Dixon School of the Arts is the premier art school in Pensacola, Florida. The art program at Dixon not only teaches the foundations of art by studying and applying the principles of art and design, but extends deeper into creative exploration and expression. There is a distinct correlation between art education and academic achievement. Research performed by Critical Links has identified six benefits between art and student achievement; reading and language, math, thinking, social skills, motivation to learn and a positive school environment. There are four major components of the Dixon art program that demonstrates be benefits of art and student achievement and set us apart from other schools in the area: the Visiting Artist program, use of professional materials, exposure via an abundance of field trips, and integration of visual and performing arts in the core curriculum.
The Visiting Artist program at Dixon brings world-renowned artists to our scholars for two week-long focused sessions every four to six weeks. Our visiting artists in residence are Lisa Puzon and Shaughnessy Johnson, both who have had their work shown in galleries around the world. Shaughnessy has been commissioned by significant public figures, including Michael Jordan, and Lisa was recognized in 2002 for Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers for her outstanding influence as an art teacher. Because dance is a brain-driven art, it becomes fuel for learning subjects other than dance. One of our visiting artists is Nehemiah Spencer who is a Julliard graduate and dances for a world renown dance company in New York City, Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Mr. Spencer teaches technique and inspires our scholars with the language of dance. Dixon also welcomes other artists on a regular basis, including artists specializing in jewelry and the performing arts. With these professional experiences comes the use of professional material, which not only yields higher quality artwork but also exposes the scholars to the true experiences of professional artists.
The use of professional materials offers our scholars the opportunity to see and explore a variety of mediums in which they may have a talent or an interest. It’s an introduction to new vocabulary, new techniques, different artists, and additional genre. The scholars learn how and use a variety of materials in visual arts like clay, marble, ceramic tiles, wood, pastels, glass, steel, and copper to name a few in visual arts. In performing arts the scholars are exposed to professional dancers, musicians, drama and/or instructors in ballet, jazz, tap, choir, theater, steel pan and music.
At Dixon School of the Arts, we believe the most lasting educational experiences often occur outside the four walls of a traditional classroom. For this reason, we schedule field trips often and take every opportunity to expose our students to the art community right here in Pensacola. From trips downtown to partake in artistic scavenger hunts, to tours of the myriad of galleries here in our hometown, our students are encouraged to interact with the world around them to develop their perspective as artists. When we are not on field trips, art is also woven into the curriculum in the primary classrooms as a means to deepen understanding and provoke interest in the core academic subjects.
The integration of dance, drama, visual arts and music into our school curriculum K-8 improves learning, memory, reading readiness, conflict resolution skills, social skills reasoning, and math proficiency and created a positive learning environment. This integration is accomplished through Dixon’s very gifted and talented art, music, and dance teachers on staff. Not only are they accomplished artist in their personal and professional lives, they bring their love for our scholars, a collaborative spirit and artistic culture and integrate it into the core curriculum in each classroom. They are instrumental in laying the foundation upon which our scholars can excel in their artistry and gain valuable insights from the visiting artists.
The arts program at Dixon School of the Arts makes significant contributions in helping our scholars achieve success in school and in life.