High School students painting a mural

Welcome to the Visual Arts Department

Somerville Public Schools strives to provide a diverse and comprehensive visual arts instructional program that encourages all students to integrate the arts into their core curriculum and their social and emotional well-being. The Visual Arts Department endorses the research that shows that students who participate in a Visual Arts program develop basic skills that encourage visual awareness and is fundamental to intellectual growth and creative self expression.

The Somerville Public Schools Art Department is under the direction of May Chau, Art Educator and K-12 Supervisor of Visual Arts. Email May Chau or call 617-625-6600 x613351.

K-8 Art Staff:

Somerville High School Art Teachers: 

Arts Integration

The Somerville School Committee has made a priority of investigating how to develop and implement an arts integration effort in the Somerville Public Schools. This is driven by the goals of wanting to have more time for creative expression during the school day, and wanting to engage students' right brains in the pursuit of competence in core subjects like science and math.

What and How We Teach

The Visual Arts Department has a long history of offering a diverse and outstanding program for all students in the Visual Arts. The department is staffed with 13 highly qualified certified Art Educators to serve the diverse community of the Somerville Public Schools. The curriculum and teaching program is based on State standards for teaching Visual Arts to students in grades K-12. The district offers a balanced and sequential Visual Art education program in grades K-8 and 9-12 that fosters student learning through perception and skills in both the real and the imaginary worlds that surround their educational development. The instructional program is focused on creative problem-solving and creative and aesthetic learning that motivates and stimulates the imagination of each individual student. The use of diverse media in the Visual Arts encourages students to demonstrate self-expression, creative growth, discovery, and the realization of ideas and exposure to global cultures.

Students are assessed on their individual achievement, which is relative to the diverse stages of the student's individualized growth and development in the Visual Arts. The Visual Art program is sequential and cumulative, which enables all students to develop skills in the arts; make aesthetic judgments about their own art and the art works of others both past and present; and to prepare for careers and opportunities in the Visual Arts for the present and in the future.

Community Connections

The City of Somerville has the highest number of artists per capita outside of New York City. The SPS Visual Arts Department collaborates with many local artists, along with arts organizations, and local colleges and universities.


Arts Education Advisory Council/Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

The Somerville Public Schools also collaborates extensively with the Arts Education Advisory Council of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Somerville Arts Council

Collaborations with the Somerville Arts Council contributes to the development of opportunities for students to learn from and experiment with visual arts techniques from local masters. Many local artists provide instruction, demonstrations, and performances in the Somerville Public Schools with financial support from Local Cultural Council grants awarded by the Somerville Arts Council.