Upper School for Boys Arts

The arts program, like all Upper School for Boys experiences, aims to help each boy identify and define his particular creative passions within a context of service to someone or something beyond himself, turning his artistic journey into meaningful action.


In Art and Design, boys work on group and individual hands-on building and digital projects that foster creativity, collaboration and empathy. An additional semester-long introduction to visual arts imparts practical skills toward the making, observation, analysis and appreciation of art from a variety of historical  and contemporary cultures. In addition to these essential components of the curriculum, students may go on to take advanced IB courses in arts and music, study theatre design, join the school orchestra or student-run bands.


The after-school activities program offers opportunities for deep dives into visual art, music, theatre and journalism. Annie Wright also offers on-site music lessons in voice, piano, stringed instruments, drum and flute, including twice-yearly recitals. The Kemper Center Theatre provides opportunities to be on or behind stage for major and minor productions—or just for fun!

List of 3 items.

  • Visual Arts

    Art & Design: Studio
    Art and Design incorporates the International Baccalaureate’s Design Cycle and the ideas of Design Thinking through the use of a wide range of materials available in the USB’s state of the art Idea Lab. Boys will practice hands-on creation through the use of basic tools like hammers and saws; electronic tools, and digital tools like 3-D printers.  Each year, the boys will determine a class service project that they will envision, design and turn into action.  Past projects have notably included building tiny houses for occupancy by the homeless and making face shields on our 3-D printers as personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Introduction to Visual Art

    This required semester-long introduction to visual arts imparts practical skills toward the making of art in a variety of genres.  As well, students learn critical observation and art analysis, practice critical writing skills, and gain an understanding of various art forms from a variety of historical  and contemporary cultures.  The development of strong critical thinking and creative skills supports all areas of boys’ lives and prepares them for more advanced visual arts courses, such as IB Visual Arts and IB Music, if they choose to continue with advanced arts courses.

    Elective visual arts offerings include:

    IB Visual Arts I
    IB Visual Arts is a two-year course that aims to develop reflective students who critically and effectively use the visual arts to express themselves. Through an ongoing process of experimentation, research, and reflection, students develop a body of artwork that they exhibit and use for their IB assessment. This portfolio embodies quality and breadth of media and subject. It also reflects an in-depth understanding of art across time and human cultures. Students produce work in traditional or non-traditional artistic media including: drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, mixed media, sculpture, design, installation, and new media. This course empowers students to chart their own artistic path. They develop their own concepts, projects, and expressions, taking full responsibility for their own creative process.

    Yearbook is a Pass/Fail, credit bearing course in which students gain skills in graphic design, visual communication, copy writing, editing and photography. The goal of yearbook is to produce an accurate, consistent, and journalistically sound record of the lives and activities of all Annie Wright School students Preschool through 12th grade. In this elective, you not only create a yearbook for every student in our school, you also gain useful, real world skills in time management, marketing, teamwork, and design principles. Students will use Adobe PhotoShop, Jostens YearTech Online, and Google Drive to make the book. In addition, they will also learn how to use a DSLR camera.
  • Music

    IB Music
    In this course, students focus on musical perception and on two of the following areas of musical studies: solo or group performance, music theory and composition, music arrangement, or music history and analysis. Studies are completed through class work and independent study. Assessments are conducted through solo and group recitals, listening papers, composition, and music arrangements.

    The Upper School Orchestra is a Pass/Fail, credit bearing class that is an active, performing constituent of the Annie Wright Schools Community. The ensemble's performances include the US Music Department Fall Concert, Lessons and Carols, an offsite Christmas Season Performance, Solo and Ensemble, the W-ASTA/WWU Orchestra Festival in Bellingham, the All Schools Orchestra Concert in May, May Day and Commencement. The group has room for a wide variety of skill levels and its mission is to foster growth as an instrumentalist and musician across all four years of Upper School. Although a stringed instrument-based group, it has always involved interested wind players including flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, French Horn and Trombone. The goal is to cover a wide range of repertoire every year from Bach to Disney, Beethoven to Lady Gaga and student interests are a vital force in choosing material.

  • Theatre

    Art and Design: Theatre
    This course will introduce students to the world of theatrical design.  Students will learn the basics of theatre design including scenic design, lighting design, costume design and more. Students will learn construction skills in the AWS Scene Shop – including safety protocols, construction tools, and best practices. The course will culminate with students creating their own scaled floor plans, renderings, and models.
For questions please contact Upper Schools Admissions Director
Maddy Mancuso ’05MS at 253.284.8603


Annie Wright Schools
827 North Tacoma Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98403


Translate this site

Founded in Tacoma, Washington, in 1884, Annie Wright Schools serve students from age three through high school. Annie Wright Lower and Middle Schools offer coed programs in Preschool through Grade 8, while separate Upper Schools for girls and boys offer day and boarding options in Grades 9 through 12. Annie Wright is proud to be an International Baccalaureate World School.