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School for the Arts in a church

Our church is interested in starting a school for the arts which would offer music, drama, dance lessons, etc in a Christian environment.   I would love to hear from anyone who has experience doing this and would be willing to share how you have done this?  I'm especially interested in how to fund it initially, how you draw teachers and students, what offerings you have, and how the spiritual/religious nature of such a school sets it apart from other arts opportunities in your city.  Please contact me via email, and perhaps we can chat on the phone.  Thanks!
Phil Barnett
on October 14, 2010 7:44pm
Hello Phil,
Columbia Baptist in Falls Church, VA seems to have a nice program that is directly sponsored by the church:
Trinity Episcopal in Upperville, VA is home to the Community Music School of the Piedmont.  I think the program is administered separately from the church-at-large:
I would recommend writing Columbia directly, since their program sounds most similar to what you are interested in doing.
on October 15, 2010 6:10am
You might want to look at other arts schools around the country and contact them. Community School of the Arts in Charlotte NC is in First Presbyterian Church and NC School of the Arts actually started in a high school in the 60's and of course is a major university now. I am sure there are others in several states that you could get inspiration from.
Great luck and much success - this is a fabulous thing to do for the community.
on October 15, 2010 8:52pm
I was Organist-Choirmaster at FIrst Presbyterian Church, Knoxville, TN from 1996-1998 and there was an already well-established community arts school there.  This program still exists and is worth looking into ... it serves many needy young people with first class instruction in music, art and dance with instructors drawn from the local arts community, Opera Knoxville, the Knoxville Symphony and the University of Tennessee.  The program had its own full-time administrator and was widely supported in the church community and well beyond.  I commend this model to you ... it is excellent.  You can reach them through the church's web-page.
There is also a similar school here in Harrisburg where I now work, but it was founded by some members and the conductor of the Harrisburg Symphony.  It resides at St. Lawrence Chapel of St. Patrick's Cathedral on State Street, Harrisburg and is known as the State Street Academy.  It is not as well-established as the Knoxville operation, but a superb model also.  Wide support of the best of your musical community is really necessary to make these projects work.  Also, lots of volunteers from the church who will make it a priority to help get children to and from lessons, etc.  Good luck with your venture .... it is well worth the time.
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