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The Arts

Portland Public Schools has a rich Visual and Performing Arts program, educating and exposing students from PreK-12 to multiple options and activities from visual arts to music to drama performances to new and exciting, technology leveraged options to enrich experiences and explore new possibilities. Research has shown the importance of Art in Education, and Portland Public Schools is proud to offer multiple opportunities to engage students in the Arts.

For more information about a specific program, check out the links to their websites to the right and consider following along with the linked social media where updates are posted frequently with student highlights and what's happening in class.

Elementary Art and Music

All students at Oakwood and Westwood participate in Elementary Art and Music. Throughout these programs at the Elementary level, students are encouraged to explore their creativity while learning an awareness of and appreciation for the arts. Various media, techniques, and skills are introduced to students to encourage their exploration of the Arts.

Drawing of fish and dolphin

Middle School

A collage of middle school artwork


Visual Art is offered as a semester long elective at each grade level where students not only create artwork in multiple different media and techniques, but also learn to appreciate and critique art, explore technology applications, and learn about the history of art. Students at each level curate their own digital portfolio of their learning and their art.


Music options are available at each grade level in multiple formats to follow their passion whether that is instrumental, choral, or general music. Band students develop and refine their skills over three years from beginning with their instrument to intermediate solo and ensemble performances. Choir students have many opportunities to sing for personal enjoyment as well as performances. A general Music Education course is also available for students to explore aspects of Music History, Theory, Composition, and more.

High School Fine Art

Mrs. Gorzen’s Mission of Teaching is to inspire and motivate students by sharing with them the care she has for them, the passions she has for art, and modeling what it is to be a lifelong learner. Students will find new possibilities, overcome struggles, grow, and find inspiration within art which they will connect into their everyday lives.

The High School includes many visual art options to meet various student interests. Courses are reflective of different Art media, from traditional subjects like Drawing, Painting, and Ceramics/Sculpture to technology-infused with Digital Photography,  and Graphic Design to unique specialized courses with Fibers, and Advanced Art. Students have the opportunity to learn and grow in a multitude of challenges throughout the different courses!

High school students working on art projects

High School Performing Arts - Music & Dance

The high school band on a concert stage

It's not just the Marching Band at PHS. Students have a number of opportunities to explore Performing Arts and Music. In addition to Marching Band, students are involved in Concert and Jazz Bands while Audio Production was added to our offerings as well for students to experience a different side of music. Choir rounds out the music department where students hold numerous performances throughout the year with a strong tie to the community.

Dance is another recently added elective based on student interest and the desire for Portland Public Schools to engage students in exploring  their creativity through as many options as possible.

High School Performing Arts - Drama & Theater

Students involved in the theater program learn aspects of acting, directing, and theatrical design.  They also get the opportunity to be trained in light and sound board operation, as well as designing lights and sound for the annual Drama Club production.  

Drama Club, separate from the student technicians and academic theater offerings, produces the annual spring musical, involving students not only in the on-stage aspects of a show, but also in costume and set production, hair and makeup, and publicity.  The Drama Club also takes part in theater workshops, often led by industry professionals or college professors. 

The cast and crew of a show on a theatre stage


Program Websites

Social Media


The PPS Fine Arts Department uses Michigan Arts Education Instruction & Assessment resources to implement high-quality programming to center on the "positive experiences of students, teachers, and school communities within the processes of teaching, learning, evaluation, and continuous improvement planning."