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A Place To Create

Learning rhythm on African drums, creating dynamic characters, visually expressing the way one sees and thinks – experiencing art is personal – and we teach this by asking students to observe the world around them. They are supported and encouraged as they face new techniques and mediums.

At Potomac, in all grade levels, we think of the arts as expressive pathways, both inward to the mind and heart of the individual and outward to the wider world. While emphasizing the acquisition of skills and aesthetic judgment, we respect the instincts, intuitions, and ideas our students bring to their experience in the classroom, stage, and studio each day.

student sits at pottery wheeel


Sometimes all it takes to be artistically inspired is a melody, a feeling, good lighting, or a story. In Potomac's Arts program, we look for ways to explore the world around us, not only for inspiration, but for appreciation of how different perspectives, techniques, and tools from around the world contribute to unique expressions of creativity and self.

Enriching Curriculum

The arts are a central component of learning here at Potomac. Our qualified and experienced faculty provide a space for all to shine – in their own ways. We broaden their educational environment with visiting artists, field trips, independent exploration, competitions, exhibits, and more. Read about the value that the arts bring to a well-rounded education and to the human experience at large.

Music Program

Performing Arts

Visual Arts

Stories from The Arts

US Band Students Recognized with Honors

Last month, 25 Upper School band students auditioned for the VBODA District 12 Honor Band, competing against 500 of the top high school band students across Fairfax County. Alex Davis ‘25 (percussion), Brandon Mayrhofer ‘27 (euphonium), and Vivienne Evans ‘27 (oboe) earned spots in the Honors Symphonic Band. The All-District Band event was held this past weekend, where all the students came together and rehearsed for three days under the direction of Dr. Scott Jones of The Ohio State University, then performed a concert at Oakton High School. Congratulations to our band students for their incredible performance.

Four Potomac band students were also selected by director recommendations to participate in the Virginia Tech Honors Band earlier in January. Jack Morgan ‘24 (percussion), Davis, Cliff Kanner-Bitetti ‘25, and Mayrhofer represented Potomac at the event. Once students were on campus, they auditioned for band placement, and all Potomac students made the top ensemble under the direction of Dr. Derek Shapiro. 

IS Student Accepted to VBODA District 12 Honor Orchestra

Congratulations to eighth grade violinist Esther Choi! She was accepted to the 2024 VBODA District 12 Junior Honor Orchestra in a highly competitive audition in November. The orchestra, made up of 80 of the best seventh and eighth grade string players in Northern Virginia, rehearsed for 10 hours on Friday and Saturday with clinician Sandra Goldie, then presented the results of their hard work in a splendid concert on Saturday at Langley High School. A recording of the concert will soon be available for everyone’s enjoyment!  

Potomac Theatre Performs (and Wins!) at Capital One Hall 

Over the weekend, Potomac’s Upper School theatre arts students competed at the Virginia Thespian Festival, the state's largest and most prestigious high school theatre gathering. The event was held at the Capital One Hall.

Potomac was the only competing independent school out of the 60 Virginia schools. More than 1,000 students attended, with 24 schools competing in the One Act Play festival. Of the 12 awards given, our students walked away with four awards, the most given to a single school.

Award recipients:

  • All-Star Cast in the State of Virginia, Virginia Thespians - Karina Satoskar ’25
  • Best Featured Performer in the State of Virginia, Virginia Thespian - Morgan Hubbard ’25
  • Outstanding Performer in the State of Virginia, Virginia Thespians - Rachel Nelson ‘24
  • Best Music in the State of Virginia, Virginia Thespians - Jack Morgan ‘24  and Kate Diller ‘27

The cast performed for the Upper School during Panther Time today and is offering an encore tomorrow, January 12, at 6:30 pm, in the Black Box Theatre. Tickets may be reserved here. Read Satoskar’s reflections on this experience in her recent article from The Current.

