MSA Applications are Now Closed

The admissions period for Marin School of the Arts programs at Novato High School for the 2018-19 school is closed. Program auditions  will be held February 3 and February 4 (Theatre will be Feb. 10-11).

Please visit the Audition and Portfolio Requirements section for more information about the MSA audition process for each MSA Program.


MSA is a specialized program within Novato High School. MSA Admissions include an online application process followed by an audition/portfolio review with faculty.  MSA students participate in two daily periods of MSA arts classes and four to five periods of NHS academic classes.

The Marin School of the Arts Foundation raises over $400,000 annually in support of MSA programming and resources that the Novato Unified School District is unable to provide. Thanks to an involved community and volunteer support, the foundation enhances and sustains the quality of education for all Marin School of the Arts students.

MSA Teacher Honored by UC Irvine

Howard Gersh Inducted into Information and Computer Science Hall of Fame

Novato Digital Art & Animation and Photography Teacher Howard Gersh has been inducted into the UC Irvine School of Information and Computer Science’s (ICS) inducted their Hall of Fame. Gersh teaches at Marin School of the Arts at Novato High School, where he introduces students to industry-level software and techniques and is building new educational programs including techniques in film, animation and virtual reality.
As an alum of UC Irvine’s School of ICS, Gersh received the honor for making a significant impact in his profession and bringing distinction to the school.

Gersh said he was humbled to be included in the recognition, but it is clear from his resume that Gersh deserves the honor.

He has excelled as a digital artist and animator with his work on major films starting as a young artist with “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” (1977) and building up to blockbusters including “Forrest Gump” (1994),  “Pirates of the Caribbean” (2003),  “The Day After Tomorrow” (2004), and “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” (2005), among others.

Gersh helped to create some of the most memorable and fantastic images ever to grace the silver screen.  At ImageMovers Digital (a Disney Company), he worked on the lighting for the CG feature, “Mars Needs Moms!” He was also part of the lighting team that exquisitely rendered Victorian London in Disney’s “A Christmas Carol.”

While at George Lucas’ visual effects division, Industrial Light + Magic (ILM), Gersh worked on the Viet Nam war memorial crowd scenes in the Academy Award™ winning “Forrest Gump.”  His work on “Pirates of the Caribbean” included lighting the photorealistic Davy Jones character and his crew of computer generated pirates.

In addition to sharing his knowledge with students at MSA, Gersh also teaches college level digital artists and animators at The Academy of Art University.

MSA Applications Now Online

Applications are now open for admissions to MSA in the 2018-19 school year. In an effort to simplify the process, applicants may now apply online! Simply go to the MSA Applications page to select and fill out ALL required forms, beginning with the Student Information Form. 

Applications are due January 16, 2018.  Auditions will be held February 3-4, 2018. Follow this link for information about Audition and Portfolio Requirements. Contact the MSA Office for information.

Winner of the 3rd Annual Film Challenge

About the School

Marin School of the Arts (MSA) is an award-winning arts program within Novato High School, a top performing public high school offering challenging and innovative academic programs as well as outstanding athletic and club offerings.

MSA gives talented and motivated students from across the North Bay and beyond the chance to study with top arts professionals in their fields. As part of a public high school, MSA can offer quality arts programs to a greater variety of young artists. MSA provides college-level arts study in a variety of arts disciplines, which results in students gaining a higher skill set in their studies as well as greater confidence in their abilities. MSA teaches young artists how to follow through on commitments, how to multitask and how to rise to extreme challenges while developing thier individuality and self-identity.

As part of a public high school, MSA is an affordable and cost-effective program which encourages a greater diversity of talented young artists. The school attracts students from across Marin and Sonoma counties as well as students traveling from as far away as San Francisco and Vallejo. This mix encourages a dynamic community of young artists sharing ideas, experiences and projects.