Students of SUIS Gubei campus pose after their artworks show.

MARCH 16 saw the culmination of nearly two years’ work for the final year of Grade 12 Visual Arts IB Diploma students at Shanghai United International School’s Gubei campus. A chance to showcase their talents on canvas within a professional gallery setting to an invited gathering of friends, families and teachers whilst gaining vital curatorial and presentation skills essential for thriving in this competitive field.

The students’ work was complimented by the IB Diploma Music students who performed original compositions for the expectant audience which added an authentic flavor to the evening.

This evening highlighted the strong emphasis that SUIS Hongqiao-Gubei places on “The Arts” within a balanced and rigorous international curriculum. From Grade 6 through IGCSE and on to IB Diploma level, students are invited to experiment using a variety of media whilst being encouraged to analyze and think critically about art and how it will benefit them in their everyday lives.

Students of all age groups are given the opportunity to display their work at exciting school events throughout the year, from the annual “Arts Soirée” in November, the annual school musical in December, the Shakespeare Festival in April as well as Parents’ Evenings and Open Days. For these events, regardless of age the students take the initiative, deciding how they will curate their show, where and how their designs would be best displayed and how they wished visitors to interact with and admire their artwork.

On a musical front, for most within the school community the twice yearly “Battle of The Bands” is a fitting end to the school calendar in December and June whereby student bands pit their talents against each other in front of a demanding school audience.

Aside from the traditional school orchestra, we can boast a successful jazz band which has supported both school and city-wide events. This year sees the debut performance of our Chinese Ensemble featuring traditional Chinese instruments such as the erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument) and guzheng (a plucked instrument).

The school has invested heavily in upgrading the infrastructure in the music department so that we can now boast a state-of-the-art recording studio featuring industry-standard audio production facilities. The strength of the orchestral and peripatetic music program at the school has led to a large uptake of the subject at GCSE and IB DP level. With nearly 60 students opting for elective music in the upper years, our program has a firm foundation which allows students a route from beginner level to studying at a music conservatory upon graduation from high school.

Equally successful is our visual arts program with over 100 students studying at either IGCSE or IB DP level with nearly a third accepted on highly-competitive Art and Graphic Design courses at leading universities both in the UK and US. Riding on the back of this success, the school will introduce Film at IB DP level from August this year which will be based in our newly commissioned drama and film studio.

Our whole school Arts program encompasses music, visual arts, drama and film.

We are currently in the process of developing a fully cross-curricular arts program for Grades 6-8 that will be portfolio based.

This will also be unveiled in our Hongqiao campus primary school so that new entrants to the Gubei secondary campus will already have had a taste of the exciting opportunities in the creative arts heading their way. As a secondary school providing a rounded holistic education, at our core we seek to provide our creative arts students with genuine opportunities to gain performing and curatorial experience underpinned by strong mentorship from dedicated teaching professionals.