Stage, Studio, Shop, and Beyond

As a college preparatory school, we believe that the arts, as they are both experienced and practiced, are irreplaceable instruments of knowledge. Our Visual and Performing arts curriculum is grounded in our core values of interdisciplinary inquiry, personal growth, and creative exploration.

In each arts course, students have opportunities to develop new skills in a supportive environment, as well as to collaborate, to critique, and to learn to utilize feedback from others. We approach each discipline with a balance of historical, theoretical, and practical instruction as well as an emphasis on innovation and imagination. Our arts courses seek to establish a lifelong appreciation for the arts and to nurture critical competencies like empathy, prototyping and experimentation, and ensemble cooperation.

With courses in Visual Art, Theater, Vocal and Instrumental Music, and Visual Thinking, as well as a thriving performance program, arts education at Sonoma Academy is an integral part of our academic program and our school culture.

List of 4 news stories.

  • The Pet Rock Project

    It may look like an ordinary rock, but this rock is a pet rock. It possesses unique qualities that the casual observer may miss, a personality all its own. To reveal its singularity, it needs the perfect habitat...a custom-designed home/showcase, created collaboratively and thoughtfully constructed. 

    “The Pet Rock Project” has been a staple of Eric Moes’s Visual Thinking and Fabrication class for several years. Based on the notion that the design process is a conversation between designer/builder and client, the project requires students to manifest another person’s vision while using the materials and tools available to them. 

    To kick off the project, Eric sends out a call for staffulty “clients,” who can either bring in a small rock or choose from a stack of pre-selected “pets.” After spending a little time with their rocks, each client is paired up with a student who is tasked with creating an environment specially made for their new “pet.” 

    A collaborative and multi-modal project, the process of creating the rock habitat starts with an interview between designer and client so that the client can express what kind of home would be best for their rock’s individual needs. Some clients choose to see their rocks as small, inanimate totems of themselves; others see the rocks as beings with distinct personalities, likes and dislikes, and creature-comfort needs.  

    The designers take the results of their initial interviews and come up with a sketch, bringing it back to the client for more feedback and direction before they begin the process of creating a prototype. The first prototype is built using cardboard and is meant to be simple and temporary, a test drive for the shapes and features dreamed up by the client. 

    Finally, the designers construct their rock homes (generally using foam core to build the habitats). The finished products are revealed to the clients in a critique session with the whole class. The designers recap their understanding of their clients’ visions, and the clients are then invited to provide feedback. This is an important final step in the process, as the clients review what worked, what didn’t, and what surprised them. 

    When you’re on campus, keep an eye out for these pet rock environments in classrooms and offices. The clients get to keep the finished rock homes so their pet rocks will always have a comfy place to rest.  
  • Foundation Arts

    The philosophy behind Foundation Arts is simple: everyone should be exposed to the arts, and everyone can find a way to be an artist. “We want to foster a lifelong relationship with the arts, an appreciation for art that will last well beyond high school,” says Arts Department Chair and founding teacher Hillary Younglove. “When the school was founded, we knew that we wanted to build the arts into our graduation requirements, to demonstrate our commitment to the value of art in all of our lives.” Each Sonoma Academy student graduates having taken at least one semester of Foundation Arts in Music, Theater, Visual Art, or Visual Thinking and Fabrication. These courses are more than just introductory surveys; they are invitations to join the artistic community at our school and opportunities to explore the broad range of creative endeavors available to them at SA. 
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  • Reimagining Music Education

    All of our teachers are reexamining and reinventing their pedagogy during this time of distance learning, but perhaps no one is having to shake things up as much as our music teachers, Amanda McFadden and Daniel Reiter. The shift to Zoom has necessitated radical changes to the way they design and teach their courses, and some of those changes will be carried through from the Zoom room to the classroom. 
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  • Reinventing Theater

    Like theaters all over the country, the Fitzsimmons Black Box Theater has remained dark since March. But the Sonoma Academy theater scene is still vibrant, propelled through the challenges presented by the pandemic by the creativity and passion of our Director of Theater Jen Coté. 
    Read More
2500 Farmers Lane 
Santa Rosa, CA 95404 
(707) 545-1770

Sonoma Academy Is...

...the only private, independent, college preparatory high school in Sonoma County. On our beautiful campus nestled at the base of Taylor Mountain in Southeastern Santa Rosa, our students are able to explore their interests and passions in a rigorous and inspiring environment that develops a lifelong love of learning and prepares them for college and beyond.

Sonoma Academy admits students of any race, color, religion, ethnicity or national origin, citizenship, gender or gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, or disability, to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. The school does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity or national origin, citizenship, gender or gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and tuition assistance programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.