Art in its various forms has been a part of our school since its inception. Frederick Gunn wove music into the early fabric of the school and organized plays for his students and town residents, which led to the establishment of Washington’s amateur theatre group, the Dramalites. This commitment to making art part of the everyday experience for students, and finding ways to connect the school with the community through art, is renewed today with the opening of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. This beautiful new building supports The Frederick Gunn School’s Vision for Arts and Community and the continued growth of the school’s visual arts, music, theatre and dance programs. In addition to providing a place for students to develop and showcase their artistic abilities, the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center is creating opportunities to expand on new and existing partnerships between the school, local arts organizations, and the community.
At The Frederick Gunn School, we ask students to learn to take public risks, to be makers not consumers, to be citizens who imagine a beautiful future without cynicism, to face failure with hope.
Vision for Arts and Community at FGS
Our Vision for Arts and Community at The Frederick Gunn School outlines four elements – Creation, Risk, Connection and Wonder – that are essential to each student’s experience in the arts.
At The Frederick Gunn School, we invite our students to be creators and makers. Whether in the visual or performing arts, students are asked to leave their mark on the world, to challenge someone to see the world in a new way, to express their perfectly unique point of view.
The arts also break down barriers for those who are nervous about trying new things, as well as those who want to actively engage in the arts for the rest of their lives. “I know of so many students for whom the arts had a real transformative impact during their time here and who are grateful for all the great work that goes into allowing students to have that experience,” Head of School Peter Becker said.
All students are required to take the equivalent of one credit in art. This can be accomplished through three single-term courses or one full-year course in our music or visual arts programs. While the requirement is one credit, our students are encouraged, and often do take more than the required classes. The goal is for every student to recognize and appreciate the valuable role that art plays in our lives. “It is unique in its ability to draw forth parts of who we are as humans that other pursuits cannot. Art enables us to see, to hear, to listen, to feel, and ultimately to think in ways we would not without it,” Becker said.
The Frederick Gunn School Music Program will present its annual spring concert, Swing Into Spring! featuring students in String Ensemble, Vocal Ensemble, and Jazz Band under the direction of Ron Castonguay, Director of the Arts and Music Director. Family, friends and the community are invited to attend the performance on Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. only in the Tisch Family Auditorium of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. Admission is free with general admission seating. All guests are required to adhere to the school’s Visitor Policy.
On April 23, The Frederick Gunn School community gathered to officially celebrate the opening of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. It was an exciting and historic day for the school, notable in that it allowed students, faculty, administrators, Trustees and alumni to honor and thank in person lead donors, including Trustee Emeritus Jonathan Tisch ’72 and Thomas Perakos ’69, and all who helped to make this remarkable, 32,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art building possible.
The Frederick Gunn School Faculty will present a staged reading of Love, Loss, and What I Wore, written by Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron and directed by Gunn faculty member Sarah Rose Archer. The performance will be held on Saturday, May 14, at 7 p.m. in the Tisch Family Auditorium. Students, faculty, staff and the community are welcome to attend. Admission is free with general admission seating. All theatre patrons are asked to comply with the school’s current Visitor Policy.
The Washington Art Association's Second Annual High School Emerging Artists Expo features original work by several Frederick Gunn School students. This juried art show is open to all high school student-artists in the area who design and create original work. The exhibition, which will remain on view through April 24, features over 80 pieces in the mediums of painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, mixed media and digital art, WAA said.
The Frederick Gunn School Theatre Program will present The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, February 24-26 at 7 p.m. in the Tisch Family Auditorium of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. The February 24 and 25 shows are open to students and faculty only. Parents and the community are invited to attend one night only on February 26. Admission is free. No registration is required. In accordance with the school’s Visitor Policy, all theatre patrons are required to be fully vaccinated and will be required to wear a mask indoors.
The 2022 Connecticut Regional Scholastic Art Awards Exhibit opened Tuesday at the Donald and Linda Silpe Gallery at the University of Hartford, featuring an award-winning painting by Jenny Shen ’23. The juried student art exhibit, which runs through February 4, is part of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the nation’s longest-running, most prestigious recognition program for creative teens.
The Frederick Gunn School Music Program will present its annual holiday concert, “The Magic of Winter,” on Tuesday, December 14, 2021, at 7 p.m. in the Tisch Family Auditorium of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. The concert will feature performances by String Ensemble, Vocal Ensemble, Band and special guests.
The Frederick Gunn School welcomed the Yale Whiffenpoofs, America’s oldest collegiate a cappella group, for a special performance in the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center on December 7. Following the concert, students in Vocal Ensemble and String Ensemble were invited to join the Whiffenpoofs for a master class, and took a turn performing for the Whiffs one song from the school’s upcoming holiday concert.
On Sunday, ASAP! will host its 11th annual Celebration of Young Photographers in Washington Depot with an exhibit that includes six original photographs by five students from The Frederick Gunn School. Oliver Chen ’22, Winifred Ezenwata ’22, Anna Gleason ’23, Clari Leonard ’22 and Sarah Zhang ’24 were among the finalists selected this year by a panel of professional photographers through a blind judging process.