About SCPA

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    The School for Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA) is the school of choice for dedicated students preparing for lifelong involvement in artistic and scholastic pursuits. As a world-class public K-12 arts school, students achieve technical mastery in an arts field with an extensive academic program that meets Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) and state standards for high school diplomas.


    The School For Creative & Performing Arts’ (SCPA) mission is to foster independent thinking in a creative and challenging environment. By providing a diversified curriculum and environment for bright and talented individuals, we seek to offer preparation for higher education and professions in the arts.


    SCPA is a world-class public arts school where students prepare for lifelong involvement in scholastic and artistic pursuits.

    SCPA School Culture

    SCPA offers a unique school culture that enables students to flourish as artists and scholars in a creative and nurturing environment. At SCPA, students are surrounded by like-minded, motivated peers and supportive faculty.


    SCPA was founded in 1973 as part of the Bronson desegregation lawsuit settlement.  As the city’s public school system was being overhauled to afford all students an equal, free, appropriate and integrated education, the school would provide not only topnotch academic instruction, but also pre-professional arts training.

    SCPA is an arts magnet school in the Cincinnati Public School (CPS) district, the third largest district in Ohio. In 2010, SCPA became the first and only K-12 magnet art school in the nation when CPS merged the K-3rd Schiel Primary School for Arts Enrichment with The School For the Creative & Performing Arts, a 4th-12th pre-professional art school. SCPA has produced notable graduates in virtually every artistic field, including award-winning actors, directors, singers, dancers, musicians, stage technicians, designers, and arts administrators. In addition to excelling in the arts, SCPA graduates have gone on to military service, law, medicine, and business.


    SCPA is a world-class $72 million facility located in historic Over-the-Rhine. This state-of-the-art facility was championed by the late Cincinnati Pops Maestro Erich Kunzel and funded through a public-private partnership that raised more than $31 million in private contributions to match public funding. This landmark effort was led by Bill Knodel & the late Thomas J. Klinedinst, Jr., Presidents of the Greater Cincinnati Arts and Education Center/SCPA Fund. The building features specialized facilities for the arts, including three separate theaters. SCPA is located within the arts district including ArtsWave, ArtWorks, Cincinnati Art Academy, Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati May Festival, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra/Pops, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, Memorial Hall, and Music Hall.

    The Students

    The student body is the most diverse in the region. Our student body is made up of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Central and Eastern European, Native American, and multi-racial students from a variety of economic backgrounds. Students and their families often move into the Cincinnati Public School District to attend SCPA.

    Artistic Programs

    Arts classes are interspersed throughout the day. Each class meets daily for one or two periods of approximately 45 minutes each. Many students take electives in their majors as well as the required courses. Students must have at least 8 art credits for graduation, and they must maintain good standing in an arts major.

    Upper level performance majors audition for participation in showcase ensembles including Dance Ensemble, Drama Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Senior Jazz Ensemble, Chorale, Meridian 8 Vocal Ensemble and Baby Grands Vocal Ensemble. Fourth- through twelfth-grade students have the opportunity to audition for age-appropriate major productions, including the Major Musical (5-12th grade), High School Drama (9th-12th grade), Junior High Drama (7th-9th grade), and Elementary Drama (4th-6th grade). All K-3 students participate in their grade level musical production. Private music lessons are available to any student who attends SCPA. In an average school year, more than 125 student performances are presented at SCPA.

    Download our 2021-2026 Strategic Plan