Why choose Arts at the U?

Here at the University School of Jackson, we pride ourselves in offering a diverse education for your child. A significant part of that diversity is the incredible Arts Department here at the lower, middle and upper school. We give your child a variety of artistic avenues to pursue, and enhance those skills throughout their time at USJ.

The arts, whether it be theater, visual arts, or music, is key to a solid foundation. Studies have shown that students exposed to the arts possess improved literacy and math skills, leadership qualities, proficiency in problem-solving, critical thinking, communication skills and so much more. Why wouldn’t you want your child to excel in school and beyond? In fact, employers are encouraged and more likely to hire an employee with an artistic background than one without.

We realize there are many options for students today. From private tutors to camps, but here at USJ we offer the best and most thorough artistic education for your child. We are confident in our teachers and their passion to educate your child and develop their talents. We have the facilities and capabilities to challenge your child to go above and beyond what they thought possible.

Come and see why you should choose Arts at the U. From a young age of two, USJ introduces music and art into the schedule. As the students develop so will their curriculum introducing them to a broader expanse of the arts. We offer anything from jazz band to musical theater to drama to visual arts. Our teachers are passionate and well versed to provide your child with a creative and nurturing environment to help better their future.


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Lower School

Our extensive fine arts program starts in the Lower School where students begin art and music lessons. Art classes start with Jr. Cubs. Each grade, starting with Jr. Kindergarten, stages an annual musical production. The new cafetorium in the Lower School, with its stage and auditorium seating, is a perfect setting for Lower School productions. Read more about lower school productions...

Middle School Productions

The Middle School performs two musicals each school year.

Upper School Productions

Upper School students present several productions each year.

Honor Choirs

A large number of Middle and Upper School students are selected for honor choirs each year.

Band Program

Our growing band program includes several performing groups, and students often perform at community events. Our students earn seats in the All-West Band, Jazz, and Orchestra competitions and are selected for All-State. Several students play in the Jackson Youth Symphony.

Art Awards

USJ is well represented in local, regional, and even national art competitions.

Advanced Placement Classes

USJ is one of only a few West Tennessee schools that offers AP Music Theory and AP Studio Art. Many of our students go on to attend college on fine arts scholarships or receive college credit because of their AP scores.

Master Teachers

USJ’s art teachers – Darlene Tanner for Grades PreK-1; Kay Thomson for Grades 2-5; Anna McPeake, Middle School; and Libby Lynch, Upper School – have master’s degrees in art and/or education. Thomson was named Outstanding Elementary Art Teacher for 2007 from the Tennessee Art Education Association.


Why are the arts important?

According to the Tennessee Art Education Association, the arts are a mark of excellence in American schooling.

  • Studying the arts helps students achieve in the arts and in other academic disciplines.
  • The arts teach us to understand our visual culture.
  • Arts education is important to America's ability to compete internationally.
  • The arts are a significant part of the United States economy... 6 percent of the Gross National Product is based on the arts.
  • The arts encourage students to follow through and come up with engaging solutions to problems.
  • Arts activities bring parents into schools.
  • The arts build business and community connections.
  • The arts teach us about human nature and cultures.
  • The arts are one of the main ways that humans define who they are.