About Us

Hailed as “one of the top arts- and humanities-based programs in the country” by the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the Community School of the Arts was founded to provide free quality instruction in the visual and performing arts to children and young people who otherwise would not be able to afford them. Now in its 19th year of full operation, the School provides free lessons and classes in the disciplines of piano, strings, wind, brass and percussion instruments, visual arts, modern dance, and creative writing in an after-school program conducted by professional, part-time faculty five days a week (Monday though Friday).

Modern Dance Ensemble Post-Performance

Textile Weavings for Knoxville Utilities Board

Montgomery Village Child Development Center

The Community School of the Arts currently serves 152 children and young people, ages 6 - 18, at its “main campus” in downtown Knoxville, and reaches an additional 50-60 at-risk children per week through offsite provider partnerships with other service organizations, including the Crutcher Memorial Youth Enrichment Center, the Knox County Homeless Tutoring Project, and the Montgomery Village Child Development Center. One of the hallmarks of the School’s ongoing programming is Side-By-Side, an innovative apprentice program that pairs students with professional artists in their studios for a period of four to five months each school year. The Side-By-Side Visual Arts Apprentice Program was chosen as one of 35 Finalists for the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards (formerly the "Coming Up Taller" award) out of more than 450 nominees from across the country.

During the course of the last 19 years, the School developed a record of long-term service and consistency that its founders never foresaw when the School opened its doors in 1992. With the average length of enrollment now at 7 years for any student, we are able to chart the progress and development of each student throughout the course of his or her education. And as our students graduate and go on to other education and career opportunities, we are able to provide scholarship assistance through the Ray Hayworth Continuing Education Fund and the Bob and Diana Samples Downtown Rotary Club of Knoxville Scholarship.

Angela Story Watson, CSA 1993-2003, solos
with the North Carolina School of the Arts
Orchestra in 2009.

Master Chef Charles Myers, CSA 1992-2000,
conducts first summer culinary camp
for students in 2006.