Visual Arts

The Middle School Art Studio invites boys of all skill levels and interests to develop their own artistic voice and discover their passion. The art studio is located in a unique loft-style space that is well equipped to promote artistic inquiry. The visual art curriculum is intentionally designed to challenge and motivate middle school boys through both small and large projects that provide ample opportunity for student choice and self-expression. Developing an artistic mindset and focusing on craftsmanship and responsible studio habits are all a part of the middle school art studio experience. As boys move through the sixth to eighth grade program, they examine the questions “How do I define art?” “How do I discover my unique artistic voice?” and “Who am I as an artist?” Studio projects include painting, drawing, ceramics, wire sculptures, printmaking, mosaics, Claymation, and photography.

Musical Arts

Sixth through eighth grade students take a general music course called Soundscape. The coursework fosters creative expression and communication skills; historical, cultural, and social contexts; analytical skills; aesthetic reflection; and connections, relationships, and applications across arts disciplines and non-arts curricular areas alike. In sixth grade, the curriculum encourages boys’ passions, showing them where and how to find value and meaning in music. Emphasis is placed on learning creative processes, which encompass performance, composition, improvisation, and listening. In seventh grade, Soundscape students compare and contrast music across a wide range of time periods and musical genres. Students learn about the evolution of musical mindsets and performance practices, employing these in their own project-based work. In eighth grade, Soundscape students explore the ways in which music—and the arts more generally—both reflect society and impact society.
Fifth through eighth grade students also have the opportunity to join the Middle School Orchestra, Jazz Band, Chamber Players, and/or Choral Ensemble.

Dramatic Arts

The Drama Department at University School provides every boy with the opportunity to experience and explore his ability to express himself through acting, movement, and public speaking. It is through the curriculum and fall play and spring musical that the boys foster their imagination and confidence on and off of the stage. In sixth grade, our essential question is, "What does it mean to be an actor and theatre technician?  Boys establish a foundation in these areas, exploring the body, voice, and emotion that are necessary to create a character.  They study the different roles in which a person can work and thrive in the theatre. In seventh grade, our essential question is, "How do you develop your voice as a performer and technician?  Boys present their own monologues, study script analysis, musical theatre, audition techniques, and playwriting.  At this level the boys are expected to develop sensitivity to the arts and realize how the arts affect society and daily life. In eighth grade, our essential question is, "What does it mean to be a working actor and theatre technician in the world?” Boys are expected to become masterful actors and technicians in the classroom. They delve deeply into characterization, directing, and improvisation.
Boys looking to further their drama experience may audition for the fall play and/or spring musical.

Art with a Purpose


The Performing Arts


Arts Chair

List of 1 members.

Shaker Heights Campus

20701 Brantley Road
Shaker Heights, Ohio 44122
GRADES Junior K-8
Phone: 216-321-8260

Hunting Valley Campus

2785 SOM Center Road
Hunting Valley, OH 44022
Phone: 216-831-2200
University School serves 870 boys in Junior Kindergarten to grade 12 on two campuses in suburban Cleveland, Ohio. The School’s mission is to inspire boys of promise to become young men of character who lead and serve. Dedicated faculty, rigorous curriculum, and experiential programs foster intellectual, physical, creative, and moral excellence.