Visual Arts

Comprehensive Arts Program
The Comprehensive Arts Program was established by the New Haven Board of Education in the 1970's to address the arts education policy and goals of the board, which state that all students in grades pre-k to 12th should have experiences in music, visual arts, dance and drama as an integral part of their education. Based on the principle that the arts are essential in a quality education for every child, Comprehensive Arts supports diverse programs in the visual arts, dance and drama, promotes arts integrated core curriculum to increase academic achievement, and fosters collaborations with the many excellent arts organizations in New Haven.
Components of the Program
Visual Arts Education
It is our mission to provide an excellent arts education for every child in the New Haven public schools. Our art teachers are highly qualified professionals who challenge their students to create original artwork and teach them how to observe and respond to works of art, weather by the masters or a classmate.  Comprehensive Arts promotes multi-disciplinary units of study in the art classes.
K - 2 Multi-Arts Experiences- How the Arts Communicate
This program features a literacy based artist roster. Artists present performances and workshops that focus on various art forms including drama, storytelling, music, puppetry, dance and movement. The schools choose performances that compliment stories children read in the classroom. The performances demonstrate how the arts can communicate a story. Students are asked to respond to the performances in writing or by drawing and teachers send them to the office.
Third Grade Museum Program- Where the Visual Arts are in New Haven
As part of this program, all third graders explore the visual arts by focusing on the excellent visual arts resources in the New Haven community. The program arranges scheduling and transportation for all third grade classrooms to visit the Yale Art Gallery or the Yale Center for British Arts twice during the school year. During the museum visits students discuss and compare the formal elements (color, value, line, shape, form, texture and space) of each of the objects viewed, and are encouraged to make connections and discuss the various meanings or interpretations of any given work of art. They engage in the process of responding to art in a similar manner they engage in responding to literature in the classroom.
Storytelling Program
Open to all students from K-12, this program encourages students to learn the ancient art of relating a tale through voice, movement and gesture or to write their own stories to tell. Students are exposed to a broad range of professional storytellers at the beginning of the school year and many participate in the annual Storytelling Festival at the end of the school year.
Playwriting Program
This program is offered to all the students in the district from K-12. The purpose of the program is to demonstrate to classroom teachers how the dramatic arts can be used to motivate students to write. Schools that participate in the program receive workshops in the classrooms. Student works are evaluated and all the scripts that meet the program's criteria are published in an annual playwriting publication. The program culminates with a Playwriting Festival at the end of the school year.
Poetry in School Project
Poetry in School Project introduces middle school students to poetry, encourages students to write their own poetry, and provide an opportunity for students to present their work to their peers and the public. Comprehensive Arts publishes a compilation of students’ original poems at the end of the school year.
ArtFull, a literary and arts journal
The purpose of the journal is to recognize students' exemplary artwork and creative writing and to provide an opportunity for students to share their talents with other students from across the district. The content includes prose, poetry, drawings, paintings, mixed media, collage and photography. The journal was first published in the 2003-04 school year and is now published through the New Haven Public Schools website.
Spring Productions
Drama provides an opportunity for students to develop their public speaking skills, to work in collaborations and to be patient and persistent in their tasks, qualities that are very important to succeed in today’s workplace. The Comprehensive Arts Program provides funding and support for schools to stage drama productions during the Spring and Summer months.
Collaborations and special projects

  • The Playwriting Program continued collaborations with the Yale School of Drama, The Long Wharf Theatre and the Westport Country Playhouse.
  • The Third Grade Museum Program is carried out in collaboration with the Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.
  • Annual district-wide Visual Arts Showcase takes place in the Board Room at Gateway during the Spring.
  •  Celebrating the Arts, annual district-wide visual arts exhibit at City Hall is hosted by the Mayor’s office and is on display for one month at the end of the school year.
  • Contests and other projects – The department collaborates with the Yale School of Nursing, The Fire Department and Connecticut Motor Club and others in coordinating district-wide art contests.