The goal of the arts program at Riverdale is to help every student come to a belief in the value of the creative process as a necessary and enduring element of a well-lived life. Participating in the arts provides an active rather than a passive learning experience. The discipline and self-motivation of a lifelong participation in the arts contributes to a personal expressiveness and satisfaction that are difficult to achieve by other means. The arts challenge one’s imagination, one’s resourcefulness, and one’s ability to envision and shape one’s life. The discovery and development of each student’s talents and vision is not only an exploration but a celebration of personal uniqueness. But all art is social, and ensemble work is invariably a part of each student’s experience of the arts at Riverdale. That brings an awareness of the necessity of individual contributions to a greater whole. The arts studios and the performance stages provide an atmosphere that nurtures and demands honesty, self-reliance, consideration, and respect for others. The Linda M. Lindenbaum Center for the Arts and the Jeslo Harris Theater provide modern facilities to enhance the learning experience and environment for all the arts.
At Riverdale, students learn the arts primarily through active involvement. Advanced students in visual arts are encouraged and helped to develop portfolios for college admission. Riverdale students have the opportunity to participate in numerous musical performances and visual art exhibitions. Students interested in theater may take part in an active production schedule of both dramas and musicals.
A credit in visual arts, music, or TDF (Theater, Dance, Film) is taken in grade nine; the additional two credits must be fulfilled in grades 10, 11, or 12.