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 six 45-minute academic periods 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, 2018).

  • The 39 students comprising the Class of 2018 collectively earned over $10 million in college scholarships.

  • Over 70% of our college acceptances in 2010-2018 were institutions ranked in the "Top 300 Colleges and Universities in America" (Forbes).

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

  • Over the past five years, students have scored an ACT Composite average of 24.7, nearly 19% higher than the Illinois average.

  • Academy students demonstrate high readiness for college (as demonstrated on the ACT exam), eclipsing Illinois “college readiness” averages in every category over the past five years, including by 89.2% (Social Science), 56.5% (College Algebra), and 76.3% (all four categories).

  • 50% 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

2018-19 Student Breakdown

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.


66% Caucasian, 18% African American/Black, 8% Latino/Hispanic American, 3% Asian American, 3% Multiracial American, 2% International


51% Chicago, 47% Suburbs, 2% International

A significant percentage of Academy students commute from outside the city of Chicago. 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.



The Academy enrolls approximately 145 students each year. The average academic class size is 15 students and the 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.


The Chicago Academy for the Arts is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization accredited and recognized by the following organizations:

  • Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS)

  • Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE)

  • National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)

  • Arts Schools Network (ASN)

  • Illinois High School Association (IHSA)

More About The Academy

About The Academy

2018-2019 College Profile

Course Catalog

Alumni Stories

2018-2019 Performance Calendar

Welcome from the Head

Dear Families and Friends,


Author Neil Gaiman says, “We have an obligation to imagine.”

For nearly four decades, students at The Chicago Academy for the Arts have combined their capacity for imagination with a sense of purpose to create a stunning body of meaningful work, and a community where young people thrive.

Our unique educational model is simple, yet transformational. The Academy’s rigorous academic program and immersive, pre-professional arts training — in the context of a world-class educational culture — prepare our students for an incredible variety of paths beyond high school.

The 39 seniors comprising the Class of 2018 were awarded nearly $10 million in scholarships (that’s not a typo) to the best colleges, universities, and conservatories in the country, and will attend schools like Juilliard, Princeton, and Stanford. And from business to Broadway, from science to Sundance, our alums are making their mark on the world in a breathtaking variety of ways.

Most importantly, however, The Academy is characterized by its community. It is a special privilege to walk through our doors every day and be surrounded by an inspired and deeply invested student body, faculty, and staff.

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.

Jason Patera
Head of School


School Leadership