Fine Arts


fine arts at bishop ireton

At Bishop Ireton, students will learn to understand the purposes and uses of a range of arts forms – visual arts, media, dance, music, drama and literature, and how to make and share meaning from and through them. They will use with confidence and skill the codes and conventions of the art form best suited to their expressive needs. They will develop and demonstrate competency in the use of current technologies and mediums and an understanding of the ethical application of those technologies in all disciplines.

“We pray best before beauty. - St. Francis de Sales.  These words by our school’s patron saint, words that adorn the main entrance of the Garwood Whaley Auditorium, call to mind the mission, purpose, and philosophy of the Bishop Ireton Fine Arts Program:
  • Embrace the beauty and depth of the arts
  • Look, act, and sound like a Fine Arts Magnet School
  • Serve the community with exhibitions and performances
  • Advance Always

what we offer

At BI we have something for everyone, including four year course sequences in art, theater, and music.

Art Theater Music
Principles of Art Theater I, II, III, IV Wind Ensemble
Painting and Drawing Costume Design and Construction Concert Band
AP Studio Art:  2-D Design Introduction to Stage Crafts Choir
Honors Portfolio Preparation/Senior Studio Stage Crafts String Ensemble
AP Art History Honors Advanced Stage Crafts and Design Jazz Ensemble
Art Show Basic Lighting Guitar I, II, and Ensemble
Evening with the Arts Fall Show AP Music Theory
Spring Show Private Lessons
One Acts Concerts
Evening with the Arts International and Stateside Tours
Commissioned Composers
Evening with the Arts

why we offer it

The Fine Arts are good for our brains and our souls.
  • Art     “Sequential skill-building instruction in art improves performance in reading and math.” – Martin Gardiner, Alan Fox, Faith Knowles, and Donna Jeffrey, “Learning Improved by Arts Training,” Nature, May 23, 1996.
  • Theater    Theatre is a science. Theatre is mathematical. Theatre is a foreign language. Theatre is history. Theatre is physical education. Theatre is language arts. Theatre is business. Theatre is technology. Theatre is economics. Theatre is taught in schools, not because you are expected to major in theatre, not because you are expected to perform all through life, not so you can relax, not so you can have fun, BUT so you will recognize beauty, so you will be sensitive, so you will be closer to an infinite beyond this world, so you will have more love more compassion, more gentleness, more good, in short, more life. What value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live? That is why theatre is taught in our schools.” (
  • Music     “Students with coursework/experience in music performance scored 52 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 36 points higher on the math portion than students with no coursework or experience in the arts.” – Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, 1998.

how we offer it

  • Outstanding performances of quality shows and music repertoire.
  • Exceptional exhibitions.
  • International concert tours and pilgrimages.
  • Stateside tours.
  • Participation in Virginia Music Educators Association sponsored district, regional, and all-state activities for instrumental and choral students.
  • Chamber Music.
  • Commissioned Works.
  • Combined Concerts.
  • Guest Solo Artists.
  • Guest Conductors.
  • Adjunct Music Instructors.

facilities, accomplishments & reputation

The dedication of teachers, students, parents and the school community, as well a as the support of faculty and administration have enabled the Bishop Ireton Fine Arts to develop into a program of excellence.

  • Art: Since 1964, Bishop Ireton has been known for its brilliant artists and as a haven for helping students discover their potential.  As you walk around the campus, you will notice the walls are adorned with displays of art produced by students at every level of development in their craft.  Bishop Ireton offers a robust and Creative Artsprogram.
  • Theater: Bishop Ireton is well known for its Cappies-award-winning Theater Department.  BI was a charter member of the very first Cappies, a writing and awards program that trains high school theater and journalism students to be expert writers, critical thinkers, and leaders.   All students are welcome to apply to be a Cappies critics, and every student is always welcome to audition for any of the Bishop Ireton stage productions.  The Drama Club is also open to each student in the school who is interested in any aspect of Theater - Acting, Stage Crew, Costuming, Designing, or attending shows and drama workshops as a group.  BI Theater Arts is creative, dynamic, and all-inclusive.
  • Music: Last year our Symphonic Wind Ensemble and members of our Concert Choir played to a packed house in the Concert Hall of the Kennedy Center. Each year over Spring Break the Wind Ensemble has the honor of performing internationally.  Recent trips have taken the group to France, Spain and Italy.  Past performance venues for Bishop Ireton Chamber ensembles have included the White House, French Embassy, National Building Museum, Lee Fendall House, and the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium.
  • Facilities:  The acoustical excellence of Bishop Ireton’s Garwood Whaley Auditorium is widely recognized and highly acclaimed in Northern Virginia.  Acoustically designed practice rooms, chamber ensemble rehearsal rooms, and band room enhance rehearsals.  It is easy to roll instruments and equipment between the auditorium stage and the Band Room and practice rooms since no stairs are involved.  The scene shop is just across the hall from the stage.  Sound and lights are state of the art and, including two catwalks.