The arts program is a vital and integral component of a Fenn education. A sequential, broad-based curriculum, combined with extensive public performance and exhibition opportunities, all experienced within a single-sex learning environment, fosters a deep appreciation of many art forms and encourages confidence and creative risk-taking. All students take courses in drama, music, and the visual arts from grades four through seven. An elective program in the eighth and ninth grades allows boys to specialize in particular areas while also requiring boys to continue to have a broad-based arts experience. Fenn’s extensive arts curriculum emphasizes a hands-on approach, develops critical and analytical skills, builds confidence on stage and in public, and provides an awareness of western and non-western genres. Arts courses meet during the academic day and are considered part of the academic program. Boys receive written feedback in the Lower School, Sua Sponte grades in the Middle School, and academic letter grades in the Upper School, in keeping with the practice in other academic courses.
A robust co-curricular choral and instrumental music program and the Middle School play provide further opportunities for so-inclined boys to augment their musical and dramatic skills and experiences. On-site instrumental instruction, taught by a staff of professional tutors, is offered in all wind band and percussion instruments. Guitar lessons are also available. Fenn offers a thriving performance ensemble roster which includes the Treble Chorus boys’ choir, an a cappella vocal ensemble, First Year Band, Second Year Band, Concert Band, Marching Band, and the Jazz Ensemble. When there is sufficient interest, small ensembles such at String Ensemble, Chamber Music, Saxophone Ensemble, and Brass Ensemble are offered. The Middle School play is offered by audition to sixth and seventh grade students outside the regular academic day during the fall or winter term. Recent performances have included Get Smart and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Over the span of a six-year Fenn education, boys have opportunities for acting, playwriting, stagecraft, digital video production, choral music, composition, instrumental music, ceramics, woodshop, digital and traditional photography, sculpture, drawing, cartooning, dance, and painting. Fenn boys graduate with a comprehensive arts education that prepares them for secondary school programs and also gives them the tools to continue with their own individual pursuits in the theater, in the woodshop, in the painting or ceramics studio, behind the lens of a video or still camera, and in a choral or instrumental ensemble.