HSPVA exists because the arts are a central and vital component of the human experience. The mission of this unique school is to educate and inspire artistically gifted and talented students in specific disciplines while maintaining an equal focus on academic, social, and personal growth in a diverse environment.
The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) evolved in 1971 from a realization that gifted young artists need highly specialized and rigorous training in the arts to be prepared for the intense competition they will meet in colleges, conservatories, and the professional arts world. The creation of HSPVA represented the first attempt by any public high school in the nation to correlate an academic program with concentrated training in the arts. Also, it was one of only three public schools in the nation to offer programs in both the visual and performing arts, and the first such institution in the Southwest. For the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the formation of HSPVA represented a dramatic departure from traditional comprehensive programs. HSPVA is fully accredited and offers the same academic curriculum and graduation requirements as all HISD high schools; the major difference in the academic program is that we offer the added ingredient of correlating the arts with academics, rather than treating either as isolated disciplines. The school schedule is an alternating A/B block schedule with classes meeting for 1.5 hours every other day with the exception of first period which meets every day for 45 minutes. Students spend three hours every day in rigorous focused study in one art discipline with the balance of the day’s study in academics. All students must audition for placement at HSPVA.