Montrose campus

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.[19] By contract, the name change will be effective when the new downtown school building is occupied.[20]

New campus[edit]

In January 2019, HSPVA moved from its Montrose campus to the downtown site at 790 Austin Street.[21] The former campus now houses the Arabic Immersion Magnet School.[22]


The demographics for the 2017 - 2018 school year are listed below.[23]

Race/Ethnicity 2016-2017
African American 18%
American Indian <1 %
Asian/Pac. Islander 9%
Hispanic 26%
White 45%
Two or More 3%

As of 2017 Anglo white students made up less than 50% of the student body, and the three ZIP codes with the highest numbers of students in HSPVA included Meyerland, Montrose, and the West University areas. The HSPVA student body had a higher percentage of Anglo white students than that of HISD as a whole. That year 15% of the students were low income. HSPVA historically had higher rates of minority enrollment as it had affirmative action policies, but these policies were withdrawn after 1997.[24]


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.[25] The building is five stories and 168,000 square feet (15,600 m2) in size,[26] at a cost of $88.4 million.[27][28] Gensler Architects designed the building.[29] Groundbreaking occurred on December 14, 2014.[30]

The previous campus was on Blocks 12 and 13 of the Lockard Connor and Barziza Addition,[31] in Montrose. 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.[32]

Admissions patterns[edit]

HSPVA has no actual feeder patterns. Since it is a magnet school it takes students from all over HISD,[33] and, until recently,[when?] from districts outside of HISD.[citation needed]

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,[34] and Annunciation Orthodox School,[35] choose to go to HSPVA for high school.[36][37][38][39]

Notable alumni[edit]


