Arts and Culture Guiding Principles

Guiding principles for UWC-USA arts and culture programming

At UWC-USA, our diverse community requires us to engage different cultures and to challenge traditionally accepted artistic expression. We also acknowledge the ways in which dominant cultures influence the development and reception of traditional art forms. We work to honor the many facets of human expression, to value diversity in the arts as well as in the people creating the art, to recognize the many ways in which the arts supports social and environmental justice, and to encourage civic engagement and community-building through artistic participation and collaboration.

Student leadership and peer teaching is important to the learning process. Teachers and students work together as co-creators of our curriculum, and many of our projects are entirely student-conceived and student-directed. This collaboration and participation encourages challenge and risk-taking for students and the school – and even the UWC movement. Our programs are designed to be inclusive and accessible to everyone, with instruction to support students at various stages of artistic practice.

The process of doing art creates opportunities for personal growth, revelation, and transformation. This concept supports the experiential education goals central to the UWC-USA experience. Working toward a performance requires a commitment to saying “I have done enough.” But we always recognize that there is more to learn, more to experience, and more to unravel. We encourage this process of discovery and cultivation of values through ongoing personal and group reflection.

As we explore what it means to express ourselves and our ideas, we find ourselves imagining new possibilities for the future and confronting complex responsibilities. These responsibilities include transforming imaginative capacity into concrete action. The arts are uniquely positioned to change how we think and to support us as we challenge social expectations. By intentionally broadening our understanding of creativity, celebrating our uniqueness, and performing together in ways that encourage empathy and compassion, we begin to experience the world as it could be.