The Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts Department strives to provide a myriad of experiences and a comprehensive arts program for students in preschool through Grade 12 to initiate and build skills important in a solid education. Drama, dance, music-both vocal and instrumental-visual arts, literary arts, forensic, and film courses enable students to reach their full potential and encourage them to experiment with and develop creativity.

In music, our performing groups accomplish remarkable feats that annually places them among the finest programs in the state. The department of theatre and dance participate in experiences that are often found at the college level. The visual arts program produces outstanding young artists, some of whom have works exhibited on the national level.

Over the past decade, the students in our arts programs at Detroit Country Day School have flourished under the guidance of our visionary arts faculty. Our faculty's enthusiasm to share their passion for the arts is truly infectious and inspiring for our students.

Conservatory Designations

Class of 2019

Number of seniors receiving an arts conservatory designation.

Theatrical Performances

Student musicals and plays

Our students perform in a state-of-the-art auditorium.

Arts Faculty

Designated faculty

The current number of full-time faculty members who are part of the Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts Department.

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There are so many careers that draw from skills you learn by being involved in the arts, both directly and indirectly. I look forward to continuing to build upon this for the careers of the future.
~ Jim Davis, Executive Director of Visual, Performing, and Communication Arts

Sample Arts Courses

Communication Arts

Communications Arts

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Students can explore and challenge themselves in areas such as filmmaking, forensics, and debate.


Students have the opportunity to learn how to analytically approach the subject of communication through constructive argument. The class will focus on developing skills in persuasion, persuasive language use, argument structure/presentation, critical analysis of argument and audience, research, logical thought and fallacies of reasoning.
For students wanting to use their skills in a competitive setting, many will participate on the Debate Team.

Digital Communications

The goal of coursework in this area is to train students in practical methods for development and delivery of the informative and persuasive public speech, including theoretical bases for speech development, composition and delivery.


From film theory to production and advanced filmmaking techniques, students are presented with unique opportunities to build skills in emerging discipline that will prepare them for a future behind the camera.
Coursework in filmmaking starts with two sequential foundational courses and then moves into a full year studio production course. Students in the production course will be required to create art films, narratives, news broadcasts and much more.


Students in this course learn skills necessary to express ideas through public speaking and literary performances. Also covered are skills on informative and persuasive speaking in both composition and delivery of presentations and oral interpretation of literature.
For students wanting to use their skills in a competitive setting, many will participate in the Forensics Club.

Performing Arts

Performing Arts

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Multiple levels of courses in music (vocal, instrumental, theory and composition), theatre, and dance are offered.


Formalized dance instruction begins in the Middle School for those students wishing to explore artistic expression through dance. Classes start as a rotator that allows dancers of all levels to enjoy a creative and holistic approach to dance in a non-intimidating setting. For the more advanced students a year-long ensemble is available through audition. In the Upper School dance classes are semester long courses in either Foundational Movement, Performance Studies, and by audition a Repertory Ensemble.
Dance instruction for Lower School students interested in dance is offered for an additional cost as an after-school program run onsite through Eisenhower Dance Detroit.

Instrumental Music

There are many opportunities for students to learn to play an instrument and perform in various settings.
All instrumentalists will perform at least two concerts in our professional venue, The Seligman Performing Arts Center and at our annual arts event in the spring, Celebrate the Arts. Middle and Upper School students participate in the Michigan School and Orchestra festivals.
Examples of classes and ensembles:
  • Concert Band
  • Concert Orchestra
  • Jazz Band
  • Honors Symphonic Orchestra (audition required)
  • Quartet
  • Middle School audition groups: Symphony Band, Wind Ensemble, String Orchestra, and Chamber Ensemble.


Theatre participants are exposed to instruction and experiences that are more often found at the college level. Students learn the craft of acting with vocal development and stage movement exercises, and move on to more challenging materials for monologue and scene work. For those interested in theatre production, there are roles for students in stage design, stage crew, lighting, sound, and spotlight operators, and other stage management roles. Young actors have the opportunity to be a part of a range of dramatic and musical productions through the school year. 
Classes offered in theatre include but are not limited to performance studies in Performance Foundations (Theatre I) and Performance Studies (Theatre II), and Studio Theatre Ensemble, and production studies in Stagecraft (Theatre Production I) and Theatrical Design (Theatre Production II), and Technical Theatre Studio.

Vocal Music

Vocal music skills are taught very early on and then formalized in a focused setting starting in Grade 4. The Middle School offers gender specific choirs for Grades 7 and 8. The Upper School students have the opportunity to participate in a complete Concert Choir. All Middle and Upper School choirs participate in the Michigan School Vocal Music Association festivals.
Both the Middle and Upper School students have the opportunity to audition for smaller vocal ensembles: Choral Aires in the Middle School and Bella Voce in the Upper School. These groups may perform and compete in additional venues from the main school choirs.

Visual Arts

Visual Arts

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Courses are available in painting, drawing, jewelry, metals, ceramics, photography, and computer graphics.

Drawing, Painting, & Design

From foundational to introductory to advanced classes in drawing and painting, students have the opportunity to explore various mediums and exercises to strengthen their artistic ability, curiosity, and problem solving skills. 

More advanced students can then build on their creative skills and expand their art acumen by taking classes in Fashion Research and Design, and Fibers and Textiles.


In the ceramics studio, students are introduced from the process of construction through the completion of finished pieces. They can then moved to an advanced class where techniques on hand-building and the wheel are further developed.  

Students can then move into classes focused on the study and methods of sculpture. These classes emphasize aesthetics and learning about materials to produce sculptures safely with hand and power tools.  

Jewelry & Metals

Students are introduced to basic metal working techniques utilized in the fabrication of jewelry. Students learn the unique design challenges inherent to jewelry when trying to strike a balance between form, function and imagery.

Classes beyond the introduction level adds lessons on the processes of Lost Wax Casting, Carbon Casting, 3-D printing and CAD.


Students are introduced to classic photography techniques of a darkroom, and move to modern day digital and technology techniques associated with today's artistic photography. 

Besides specific introductory and advanced classes in photography, courses in Computer Graphics and Digital Photography, and Mixed Media Exploration are offered to students with a solid foundation in photography. 


Conservatory Program

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Friends of the Arts

Friends of the Arts

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Arts Facilities

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