Arts & Creative Learning

We believe in Art. We believe students thrive on creativity and color, movement and music.

About Arts & Creative Learning

In a District as diverse as ours, it is our goal to provide our students with access to and an appreciation for high quality, culturally relevant and responsive arts instruction that promotes creativity, design thinking, and cultural awareness.

We hire certified arts educators to provide a robust curriculum that takes students from grade school through high school.

Students receive arts education through exposure, access, and immersion.

Academic Enrichment

Academic Enrichment is the integration of the arts and creative learning across non-arts classes and activities to enliven instruction and increase student engagement.

Dance and Creative Movement

Dance education gives students the freedom and permission to question and explore life through movement. Students will demonstrate their abilities and understanding of dance through:

  • Creating, performing and producing dance.
  • Critical response, aesthetic response, meaning and interpretation in dance.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of cultural and historical contexts in dance.
  • Incorporate the four elements of dance: Space, Time, Effort and Force.
  • Demonstrate proficient technical competency in at least one genre of dance: Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Ballroom, Social, and World Cultural dance.

Media Arts

The Media Arts Program prepares students for a future in creative industries within the visual arts, performing arts, and entertainment. Media Arts is an evolving genre that encompasses the creation of art, music and design produced by digital media and arts technologies such as graphic design, film, web design, 3-D design and printing, photography, animation, digital music, recording and production. Students will gain an innovative, interdisciplinary education through technical problem-solving and learning interpersonal skills that have real world applications.

Media Arts currently fall within three collaborating offices:

  • Office of The Arts & Academic Enrichment, where media and technology are integrated within arts programs and courses
  • Office of Career & Technical Education, (CTE) where programs are delivered around highly intensive and focused strands
  • Office of Information Technology, responsible for oversight of PSTV, Educational Technology, and Digital Literacy Curriculum

Learn more about our PSTV media offerings


The Office of Music Education ensures students of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to explore and shape their musical interests and voices. Students begin with foundational experiences in elementary General Music, continue with Vocal and Instrumental music instruction and ensembles, and explore the digital music world of composition, recording, and production.

Instrumental Music Teachers are site-based, providing daily music instruction to students within their school.  These instrumental directors are full time at one school. They are highly skilled, highly-qualified, certified Music Educators and direct either band or orchestra, although sometimes both as they oversee their school’s entire music program. Music Appreciation and Music Theory are often taught as part of the music curriculum. In addition to the many concerts and performances each year, many directors conduct and produce a musical each year in partnership with their drama and dance programs.

Class Instrumental Music Teachers (CIMTs) are allocated and assigned throughout schools across the District to provide the greatest number of students with equitable and consistent access to relevant, meaningful, and high-quality instrumental music instruction.

CIMTs are highly skilled, highly-qualified, certified Music Educators, categorized by specializations in Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion. CIMT instruction is typically first offered in third or fourth grade and continues through high school, though in some circumstances instruction is available for younger students as determined by the availability of age-appropriate inventory. Allocations and assignments are based on various criteria including equitable distribution, student enrollment, the available inventory of instruments, adequate and safe environment for instruction and storage of inventory, and accessibility of students. Consideration is also given to establishing feeding patterns within Learning Networks to provide opportunities for continuous instruction through graduation.

At the high school level, Class Instrumental Music Teachers are allocated in support of school-based Instrumental Music Teachers and are assigned based on their specialty and the needs of the program.


Theatre education encourages students to explore life through viewpoints outside of themselves.
Theatre addresses skills that benefit children’s education and development in five general areas:

  • Physical development and kinesthetic skills.
  • Artistic development using drama and theater skills.
  • Mental development and thinking skills.
  • Personal development and intra-personal skills.
  • Social development and interpersonal skills.

Visual Arts

The School District of Philadelphia offers visual arts education for students in kindergarten through high school. The curriculum includes two dimensional and three-dimensional studio applications, art history and digital art media. We encourage students to learn through :

Discovering and creating an understanding of human behavior

  • Thinking outside of “the box”
  • Problem solving
  • Realizing their potential
  • Learning through the close observation of works of art and world cultures through various forms
  • Involvement with art materials and experiences guided by the elements and principles of art

High school students may pursue International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement course work in the visual arts.

All City Dance Ensemble

The All City Dance Ensemble is an exciting opportunity that includes students with a diverse range of dance proficiencies, from schools across Philadelphia. Students audition for the opportunity to perform and learn from a remarkably talented team of teachers, educators, and choreographers. The All City Dance Ensemble is proud to appoint the Philadelphia Ballet as the official Artistic Partner for this program.

The audition is held once each year, and includes a formal ballet and modern dance class in addition to learning and performing choreography for the Audition Panel.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

dance copy

All City Music Programs

The All City Music Programs include students with a diverse range of musical talent, from schools across Philadelphia. Students audition for the opportunity to perform and learn from a remarkably talented team of musical specialists.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

All City Middle School Band & Music

Middle school students can participate in:

  • Concert Band
  • String Orchestra
  • Jazz Band

Following six rehearsals, the students perform in a festival concert featuring Concert Band, String Orchestra, and Jazz Band.

Students must participate in their individual school’s instrumental music program to audition for All-City. Students with several years of instrumental music study should apply through their instrumental music teacher.

Students must be recommended by their school instrumental music teacher. Students must perform at the District’s Level Two Benchmarks for Instrumental Music Education. Copies of solos and scales required for the audition are available from the student’s instrumental music teacher.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

All City High School Music Program

High school students can choose from:

  • Choir
  • Concert band
  • Orchestra

District students with several years’ experience in vocals, wind, brass, string, or percussion instruments. Note: instrumental and vocal students who have participated in the All City Middle School Festivals are naturally aligned to audition and perform at the High School All City level.

