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Fine Arts

We recognize the importance of fine arts on growing well-rounded young adults. We require all Edgewood students to take at least one credit of fine arts during their high school career and many take more. Our fine arts programs offer creative and innovative opportunities for students through diverse curriculum in art, drama, and music. Students frequently submit their work to juried visual art shows and writing competitions. Students have many opportunities to perform through choral and instrumental music ensembles, theater productions, and during the annual Fine Arts Festival.

Fine Arts Festival

Edgewood High School’s annual Fine Arts Festival offers our community an opportunity to recognize and celebrate diversity through the arts. We celebrate by including all art forms and bringing all people together through the creativity and self-expression we all share in making and appreciating the arts. Visit the Festival website for more information!


Edgewood High School stages two major productions a year, usually one drama and one musical. Major roles are often double-cast, giving more students the experience of performance. Since 2009, EHS musical productions have won more than 60 awards from the Overture Center for individual and ensemble performances, direction, costumes and other aspects of theatre. Sets for plays and musicals have won multiple awards in national competition sponsored by ScenoGraphics.

Communication Arts

The philosophy of our Communication Arts Department is: One goal. One promise. Student success. We believe that communication is a vital process in the moments when humans interact with one another. Communication is a skill and an art, which we need to understand, develop, and enhance. In addition to public speaking classes, there is a forensics club for students who want to have fun as they improve their debate, presentation, delivery, and acting skills.

Communication Arts Department Chair: Carrie Backman

McKinley Performing Arts Center

The McKinley PAC unites the school’s artistic community under one roof and enriches programming across campus including Edgewood High School, Edgewood College and Edgewood Campus School.
The facility, opened in August 2019 and named for longtime EHS teacher and band director Dennis McKinley '63, features state-of-the-art performance spaces and includes a 465-seat theatre, classrooms and rehearsal spaces to support music education and artistic innovation. The space provides a destination for the community to share its passion for the arts and accommodate campus-wide events, lectures and liturgies.

Theater/Public Speaking Teacher: James Wagoner


Our Music Department includes piano classes, band, orchestra, jazz ensemble, pep band, several different choral groups, and numerous other instrumental ensembles. In fact, the offerings are so diverse, the Music Department has its own website!

The Music Department chair is Carrie Backman, a 1999 Edgewood alumna who has taught at Edgewood since 2005. She also chairs the Fine Arts Festival, is instrumental director for musicals, coordinates the Pizzicato string instrument program, and oversees liturgical musicians.

Rebecca de Waart is our choir teacher. She will also conduct the Mass Band, musically direct the EHS spring musical, and mentor the Crusader Singers. Hikari Maekawa serves as a piano teacher at Edgewood High School and also created a piano program called Vivace Piano. The program is sponsored by EHS and offers private lessons to all ages and ability levels in the Madison community.

Creative Writing and Poetry

Student writers of prose, journalism, play scripts, and poetry will find courses and co-curricular activities that provide an outlet for their talents. Edgewood publishes an award-winning annual magazine of student writing and art, The Wayfarer. In addition, students in journalism courses contribute articles and essays to the student news publications, The Envoy and The Times of Edgewood. Modern drama classes participate in the Young Playwrights program of Children's Theatre of Madison.

Visual Arts

Our Visual Arts Department facilities includes designated art rooms for 2D, 3D, and photographic art. As part of the art co-curriculum, students can practice their expertise by working on the Crusader yearbook, The Wayfarer student literary magazine, or in the Underground Society of Art.

Stephanie Baertlein is the new Art Teacher, whose curriculum includes 2D and 3D art, photography, and yearbook. Stephanie has eight years of teaching experience at a Charter School in South Florida.


Edgewood's Physical Education Department offers ballroom dance as an elective. The Crusaders Athletic Program has a dance team that performs jazz and pom routines at sports events throughout the year and has won numerous awards and honors, including an invitation to perform at the Disney theme parks in Florida. Dancers are crucial to most musical productions as well. The drama program has won awards for choreography and individual featured dancers.

Co-Curricular Activities

In addition to musical performance opportunities offered directly through the Music Department, Edgewood students can audition to participate in the a cappella Edgetones or the musical productions, either as a stage performer or a member of the pit orchestra. Science teacher Eric Pantano, who has been at Edgewood since 2002, is the advisor to the Edgetones.

Laughing Stock is the EHS improvisational comedy troupe that helps students practice skills in thinking fast on their feet and making others laugh. The group performs a couple times a year. Science teacher Eric Pantano is the advisor to Laughing Stock.

Hear what a couple current members of Laughing Stock have to say about participating.