At the dedication of the Paul Mellon Arts Center, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and alumnus Edward Albee ’46 christened the spectacular I.M. Pei-designed facility “an auditorium of ideas.” Today, the description seems as apt as ever.
Philosophy and Curriculum — “The arts department,” says Director of the Arts, Kalya Yannatos, “embodies the belief that engagement in the arts is an essential part of a creatively inspired life. Every Choate student is encouraged to experiment and experience one or more art forms, taking risks and expanding their knowledge and perception of self in connection to the larger world.”
Individually-crafted schedules allow Arts Concentration students dedicated time to further develop in their chosen discipline with guidance from our faculty, while maintaining a strong academic program. Project-based learning, in-depth process and rehearsals culminate in exhibitions, recitals and productions.
In addition to working with our dedicated faculty, students have many opportunities to interact with professional artists in workshops and master classes and to see performances here and at theaters that include Yale Repertory, the Long Wharf Theatre and Wesleyan Center for the Arts. Our music students have the opportunity to take lessons with teachers from Yale, Wesleyan, and Hartt School of Music. Dancers learn from professional companies who perform on our main stage, rehearse in our studio as “company-in-residence” and teach master classes throughout the year. Visual art students interact with the guest artists exhibiting in the gallery, visit galleries and museums in the area, as well as an annual trip to museums in New York City.
The Paul Mellon Arts Center, designed by I. M. Pei, houses a 770-seat auditorium, art studios, a recital hall, a recording studio, classrooms, an experimental theater, art galleries, and much more.
In addition to student concerts, recitals and productions, the Arts Center produces an annual Guest Artist series, hosts the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra and has rotating exhibitions in the gallery. Adjacent buildings include ceramic and jewelry-making studios, photography and digital video labs, a dance studio and the Joan Harris Gelb Theater in the Chapel.
Creating Art & Building Community
The Arts Center supports a wide range of artistic opportunities, accessible to all within the School and its neighboring communities thanks to free to affordably modest admission fees. Since 1972, the Arts Center has served as a creative hub, presenting guest artist, faculty and student productions, concerts, exhibits and more.
Home to both the Choate Rosemary Hall Symphony Orchestra and the Wallingford Symphony Orchestra, great music can be heard all year long. The Arts Center also serves the surrounding community by providing educational opportunities in the arts for children in grades K-8 throughout the year through its Young Artists Series.