While almost all CPS students have regular access to arts education, a number of CPS magnet elementary schools, as well as several high schools, offer rigorous curriculum and instruction focused on the fine and performing arts.

Nearly 43,000 students at 70 Fine & Performing Arts schools currently benefit from comprehensive arts instruction.  

Fine & Performing Arts and STEAM Magnet Elementary Schools

CPS magnet schools are specialized schools that focus their curriculum on one particular subject area. Most magnet schools do not have attendance boundaries, which means that all interested students must submit an application, even if they live nearby. In addition, in most cases, magnet schools provide bus transportation for students who live between 1.5–6 miles from the school. Magnet schools do not provide an accelerated curriculum—they are designed for all students. Students are randomly selected through a computerized lottery.

CPS Fine & Performing Arts Magnet Elementary Schools:

CPS STEAM Magnet Elementary Schools:


Fine & Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Elementary Schools

Magnet cluster schools, like magnet schools, are also specialized, but they have neighborhood attendance boundaries and accept students who live within that boundary. (Students who live outside the boundary must submit an application in order to be considered for acceptance.) Magnet cluster schools focus their curriculum on one of five subject areas: fine and performing arts, world language, International Baccalaureate Primary or Middle Years, technology, or STEM. Transportation is not provided to incoming students.

The Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program (FPAMCP) is a network of arts-focused CPS elementary schools where the arts teachers work with students and other classroom teachers to provide intensive and integrated arts instruction. Students attending Fine and Performing Arts Magnet Cluster Program schools:

  • learn and grow in multiple art forms: dance, drama, media arts, music, and/or visual art
  • develop cultural awareness and understanding
  • make connections between arts learning and other subject areas (curriculum integration)
  • are exposed to arts opportunities and environments, both in and out of the Chicago community, whether through visiting artist partnerships, performances, or museum trips

Download the list of CPS Fine and Performing Arts Elementary Magnet Cluster schools as of 2020-21.


Arts-Focused High Schools 

Several CPS high schools give students intensive studio experiences in the visual and performing arts, credits beyond the high school arts requirements, and an accelerated general-education curriculum that promotes a high level of college and career readiness. The following CPS high schools offer rigorous arts coursework:

  • Chicago High School for the Arts (“ChiArts”) offers conservatories in dance, music, theatre and visual arts. Admissions requirements include an audition/portfolio review. Non-residents of Chicago may apply, but if accepted, MUST establish Chicago residency by July 1 of the year they plan to enroll.
  • Curie Metro High School (Magnet) offers rigorous study and studio experiences in dance, music and visual arts. Admissions requirements include an audition/portfolio review as of SY2018-19.
  • Senn High School Magnet Program in the Arts (“Senn Arts”) offers a sequence of coursework in music, dance, theatre and visual arts that promotes depth and technique development in the arts. Admissions requirements include an audition/portfolio review.
  • Lincoln Park High School is a neighborhood high school with a performing arts department that offers nine curricular choirs, five bands, four orchestras, A.P. music theory, piano lab, and many extra-curricular ensembles. It also offers magnet programs in theatre and music. Admissions requirements for instrumental/vocal music and theatre include an audition.
  • Multicultural Arts High School is a neighborhood Fine & Performing Arts high school located in the Little Village/Pilsen neighborhood.
  • Walter H. Dyett High School for the Arts is a neighborhood high school that offers sequences of coursework in digital media, theatre, music, visual arts, and dance. Admissions requirements include an interview.

STUDENTS: Are you applying to an arts-focused high school? Download these tips on how to excel at an audition or portfolio review.


Incubating Fine & Performing Arts and STEAM Schools

As part of the largest-ever program expansion in district schools, a number of CPS schools were awarded new Fine & Performing Arts and STEAM program distinctions in SY19-20 and SY20-21. CPS will be providing all incubating schools (also including STEM, IB, Dual Language, World Language, Personalized Learning, and Gifted schools) significant investments over the next six years to support staffing, training, learning resources, and other elements needed to ensure programs are successfully implemented.

The incubating Fine & Performing Arts and STEAM schools are:

YEAR 1 COHORT (incubation kickoff SY2019-20):

YEAR 2 COHORT (incubation kickoff SY20-21):

All schools listed are magnet cluster schools unless otherwise indicated. For more information on Fine & Performing Arts School supports, click here.

Read more about the CPS program focus expansion effort:

Chicago Public Schools Announces $18 Million Investment in High-Quality Academic Programming at 22 Schools Across the City (June 11, 2020)

Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Public Schools Announce Largest-Ever Academic Program Expansion (March 19, 2019)