An Enchanting Winter Lights Celebration

Prior to the break, Upper School students gathered for a beautiful assembly celebrating many of our holiday traditions. Personal remarks were delivered by Upper School Head Doug McLane, French teacher Brigitte Searchinger, English teacher Stephen Wicker, and seniors Chase Edwards, Bryce Hall, Sasha Karpova, and Leila Bodner. In addition to the personal narratives shared, many of the Upper School ensembles and a cappella groups filled the space with joyful music. It was a lovely way to send off the division to the holidays and begin ringing in a new year. Enjoy the photos from this assembly.

US Musicians Slay at Fall Concert

The Upper School Fall Concert was a highly entertaining evening of music that featured more than 130 performers across six ensembles. The audience enjoyed elegant string orchestra pieces written by Josef Haydn and Hawaii's Queen Liliʻuokalani and a not-quite-as-elegant piece popularized by Carmen Miranda. The band performed arrangements of well-known music by John Williams and Edward Elgar and newer selections by Balmages and Ziek. Jazz selections included pieces popularized by Art Blakey and Maynard Ferguson. The evening also included choral performances of 16th- and 20th-century madrigals, a Beatles classic, a modern setting of the Sanctus, and sophisticated handbell showpieces by Michael Sherman and Michael Mazzatenta. The evening concluded with the honors handbell ensemble performing varied works by Helman, Arnold Sherman, and Sallie Lloyd and a setting of "What a Wonderful World." Enjoy photos from the concert, and listen to the recording

Mid-Autumn/Halloween Assembly Was Spooktacular

A coven of witches concocting a vile brew set a terrifying tone for this year's assembly. The show included original interpretations of poems by each fourth and fifth grade class – students composed an original rhythm to accompany the poem as well as movements and creative narrations. Sixth grade band, bells, strings, and choral ensembles all performed. A headless character closed the assembly along with the Service Learning club to remind all attendees to donate coats and jackets, which will go to Cornerstones, one of our community partners. View the gallery here and see the K-12 video celebrating Halloween on Potomac’s campus.

Grade 6 Students Learn about Cyanotype Prints

Spreading their love of Potomac blue, students in grade 6 harnessed the light – and our natural campus – to create beautiful cyanotype sun prints during Ms. Dunkelberger’s art class. Cyanotypes are one of the oldest photographic printing processes in the history of photography. The print's distinctive feature is its cyan blue shade, which results from its exposure to ultraviolet light.

US Concert

The Upper School Spring Concert was an entertaining evening of music that featured more than 100 performers and six ensembles. The audience enjoyed a moving choral setting of the poem Where Your Bare Foot Walks, the motet O magnum mysterium by Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria, and others.

The Concert Handbell ensemble shared multiple rhythmic pieces entitled Friend of Mine, Bound for South Australia, and the Bruno Mars hit Grenade. The Honors Handbell Ensemble closed out the first half with Rondo Borincano, Fancye, and Britney Spears’ critically acclaimed Toxic.

The String Orchestra performed a piece by Mozart, followed by John Williams’ Theme from Schindler’s List. Faculty member Mr. Nicholas Tkach once again had one of his original compositions on the program, this one entitled Dramatic Overture from his opera Antigone. The string orchestra finished with the classic 12-bar blues Green Onions featuring many soloists.

Fresh off their NYC tour, Concert Band first performed After Pandora, a piece of contrasting themes before closing their portion of the performance with the title theme from Stephen Sondheim’s musical Into the Woods. Jazz Band’s first piece was the Grammy-award winning song No Time to Die before bringing the house down with the jazz standard Take Five, written by Paul Desmond for the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Photos from the evening can be found here.

Arts at Potomac


The Visual and Performing Arts Concentration program (VPAC) is offered for Upper School students who wish to undertake a deep and rigorous study in the arts. To be admitted to the program, students must be able to demonstrate a special passion for and sustained commitment to their own artistic development. Concentrations are offered in music, theater, and visual arts.