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Artquest: California's Premiere Public Performing Arts High School

Updated on October 14, 2012
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ballet and dance
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While there are many performing arts colleges to attend after high school, there are far fewer of them for high school students. One of California's most renowned is in Santa Rosa, Calif., called Artquest. It began in 1994 and ever since has become THE high school for gifted and near-gifted students in digital arts, photography, video arts, visual fine arts, dance, drama, vocal music and instrumental music. Students from all over the area and beyond seek entrance. The school itself has 500 students and is located adjacent to Santa Rosa High, both facilities share many of the same buildings. The total student population for both combined is near 2000 students.

Students seeking entrance must have a portfolio of their talent to present to instructors in a professional manner. Those whose focus is vocal or instrumental music audition. Unlike many performing arts schools, this is public, meaning there are no costs per se, it IS a public high school with a focus on gifted students where they can pursue and improve on their talents while also prepping for college with AP classes etc. Most of the class blocks in the program for a specialty is two hours, where they focus on their interest.

Artquest is in addition to the regular high school curriculum that non-Artquest students have. The difference is that the Artquest student spends much more time developing their talent than those not in the program.

Students with talent in dance or drama, learn the techniques that many famous celebrities learned hone on their craft, vocalists develop their skills in the choir and progress through various levels while those who play instruments develop skills in the band and small ensembles. Students who love video and film learn everything about the craft and then apply them to projects or short films. The same can be said of those into creating software games or animation. Those that are Van Gogh wannabes sharpen their talent numerous skill improving classes.

This is in addition to AP college classes, or core courses. Artquest students tend to be more like a family within their specialty because many will frequently be in the same learning class, whether it is a core class or not.


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    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      We have a school of the arts here for gifted students. They are selected based upon nominations and proven talent. Nice write up on Artquest and sounds like it provides a great need for talented youth.


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