The New Mt. Vernon High School Fine Arts Academy

Mission Statement

The Fine Arts Academy at Mt. Vernon Senior High School believes a student’s education is enriched by experiences in the arts; because of their interdisciplinary nature, the arts influence all areas of academic study.

We believe an environment that acknowledges and empowers creative expression in its varied forms also fosters personal growth, maturity and responsibility. The Fine Arts Academy provides an artist-scholar environment that addresses a variety of learning styles.

We believe the arts provide an opportunity for lifelong learning and participants in the arts are among the best representatives of our school and community.

Academy Description

The Fine Arts Academy at Mt. Vernon Senior High School is comprised of award winning students and faculty in music, theatre and the visual arts. A commitment to academic excellence and a belief that through the arts, students find lifelong fulfillment is at the core of our teaching philosophy. Students are provided opportunities in instrumental and vocal music, musical theatre, acting, technical theatre and traditional and digital visual arts. Upon graduation, students will be prepared for post-secondary endeavors and arts related careers. The Fine Arts Academy provides over forty events each year to further student’s skills and artistic talents.


Angelus Concert Tour to North Carolina and Tennessee

Angelus will travel to Tennessee and North Carolina June 5-10. With concerts scheduled on June 5: St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church (Kingsport), June 6: St. Luke’s UMC (Hickory), June 7: St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church (Hillsborough), June 8: Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd (Asheboro) June 9: Emmanuel Episcopal Church (Southern Pines).

This is the ensemble’s second trip to North Carolina, having last performed in Asheville and Boone in 2013. For more information about the ensemble, visit their webpage at Angelus

Academy Visual Arts Students at the Evansville Museum

The following visual arts students won awards at the 54th Annual High School Art Show at the Evansville Museum last week. Their works will be on display in the main gallery of the museum through April 16.
​2nd in Graphic Design – Anna Davidson
1st in Photography – Whitney Schaefer
2nd in Photography – Kiara Jesch
2nd in Ceramics – Jody Fisher
3rd in Textiles – Elizabeth Walker
Winn Slavin Fine Art Scholarship in Texties – Crysta Granderson
Evansville Design Group Merit Award in Photography – Bryley Harms​

Angelus Featured in Choral Director Magazine

The ensemble is pleased to note their inclusion in the January edition of Choral Director Magazine. Angelus was included in the magazine’s year in review article.

Winter Art Show

Mt Vernon High School’s Fine Arts Academy will host their annual Winter Art Show on Monday January 16 and Tuesday January 17, 2017. The show will be open 8 AM – 3 PM both days and Monday evening from 5-7 PM. Student works from fall semester will be on display, including graphic design, photography, drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramics. The show is ope to the public and admission is FREE! Please enter through the High School office during school hours and the circle drive entrance for the evening and proceed to F102 Art Room for the exhibit.

“Let There Be Light”

A new article featured in Teaching Theatre Journal written by technical theatre instructor Dana Taylor.

The Secret Garden: Spring Edition

The Academy Music Theatre will present the musical The Secret Garden: Spring Edition on March 16 and 17 at 7:00pm and again on March 18 at 2:00 and 7:00. All performances will be held in the MVHS Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10.00 for Adults and $8.00 for students and senior citizens.

When a spoiled orphan is sent to live with her uncle on the Yorkshire moors, she discovers a secret that leads to a new sense of purpose for her and her ailing cousin. Based on the beloved children’s book and three-time Tony award winner, join us for the magical musical SECRET GARDEN.(

Angelus Welcomes Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek

Angelus welcomes Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek for a workshop and recital on Nov. 6 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church (Evansville, IN). Featuring a program of sacred and secular works, the recital is part of Eastminister’s “Christianity and the Arts” series.

Jacqui was a member of the internationally acclaimed vocal ensemble “Anonymous 4″ and is currently completing doctoral work at the Juilliard School.

The recital will be held at 2:00 in the sanctuary of Eastminster Presbyterian Church.

MVHS Academy Visual Art Student Wins Best Graphic Design at Brescia Art Show

Congratulations to visual art student Whitney Schaefer. Her graphic artwork, “The Eye of the Beholder” won best graphic design at the recent Brescia University High School Art Show.

Visual Art Students Raise Over $11,000 for “Behind the Scenes”

Congratulations to Academy Visual Arts students Leah Bilskie, Ashley Franks, Jayce Hamilton, Alexis Harmes and Ashley Underwood. Each had a card designed selected for the Behind the Scenes Holiday Card Campaign.  “Behind the Scenes” (an initiative of The ESTA Foundation).  “Behind the Scenes” provides financial help to members of the entertainment technology industry who are unable to work due to illness or injury. The Holiday Cards project is an annual fundraiser for the initiative and has showcased the work some of the most successful scenic, costume and lighting designers in the entertainment industry. Since 2007, MVHS has raised over $50,000 for “Behind the Scenes”

Mr. Taylor Serves as Technical Editor for Concert Lighting: The Art and Business of Entertainment Lighting 4th Edition

The perennial  handbook for the concert lighting industry received an update this year and Academy Technical Theatre Instructor, Dana Taylor had a hand in the final product. Author Jim Moody, long considered one of the originators of “rock and roll” lighting asked Mr. Taylor to take a read through the text and offer updates, corrections and suggestions. “It was an honor to lend a hand, especially nice when the person asking played a pivotal roll in the lighting industry”, noted Taylor.

