The Chicago Academy for the Arts is a nationally recognized independent high school for the performing and visual arts.

 

Designated a National School of Distinction by the John F. Kennedy Center, The Academy offers students the opportunity to engage in a unique co-curricular program: rigorous, college-preparatory academic classes and professional-level arts training in the context of an unparalleled school culture. The Academy’s school day consists of a modified block schedule of three 75-minute blocks of academic courses and a 45-minute flex period followed by a three-plus hour immersion in a student's chosen arts department: Dance, Media Arts (filmmaking, animation, creative writing), Music, Musical Theatre, Theatre, and Visual Arts. At The Chicago Academy for the Arts, young artists master the skills necessary for academic success, critical thought, and creative expression.


Quick Facts

  • The Academy is among the top-ranked private schools and is the #1 arts high school in Illinois (Niche, 2023).

  • The 210 graduates from 2017 to 2022 earned nearly $47 million in college scholarships and gained admission to the nation’s best colleges, universities, and conservatories, from CalArts to Juilliard; from Stanford to Princeton.

  • Students participate in more than 100 productions throughout the course of the school year, including concerts, plays, readings, screenings, recordings, and exhibitions.

  • Academy students routinely outperform their peers in standardized testing. 2020 and 2021 Academy graduates scored an ACT Composite average of 24.7, 18% higher than the national average.

  • Academy students demonstrate high readiness for college (as demonstrated on the ACT exam), eclipsing national “college readiness” averages in every category. The percentage of Academy graduates meeting all four college readiness benchmarks was 127% higher than the national average. Read more about academics at The Academy here.

  • 53% of Academy students commute from outside of the City of Chicago.

  • About 2/3 of Academy graduates go on to careers in the arts, while 1/3 pursue the sciences, the humanities, business, and more.

The Academy is located at 1010 W. Chicago Avenue. The school provides bus pick-up and drop-off at Ogilvie and Union Station three times a day.

The Academy is located at 1010 W. Chicago Avenue. The school provides bus pick-up and drop-off at Ogilvie and Union Station three times a day.

Mom's Wedding Cara Fan Visual Arts '19

Mom's Wedding
Cara Fan
Visual Arts '19

Boys Take on Ballet, 2019

Boys Take on Ballet, 2019

Students come to The Academy from an array of backgrounds: some have had years of training; others are exploring a newly discovered passion. Some come from the city of Chicago, others commute from the suburbs or beyond. Some spend all four high school years at The Academy; others join the community later on in their academic careers. No matter their background, these students are united by a profound passion for the arts. 

During the admissions process, each student selects one arts department where they will focus their arts education while at The Academy.

Ethnicity

46% Caucasian, 21% African American/Black, 9% Latino/Hispanic American, 7% Asian American, 15% Multiracial American, 2% International

Commuting

47% Chicago, 53% Outside of Chicago

Academy families reside in more than 75 zip codes, and a significant percentage of students commute from outside the city of Chicago — some even from Indiana and Michigan. The Academy provides private bus pick-up and drop-off at Ogilvie and Union Station three times a day to accommodate. Please visit our Directions page for more information.

Enrollment

The Academy enrolls approximately 140 students each year. The average academic class size is 15 students. The school’s student-to-teacher ratio is 4:1. While the curriculum is designed as a four-year program, The Academy accepts a number of transfer students every year. Please contact the Admissions Department for more information.

Accreditation

The Chicago Academy for the Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and a member of the following organizations:

  • Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS)

  • Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)

  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

  • Arts Schools Network (ASN)

  • Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools (LMAIS)

More About The Academy

About The Academy
2023-2024 College Profile
Alumni Stories

Welcome from the Head

Dear Families and Friends,

For 40 years, The Chicago Academy for the Arts has been one of Illinois’ great independent schools, an important Chicago cultural institution, and “home” to hundreds of brilliant young artists characterized by their  passion, purpose, and excellence.

The Academy’s “co-curricular” educational model is simple, yet transformational. Our rigorous academic program and immersive, pre-professional arts training prepare our students for an incredible variety of paths beyond high school, leading successful, meaningful lives in the arts and well beyond.

The 180 graduates from 2017 to 2021 earned nearly $39 million in college scholarships (that’s not a typo!) and gained admission to the nation’s best colleges, universities, and conservatories, from CalArts to Juilliard; from Stanford to Princeton.

From the Grammy Awards to the New York Times Bestseller List, our alums are not only succeeding in the professional arts world, they are prepared to define it. And as physicists, entrepreneurs, attorneys, software developers, and more, Academy grads are thriving in a breathtaking variety of fields.

Most importantly, however, The Academy is characterized by its community: inspired academic teachers, professional artists with a passion for mentorship, and an incredible student body. It is a unique privilege to be immersed every day in a community of people so deeply invested in being here.

Thank you for taking a closer look at our school: we are eager to show you what makes The Academy such a special place to be.

Welcome to The Chicago Academy for the Arts. And, welcome home.

Jason Patera
Head of School




School Leadership

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