The Arts in Andover

Spring Newsletter

From the Andover Arts Department

Recent events in our community and world have had us as a department reflecting on the role of the arts. The artwork displayed in this newsletter, unless otherwise noted, comes from Ms. Zawil's Foundations of Art class. This work was created in response to recent events. Students explored issues of race, racial identity, and social justice. Students learned about typography and as well as the work of Kara Walker as they tackled these themes and issues.

The author Toni Morrison reminds us that, “Art invites us to take the journey beyond price, beyond costs, into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be. Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it from even the most tragic of circumstances. Art reminds us that we belong here.”

We know the arts can positively impact our communities, our country, and our world. We want our students to feel empowered within the art classroom, to know that together we can promote change for the better. We are always here for a conversation, to listen to our students' voices, to celebrate individual identities and expressions.

To all our students - particularly our students of color, we are with you. We hope you will accept our support through moments of pain and confusion. We stand as imperfect practitioners of anti-racism, determined to learn and grow each day. We condemn racism in all its forms.

We as an Andover Visual and Performing Arts Department recognize our responsibility as teachers and artists to help shape a more inclusive, more whole, and more just reality for you. You are our students and we stand by you, in acknowledgment of race, religion, creed, sexual orientation, economic background, ability, and gender identity or expression.

Let us make art to shape a more hopeful world. #BlackLivesMatter

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Happy Pride! Boston Gay Men's Chorus Performed at Wood Hill this Past March with MS A Capella Students

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Make Something Beautiful: K-5 Elementary Art Show

Make Something Beautiful APS Elementary School

Our Work This Year...

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Work

  • Art Teachers K-12 attended sessions at RAW Art Works in Lynn to examine SEL learning and artwork. We met with staff members to discuss their art framework in connection to identity formation and the success of their program with young men of color.
  • The Band, Orchestra, and Choir teachers engaged in discussion of performing arts data to increase enrollment and engagement; we have developed an action plan to continue this work
  • 6-12 Performing and Visual Arts teachers visit Boston Arts Academy, an elite performing school in Dorchester, to examine structures and instruction
  • The AHS Art teachers formed a Professional Learning Group to build a repository of resources to expand diverse representation of artists in the curriculum
  • Boston Gay Men's Chorus performed at Wood Hill Middle School alongside our MS A Cappella students
  • AHS Chamber Choir performed at MLK Day at First Baptist Church in Andover, MA
  • Elementary Music teachers worked with Boston Children's Choir on thematic programming and to connect with our districtwide initiative of One Community, One Nation

Andover Public Schools: Middle School Art Show

APS Middle School Art Show
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AHS Drama Guild Presented Epic Proportions

On February 28th at Andover High School, the AHS Drama Guild hosted the preliminary round of Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild Drama Festival. Competing against eight schools, the cast and crew of the Epic Proportions advanced to the semi-final round. At the preliminary round, Andover was honored with several awards:

Spencer Daniel- Excellence in Acting

Jorge Allen- Excellence in Acting

Zoe Saum- Excellence in Acting

Darby Hackett- Technical Excellence in Stage Management

Gray DiNino and Sarah Oltman- Technical Excellence in Set Design

Katie Budinger, Naomi Call and Chloe Hanrahan- Excellence in Costume/Prop Design

Please check out the website for more links and information:

AHS Show Choir Hosts Virtual Alumni Cabaret

2020 AVM Spring Showcase / Alumni Cabaret

AHS Art Teacher Receives Andover Cultural Council Grant for The Memory Project

AHS Teacher, Ms. Kaitlin Dierze, received a grant from the Andover Cultural Council to support her work with her Advanced Drawing and Painting students. Before and during the closure, Advanced Drawing and Painting students participated in the Memory Project which is a nonprofit that invites high school students to create portraits as special gifts to children all around the world. we have children from Syria. From our Virtual Art website, "As we know, the Syrian conflict has been called one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. These kids have been displaced due to the brutal civil war and are growing up in refugee camps. This portrait we are gifting them is one of the very few physical belongings they have. We are showing them we care and they are not forgotten."

Honoring Linda O'Donnell Beals

This past February, Linda O'Donnell Beals retired after over 20 years of teaching South Elementary School. Linda was a consummate professional and musician and inspired generations of young performers. As Andover teacher Norma Villarreal reflected on their friendship and her work: Andover was lucky to have such a maestro of music in our midst.​ Indeed, Andover children were most fortunate to have a music teacher who was an illustrious professor of fellow music teachers. For so many South School families, Linda was our children's introduction to both vocal and instrumental music. For more than two decades, she has directly contributed to maintaining robust music programs in Andover public schools.

Linda reflected on her time with the following words: The day after a South School grade level musical performance, first grade students were asked to reflect on the quality of their presentation. What went well? What could have been better? How did the performance make them feel? Many of the student comments were generic. “It was great!”, “We were fantastic!”, “The best song was A Sailor Went to Sea.” Finally, one girl said, “When we were on the stage I was really scared. Then we sang and the audience clapped. It made me feel so good inside.” As she spoke she put her hands on her chest. What had begun as a post concert review had just become a profound observation, and a reminder of why we teach music. Regardless of the age of the student, music has the power to touch a child’s soul.

Several years ago, at an Orff Shulwerk national conference, I was fortunate enough to hear the Toronto Children’s Chorus. At the conclusion of the concert, Jean Ashworth Bartle, Music Director, addressed the music educators in the audience, telling us that in conducting and teaching, “We serve a great art.” I have never forgotten her words. The students we teach deserve a fully authentic experience, whether they are playing Beethoven, or chanting a rhyme from Mother Goose. Arts educators must remember that not only do we give students an opportunity to express themselves, but also encourage an honest emotional reaction to the power of music. "

We will miss Linda and wish her the best in her retirement.

Registration for Strings and Instrumental Music COMING SOON!

The Andover Public Schools Fine Arts Department is pleased to announce the continuation of the Beginning Strings program, which will be available to all third-grade students in the fall of 2020. Students who are interested in participating will have the opportunity to learn to play the violin, viola, cello, or bass. Music promotes a well-balanced curriculum and encourages a lifelong relationship with the arts, and we hope that you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity.

Next year as a part of the third-grade curriculum, students may choose to participate in a beginning string class. More information will be forthcoming. Instructional days and times will be determined and are subject to change due to the potential of remote learning. For more information, please check your email or contact Sean Walsh -

In addition, we welcome entering 4th-grade students and all students to be part of their elementary school's band, and start a journey that can last a whole life! Instructional days and times will be determined and are subject to change due to the potential of remote learning. In each school, there is a band class in which we gather together, learn the basics of music and of one's chosen instrument, and become a musical ensemble.

The band experience can continue all the way through middle and high school, with lots of support and opportunities, such as a concert, jazz, and marching bands. For more information, please click here

Andover High School Virtual Art Show

The Andover High School Visual and Performing Arts Department welcomes you to their virtual celebration of the arts. On the google site below, you will find examples of student artwork from the time of closure and remote learning as well as some work from earlier in the year. These student-artists have shown creativity and resiliency and have let their voices and talents rise up.

The website is organized by course. I encourage you to check-out the work of our Portfolio I-II students; this group of mostly seniors has spent their year building their artist portfolios and stretching their abilities and talents.

You will also find images, photos, and videos/sound files of some of our performing arts groups and the work of our theater courses as well as a list of accomplishments.

Google Site:

Andover High Students Win State-Wide Awards

For a full list of student awards, please visit this website:

AHS Jazz Band performs "The Chicken" - Thanks to Mr. Buckridge!