Marching Wildcats March on to Semi-State

The MVHS Marching Wildcats capped a successful season with a trip to Semi State Marching Competition at Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis. Although not advancing to state contest, the band performed well and is eager to celebrate the season and get ready for next year.

Angelus Summer Tour a Success

Angelus returned from a successful summer tour to New England. Concerts were performed in Ashtabula, OH, Syracuse, NY, Troy, New York, Montpelier, VT, Shelburne, VT, Woodstock, VT, Keene, NH and Falmouth, ME. The eleven day tour also included an evening stop at Lake Erie. Next summer, the ensemble plans a trip to the Carolinas and Tennessee.

Children’s Theatre Celebrates 25 Years

The MVHS Children’s Theatre presented its 25th production “The Commedia Princess and the Pea” in September.  The show is directed by Whitney Schaefer and featuring Lillie Blankenship, Quincy Irick, Kiara Jesch and Joseph Julian. Here is a peek at their new show drop (a way of celebrating 25 years of Children’s Theatre).

Fine Arts Academy Singers Return to Lincoln Center

Distinguished Concerts International New York invited singers from the Fine Arts Academy to perform Christopher Tin’s Calling All Dawns at David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center on Sunday, Apr. 6. Included in the performance was a featured performance by Angelus. The ensemble sang Mvt. 6 Caoineadh and were joined by Jaqueline Horner-Kwiatek of Anonymous 4 reprising her solo from the original recording.

Angelus Premieres New Work for Tilich Memorial Service

Angelus sang as part of the 50th Anniversary and rededication of Paul Tillich Park in New Harmony. The highlight of the evening was a performance with Mazz Swift and the premiere of her work “Affirmation”, written for the celebration with texts by Dr. Tillich and inspired by Angelus. “The way they sing … I hear very pure, clear voices and harmonies,” Swift said.

MVHS Instrumental Music Dept. Welcomes “River Bend Brass Band”

Introducing students and audiences to excellence, the MVHS Instrumental Music Department welcomed the  River City Brass Band as their guests for their annual spring concert. MVHS band director Joe Stone is a member of the brass ensemble.

Visual Arts Students Participate in “First Brush of Spring”

Mt Vernon High School Fine Arts Academy’s advanced visual arts students participated in the 18th Annual First Brush of Spring Plein Air Paint Out in New Harmony, IN. The students spent the day painting and drawing outside around New Harmony along with professional artists from around the country. The event was sponsored by IPAPA, Hoosier Salon and New Harmony Artist Guild.

Winners in the Youth 12 and Over Division:
1st Delaney Pfeiffer, 2nd Morgan Tapp, 3rd Shy Zwiefka
Honorable Mention:, Brittany Rushing, Marci Bilski, Jillian Schirtzinger

Angelus Releases Newest Recording

Angelus’ newest CD “Psalms and Promises” is now available for download from popular digital download sites. The physical CD is available from the ensemble. An eclectic collection of some of their favorite works including a new recordings of “On Children” and “The Parting Glass”. Also featured are “Nicholai Pontifex”, “Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”, “Resignation” and “Glory Bound”.

Angelus Invited to Perform at the American Choral Directors Regional Conference

Angelus has just been notified that they will present a mainstage performance at the American Choral Directors Association Central Conference on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 1:30pm in Cincinnati. Congratulations on this unique and prestigious honor. They are one of two school ensembles from Indiana invited to perform.

Academy Named Regional Arts Award Winner

The Mt. Vernon Senior High School Fine Arts Academy has been notified by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana that they have been name a recipient of their “Regional Arts Award” for 2013. Accepting the award on behalf of the academy were Courtney Duckworth, Adam McCloud, Samantha Olsen and Marshall Powers.

This marks the third Arts Council award in as many years. In 2012, Angelus (the Academy’s sacred music vocal ensemble) received the “Arts Ensemble Award” and in 2011, Academy educator Dana Taylor was named “Artist of the Year”.

Angelus Returns to San Francisco in June

Angelus will return to San Francisco in June of 2014 for a series of public concerts. The ensemble currently will perform at Grace Cathedral and St. Stephen’s (Belvedere) on Thursday, June 12, Transfiguration Episcopal Church (San Mateo) on Friday, June. 13 and St. Dominic’s (San Francisco) on Saturday, June 14.

Fine Arts Academy Music Theatre Presents Disney’s “The Little Mermaid, Jr.”

The MVHS Fine Arts Academy Music Theatre will present the family musical “The Little Mermaid, Jr. on Mar. 13-15 in the MVHS Performing Arts Center. Adapted from Disney’s 2008 Broadway production, Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID JR. features the hit songs “Part of Your World,” “She’s in Love,” and the Oscar-winning “Under the Sea.”

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