A fine arts academy is a program of the local school or community which provides excellent training in the arts to individuals of varying ages and levels of talent, by qualified instructors. The fine arts academy is financially self-supporting and is administrated by a coordinator.
A case for the arts in culture and education has been made countless times. It goes well beyond the scope of this article to discuss in detail all of the justifications for the arts. However, it is very important for anyone wanting to begin a fine arts academy to know this information and be able to present it to concisely and passionately to the decision-makers in their school or community.
The main points in an argument for the arts in culture and education should include information similar to the following findings reported in Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning by Edward Fiske, 1999. This book outlines key points from the PRESIDENT'S COMMITTEE ON THE ARTS AND THE HUMANITIES. The President's Committee was created by Presidential Executive Order in 1982 to encourage private sector support and to increase public appreciation of the value of the arts and the humanities, through projects, publications and meetings. Appointed by the President, the Committee comprised leading citizens from the private sector who have an interest in and commitment to the humanities and the arts.
Here is a summary of some of the committee’s key findings:
- The arts reach students who are not otherwise being reached. Researchers found that the arts provided a reason, and sometimes the only reason, for being engaged with school or other organizations. This engagement leads to better student attendance and lower dropout rates.
- The arts reach students in ways that they are not otherwise being reached. Success in the arts became a bridge to learning and eventual success in other areas of learning.
- The arts connect students to themselves and each other. By engaging his or her whole person, the student feels invested in ways that are deeper than "knowing the answer."
- The arts transform the environment for learning. When the arts become central to the learning environment, schools and other settings become places of discovery.
- The arts provide learning opportunities for the adults in the lives of young people. With adults participating in lifelong learning, young people gain an understanding that learning in any field is a never-ending process.
- The arts provide new challenges for those students already considered successful. For those young people who outgrow their established learning environments, the arts can offer a chance for unlimited challenge.
- The arts connect learning experiences to the world of real work. Working in a classroom or a studio as an artist, the young person is learning and practicing future workplace behaviors.
I am very grateful to have been the recipient of a strong fine arts classroom education during my high school years. I attended Baton Rouge Magnet High School where the arts were taught, and a deep love for them was fostered daily. Through classes in music theory, voice lessons and musical theatre I developed self-discipline as I grew in understanding the power and beauty of the creative arts. Supplemented by private voice and piano study, I am a fortunate and grateful recipient of a well-rounded fine arts education. Because of the deep convictions of my fine arts educators, I enjoy the full benefits of a life-long career in the creative arts.
As you share your vision for starting a fine arts academy in your school or community, it is important to know some of the benefits of beginning and advancing such a program. Some of the benefits of a well-organized, properly functioning fine arts academy include:
1) To aid in the development of students in the areas of self-esteem, social interaction, personality, skill and accomplishment.
3) To provide quality training for future professional musicians: concert pianists, music teachers, choristers, instrumentalists, church musicians, composers, dancers, artisans of all types, and more.
4) To build a culture of fine arts awareness and excellence in the community, placing the fine arts academy in an influential leadership role in the advancement of the arts.
5) To support the professional advancement of existing teachers and artisans in the community by providing teaching opportunities and performance outlets.
6) To strengthen existing ensembles, teams and troupes within the school and community through specialized private and group study.
HOW TO START A FINE ARTS ACADEMY IN YOUR SCHOOL/COMMUNITY by John Parker (Parker Publications, Inc., 2016) discusses these issues and many others including, but not limited to:
FINDING ROOMS FOR TEACHING
FINDING AND HIRING A COORDINATOR
FINDING AND HIRING TEACHERS
WHAT DISCIPLINES TO OFFER
STUDENTS & SCHEDULING
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
INSURANCE AND LIABILITY
SECURITY AND SAFETY
FINANCES AND ACCOUNTING
CURRICULUM & RESOURCES
RECITALS, FESTIVALS AND PERFORMANCES
Interested in learning more? Check out "How To Start A Fine Arts Academy In Your School/Community" by John Parker. The book features a complete kit that will not only help you understand how to successfully implement a fine arts academy, but will also provide all the reproducible documents you need to get started including instructor logs, registration forms, and a wide variety of other documents. Click Here to learn more.