An independent day school serving grades K-12 | St. Paul, MN


The arts are an essential piece of the Upper School curriculum and community life. Students are required to take at least three semesters in the fine arts, choosing from a robust selection of electives in the visual arts, music, and theater. Student artwork is showcased in the Harry M. Drake Gallery, and the Upper School's two concerts and three theatrical productions are highly-anticipated community events, all of which take place in the Huss Center for Performing Arts, the school's state-of-the-art, 650-seat auditorium.


Upper School music courses are ensemble-based and include two orchestral ensembles, two choral ensembles, a jazz ensemble, and the Honors Music Seminar. All ensembles perform in two concerts every year, and the extracurricular a cappella singing group also performs at school events. Private music lessons are also available through the school, with instructors who specialize in teaching high school students.

Visual Arts

Visual arts coursework is offered in ceramics, drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, and the video arts. The Honors Art Seminar is designed for the most advanced students, who exhibit their work in a dedicated show in the Harry M. Drake Gallery at the end of the year.


Topic-based theater courses focus on Theatrical Arts, Acting, Design, Directing, and Production. Three audition-based theatrical performances each year include the Fall Play, the Winter One-Acts, and the Spring Musical. 

Upper School studio art class

Upper School ceramics class

2020-21 Upper School Performance and Arts Calendar

Due to COVID-19, there will be no live performances with audiences or public art galleries during the 2020-21 school year. Instead, the Arts Department has reimagined their annual performance/gallery schedule and are excited to share recordings of the various ensembles, virtual gallery shows, and more (see below)!

Check back often to see new performances from our music ensembles, theatre department, and art students.

Upcoming: Winter Music Showcase

In lieu of the annual Pops Concert, this year's Upper School Winter Music Showcase will feature all of our Grade 9-12 music students in virtual performances. While we will miss the vibrant performances in the Huss Center for the Performing Arts this year, we are looking forward to experiencing a streamed version, and invite the entire SPA Community to attend!

Please join us on Friday, December 18 at 7 p.m. for a virtual livestream premiere or you may view the Showcase at any time via on-demand streaming beginning on Saturday, December 19. 

Don't forget to download the Winter Showcase program!

Upper School Jazz Band: "Ain't Misbehavin'"
October 2020

Summit Singers: "Let the Mystery Be"
September 2020

Academy Chorale: "Wonderwall"
September 2020

Summit Singers: "Like A Girl"
October 2020

Academy Chorale: "When the Party's Over"
October 2020

Fall Play: Under Milk Wood

This fall, the Upper School presented Under Milk Wood, a 1954 radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas that was commissioned by the BBC and later adapted for the stage. Due to in-person performance limitations, the fall play was shared digitally with the SPA community on December 11-12, 2020.

Watch a performance slideshow on the right and view more performance on SmugMug.