The Arts

Sumner Academy's Fine Arts opportunities encourage students to express themselves through the exploration of many modalities. Whether learning to play instruments, creating works of art, or performing in a play, our students enjoy ample opportunity to find their creative niche. 

While we recognize that the Arts are valuable subjects in their own right, Sumner Academy recognizes that Arts Education fosters academic achievement and emotional maturity in our students. Students even get to experience field studies in the Arts - including going to plays at TPAC, visiting arts-based museums, and taking trips to local studios to learn alongside expert artists. Middle school students have the opportunity to join the Sumner Academy Band.


young students in art class

Visual Arts

Art teacher Kerri Burke-White believes that every child is an artist, and she aims to ensure they keep that view of themselves from Pre-Kindergarten all the way through Eighth Grade graduation. 

Art Class at Sumner Academy introduces students to a variety of mediums, from clay to acrylics, from oil pastels to graffiti art.

There is always a new method of expression to discover.

Mrs. Burke-White seeks to make connections with general classroom teachers, whether integrating Eastern European history to tie in with Geography or working on a fine motor skill being practiced in Pre-Kindergarten. 

Performing Arts

Singing, dancing, listening, performing, composing, and writing music are touched on in grades Pre-Kindergarten through Eighth Grade. For example, composition in Pre-Kindergarten looks like creating four-beat patterns out of pipe cleaners and popsicle sticks. Composition in Eighth Grade involves creating an entire ABA form song in GarageBand that  includes lyrics!

Students also have opportunities at every grade level to perform for the school community. From holiday performances to plays, students will gain valuable experience in the performing arts. 


 Sumner Academy aims to give students meaningful exposure to the different avenues music offers. Music is relational and enjoyable, and the goal is that every child sees how they can fit into this musical world of ours!

Erin Robertson, Music Teacher

Private Music Lessons

Private music lessons are offered at Sumner Academy during the school day.  Lessons are conducted by award-winning musician Thornton Cline. He has been teaching private and group piano, violin, ukulele and guitar lessons at Sumner Academy for almost 17 years. 

Music instructor helping students in music class

Cline is an in-demand author, teacher, musician, songwriter and speaker. He has judged major regional music competitions and has been a speaker for the winter and summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) Shows for the past seven years. Cline continues to mentor, teach and inspire aspiring students, authors and songwriters all around the world.

Cline was inducted into the Tennessee Songwriters Association International Songwriters Hall of Fame in April of 2022.