  • 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. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "3 HISD schools sweep top spots." Houston Chronicle. April 12, 2009. Retrieved on May 5, 2009.
  3. ^ "2018 School Rankings | Texas School Guide". Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  4. ^ "Awards - U.S. Presidential Scholars Program". August 31, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  5. ^ "Northside Attendance Boundary Map" (PDF).
  6. ^ "School Information / History". Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  7. ^ Gore, p. 9.
  8. ^ Gore, p. 10. Gore, Elaine Clift (January 1, 2007). Talent Knows No Color: The History of an Arts Magnet High School. IAP. ISBN 9781593117627. Retrieved December 31, 2016 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Plocek, Keith (December 30, 2004). "On Shaky Grounds". Houston Press. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  10. ^ "New HSPVA school building in downtown Houston is part of proposed HISD bond package". CultureMap Houston. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  11. ^ Sarnoff, Nancy. "Officials ponder downtown move for HSPVA." Houston Chronicle. October 14, 2009. Retrieved November 24, 2009.
  12. ^ "High School for Performing and Visual Arts Replacement School". Houston Independent School District. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Downing, Margaret. "Carnegie Vanguard May Finally (And Happily) Move To A New Home." Houston Press. December 10, 2009. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  14. ^ "HSPVA to be renamed after Kinder Foundation donates $7.5M". KPRC-TV October 14, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
  15. ^ "Fate of arts high school renaming proposal uncertain". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  16. ^ Pulsinelli, Olivia (October 14, 2016). "HISD approves Kinder gift, name change". Houston Business Journal.
  17. ^ Downing, Margaret (October 14, 2016). "Trustees Vote to Rename HSPVA and Jones Says HISD "Is Like a Pimp"". Houston Press. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
  18. ^ "October 13, 2016 Board Meetings - Houston Independent School District". Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  19. ^ Downing, Margaret (April 27, 2017). ""The HSPVA Fight Continues Even After Rich Kinder Offers to Take Back His Name"". The Houston Press. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "Kinder-HSPVA-HISD Executed Agreement 10-13-16". Scribd. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  21. ^ "Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  22. ^ "Arabic Immersion Magnet School relocating to former Kinder HSPVA campus". Houston Independent School District. May 9, 2019. Retrieved May 17, 2019.Spanish version
  23. ^[bare URL PDF]
  24. ^ Isensee, Laura (July 13, 2017). "Once Tool to Desegregate, HSPVA Doesn't Reflect Diversity in Houston School District". Houston Public Media. Retrieved February 23, 2019. - Audio file
  25. ^ Gonzales, J.R. "Sam Houston High School (old)." Houston Chronicle. March 30, 2010. Retrieved November 22, 2011..
  26. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "HSPVA to get $80 million makeover with roof terrace, outdoor dining." Houston Chronicle. October 15, 2014. Retrieved October 17, 2014..
  27. ^ "Building Programs / High School for the Performing and Visual Arts". Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "New Kinder HSPVA on track to welcome students in January 2019". News Blog. Houston Independent School District. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  29. ^ "HSPVA breaks ground for new school in downtown theater district." Houston Independent School District. December 15, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014..
  30. ^ "HISD breaks ground on four new campuses, celebrates first project to ‘go vertical’." Houston Independent School District. December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 21, 2014..
  31. ^ Lockard Connor and Barziza Addition, Blocks 12 and 13. Harris County Assessor's Block Book. Volume 23, Page 68 (PDF and JPG) and 69 (PDF and JPG). They indicate the Montrose School, which HSPVA was built upon.
  32. ^ Ambrose, Amber (August 25, 2014). "A Sense of Place: Appreciating HSPVA's Montrose Campus Before the big Jump to Downtown". Montrose Management District. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  33. ^ "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". Archived from the original on February 13, 2010. Retrieved October 21, 2009.
  34. ^ "St. John Paul II Catholic School". Archived from the original on May 22, 2007.
  35. ^ "Link Lookup". Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  36. ^ "About Us". Archived from the original on August 7, 2003. Retrieved May 1, 2006.
  37. ^ "Presbyterian School - Class of 2004". Archived from the original on January 18, 2006. Retrieved November 9, 2012.
  38. ^
  39. ^ "John Paul II - Our Programs - Middle School Overview". Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved May 23, 2007.
  40. ^ a b c d e f g h "The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts / Homepage". Archived from the original on July 23, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2008.
  41. ^ 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.
  42. ^ HSPVA, Kinder (August 3, 2018). "Theatre alum @KevinCahoon will direct Hedwig @zachtheatre in January. We hope you're able to stop by and see our new campus! …". @HSPVA. Retrieved February 11, 2019.
  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ "Ashley Tamar Davis Returns Home to Star in the Hit "Motown The Musical"". Retrieved August 10, 2016.
  45. ^ Panken, Ted (November 2018). "Empathy & Authenticity". DownBeat. Vol. 85, no. 11. p. 26.
  46. ^ Golodryga, Bianna (July 8, 2010). "Bianna's Inspiration: My High School Teacher". ABC News. Retrieved June 4, 2017.
  47. ^ Lapacazo Sandoval (August 30, 2018). "Soul Singer MAJOR drops new album "EVEN MORE"". Los Angeles Sentinel. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  48. ^ Soap star talks about struggles, surviving Ike Archived October 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine special report
  49. ^ MARGARET DOWNING (May 27, 2013). "Flashdance, the Musical Brings Its Dance Dreams Back to Life in Houston". Houston Press. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  50. ^ Jo-Carolyn Goode. "DeQuina Moore Stars in Flashdance – The Musical". Houston Style Magazine. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  51. ^ "Carli Mosier".
  52. ^ Matusow, Cathy. "The Blog Age." Houston Press. October 28, 2004. Retrieved May 18, 2009.
  53. ^ "Videos Featuring Distinguished Alumni". Houston Independent School District. Archived from the original on May 3, 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.
  54. ^ Sorenson, Edith (May 30, 1996). "Press Picks".
  55. ^ "Get Happy". October 21, 2008 – via IMDb.
  56. ^ "Ronen Segev." Ten O'Clock Classics. Retrieved on May 18, 2009.
  57. ^ Yvonne Villarreal (May 5, 2018). "'Dear White People': Creator Justin Simien goes back to class in Season 2". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  58. ^ Terry Gross (October 16, 2014). "'Dear White People' Is A Satire Addressed To Everyone". NPR. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  59. ^ writer, LESLIE CARDÉ | Contributing. "Role in 'Clarice' turns out to be a big break at the right time for New Orleanian Devyn Tyler". Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  60. ^ "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

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]