  • If you sing, audition for choir
  • If you play a string instrument, audition for orchestra
  • If you play a wind or percussion instrument, just audition. We’ll tell you where you go!

Regardless of which of these you fall into, you will perform at the Festival, which is a one-day culmination and presentation of the skills learned over the year. All program participants are required to perform at the Festival, which is held at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

All City Jazz Program

The All Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra is comprised of students from high schools throughout Philadelphia that are selected by a committee through a recorded audition.

Any high school student already in their school jazz band or with an interest in jazz should apply for the All Philadelphia Jazz Orchestra.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

All City Middle & Elementary School Choir

Students in the All City Elementary and Middle School Program will participate in a final performance at the Choral Festival held at the Temple Performing Arts Center. This festival celebrates choral music across the district. Participating schools bring select students from their school ensembles to join a greater combined choir.

There is no application or audition. Students are selected for participation by their school music teacher.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

All City Drumline

More information coming soon.

For Audition Information & Dates, Rehearsal Dates & Locations, and Final Performance(s) Information, Click HERE

MIC’d Up (Music Industry Classrooms)

MIC’d Up (Music Industry Classrooms) is an artistic, community-based initiative that connects all-star Philly DJs, producers and musicians with the next generation of talent – our District students! MIC’d Up is a new platform for mentors and mentees to discuss their passions for art, music and technology, as well as to learn more about the business, marketing and promotion of music.


MIC’d Up All Stars
Celebrating 2 years of MIC’d Up featuring a weekly variety of mentees and mentors

Monday Evenings 6pm – 8pm

Previous Residencies

April – May 2023

Mentees: JAB Trio from Girard Academic Music Program (GAMP)

Kevin Tamsjah, Drums
Alex Artom-Ginzburg, Bass
Jace Robinson, Keys

Mentors: Ben O’Neill, Luke Carlos O’Reilly

March 2023
Mentee: Sage Stanback
Mentors: Ben Arsenal & DJ Neeek Nyce

January – February 2023
Mentees: Jason Sagle & George Siokos
Mentors: Ben O’Neill, Luke Carlos O’Reilly, & Nimrod Speaks

November – December 2022
Mentee: MIC’d Up All Stars
Mentors: Luke Carlos O’Reilly

September – October 2022
Mentee: Denim Stanback aka She’J Q’dee
Mentors: DJ Nafis and Ben Arsenal

June – August 2022
Mentees: MIC’d Up All Stars
Mentor: Luke Carlos O’Reilly
Guest Mentors: Tre Lambert, Eric Wortham

April – May 2022
Mentees: KD² Band from George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science

Kevin Leonard, Drums
Damaris Williams, Bass
Dillon Dwyer, Keys

Mentor: Luke Carlos O’Reilly

February – March 2022
Mentees: MJS Trio from West Philadelphia High School

Malik Spurgeon, Bass
Justin Henderson, Drums
Samuel Jones-Johnson, Keys

Mentor: Luke Carlos O’Reilly

November – December 2021
Mentees: Justin Griggs, Andre Harris, Andrew Harris
Mentor: V. Shayne Frederick

September – October 2021
Mentee: Denim Stanback aka She’J Q’dee
Mentor: Matthew Law

August 2021
Mentee: Joshua Peeler
Mentor: V. Shayne Frederick

July 2021
Mentee: Christian Harrison aka DJ Blacx Rose
Mentor: Daniel Buckman, Matthew Law

The MIC’d Up campaign:

  • promotes and supports the increase and modernization of the School District of Philadelphia’s music programs
  • provides students with access to industry-leading recording and production equipment, digital instruments, and visits and classes by artists and industry professionals
  • seeks to bring visibility to and connect students with the vast network of Philly alumni working in the music and entertainment industries

MIC’d Up program includes exciting opportunities for our students to experience:

  • Artist workshops & masterclasses
  • Mentorships
  • Student performance opportunities, residencies, & showcases
  • Live event production
  • State of the art classroom equipment packages
  • Music business & record label
  • Artist development
  • DJing
  • Alumni engagement
  • Backstage experiences
  • Career exposure
  • Fundraising experience

Young Artist Exhibition

The School District of Philadelphia Young Artists showcase is an annual exhibition of student artwork from across the district.

The Collective Eye: Identity, Hope, Dreams, and Community

Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony was held on May 19th, 2023. The exhibition will remain on display throughout the spring and summer and can be seen here: Atrium – School District of Philadelphia, Admin Offices at 440 N. Broad St.

Who is eligible to be in the exhibition?

The “Young Artists” Exhibition celebrates artistic achievements of our District art students that are created in art classrooms under the direction of certified art specialists.

When does the exhibition take place?

Student artwork is displayed throughout The School District of Philadelphia’s Administration Offices throughout the spring and summer.

How can I support/FAQs?

“I’ve fallen in love with a piece in the exhibition, can I buy it?”

The sale of student work is at the discretion of the student. Each piece is labeled with the students name/school/and teacher. Contact the art teacher who will relay your contact information and offer to the “young artist” and their parent(s).

“I love the exhibition and would like to present prizes to the students and teacher, what can I do?”

Great! Feel free to contact the Director of Visual Arts/Dance/Theatre for more information.

“I really enjoyed this group project or body of work from this teacher, how can I support them?”

A teacher may have upcoming projects listed on The Fund for The School District of Philadelphia or DonorsChoose!  Each of these options is located on our side bar.

Upcoming Events

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