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Fine Arts


The BCSD Visual & Performing Arts Department strives to provide quality, standards-based arts instruction to all students in all schools. Elementary schools offer general music and visual arts or a combination creative arts class, while middle and high schools offer a variety of arts classes including instrumental music (strings, band, steel drums), chorus, theater, dance and visual arts (drawing, design, painting, ceramics, and photography).   

Because the arts contribute to the total development of the individual and serve a vital role in society, the Visual & Performing Arts Department is committed to:

  • Learning in, through and about the arts
  • Building a network of community arts and cultural institutions that support teachers and students in a standards-based arts curriculum
  • Addressing multiple intelligences, creative thinking, and cultural diversity

Visual & Performing Arts Programs

Artistically Gifted & Talented. Students who participate in the district’s annual screening process and are successfully identified as artistically gifted and talented in dance, drama, music, and visual arts according to the South Carolina Department of Education regulations are eligible to participate in arts opportunities coordinated by individual schools and district-sponsored arts festivals.  BCSD annually sponsors All County Orchestra, All County Band, Dance Festival, Band Concert Festival and Elementary Drama Festival.  High schools offer Honors, AP and IB arts classes for advanced study of the fine arts.

Sea Island School for Arts & Academics (SISA). Provides two weeks of advanced-level, innovative learning in the arts. These out-of-the-ordinary summertime courses, taught by master teachers and professional artists, may range from music composition and architecture to Shakespeare, modern dance, musical theater and textile art.  The SISA location rotates among BCSD high schools.  Class size is small to ensure individualized instruction. Participation is limited to currently enrolled BCSD students in grades four through nine who have been identified by SCDE regulations as either artistically or academically gifted.

Arts in Basic Curriculum (ABC). Hilton Head Island School for Creative Arts, Lady’s Island Elementary, Lady’s Island Middle , H E McCracken Middle. Mossy Oaks Elementary and Beaufort Middle are designated Arts Integration schools of choice. These schools offer comprehensive arts education that connects the fine arts - dance, theater, music and visual arts - to core academics.

Artists in Residence. Contracted professional artists, authors, actors, musicians and dancers work directly with students and teachers on specific projects, ranging in length from a single performance and follow-up workshop to an in-depth, ongoing study. Residencies are funded by Beaufort County School District and through Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and Island School Council for the Arts grants.

River of Words. A district-sponsored arts integration program, River of Words places environmental science at the core with poetry and art as visible outcomes of student learning. Because much of our identity is tied to place, it is important that Lowcountry youth are knowledgeable about the uniqueness of the Port Royal Sound as they develop their own “sense of place.” To this end, teachers voluntarily participate in the national, multidisciplined River of Words program and over the course of three years have designed innumerable place-based, experiential curricula that engage students in explorations and interpretations of the local environment. River of Words begins in the September with investigations of nearby watersheds and culminates with an art exhibition and student publication in April.

Community Arts and Cultural Institutions. The involvement and generosity of numerous community arts and cultural institutions add tremendous support to teachers and students. Our 20 plus years Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program with the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina and the Arts Council of Beaufort County provides professional development for fine arts faculty, grant writing assistance, school outreach programs, art exhibitions, artists in residence and special performances. Other community partners include Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra and Fripp Island Friends of Music that donate school concerts. Hilton Head Dance Theatre offers an annual school show designed specifically for our youngest students in PreK through second grades. USCB sponsors a juried art show and scholarship program for BCSD seniors and Island School Council funds artist residencies in southern Beaufort County. Additional opportunities -- youth orchestras, dance lessons, art classes, children’s theaters and choirs -- are available to Beaufort County youth through private and non-profit community arts organizations.

Artistically Gifted and Talented. The BCSD offers unique opportunities for creative expression and artistic growth to artistically gifted and talented third- through eighth-grade students. Those who participate in the screening process and are successfully identified as gifted and talented in dance, theater, music, and visual arts according to the South Carolina Department of Education regulations are eligible to participate in extra arts opportunities offered by individual schools.

Helpful Links
SC Visual and Performing Arts Academic Standards
SC Visual and Performing Arts Curriculum Support Documents
Palmetto State Arts Education (formerly the South Carolina Alliance for Arts Education)
Kennedy Center Partners in Education