10 Facts To Know About CSA

  • 1. We are in our 20th year. The Community School of the Arts first opened its doors for full operation in September, 1992, beginning with 22 students, 2 piano instructors, and one full-time administrator. Today, we maintain 152 students, 14 faculty members, and 2 full-time administrators at our main campus in downtown Knoxville. We serve an additional 50-60 at-risk and homeless children per week through offsite outreach programs with other child services organizations, such as the Crutcher Memorial Youth Enrichment Center, Montgomery Village Child Development Center, and the Knox County Homeless Tutoring Project.
  • 2. We offer all artistic disciplines to children and youngsters, ages 6 - 18, in an after-school program five days a week (Monday - Friday): piano, strings, brass, wind, guitar and other traditional instruments; musical ensembles; modern dance; creative writing and drama; and visual arts. Students are encouraged to enroll in up to four different disciplines per year to find out what makes them "tick."
    Side-By-Side is an adjunct apprenticeship program that each year pairs selected students in the visual arts program with a professional, working artist in his or her studio. Artists and students work side-by-side to create original pieces of art, which are then displayed in a full-scale exhibit at Bennett Galleries and Company at the end of the school year. Participating artists for the 2010-2011 program include Bill Capshaw, Susana Esrequis, Richard Jolley, Peter Rose, Tommie Rush and Andy Saftel.
  • 3. We hire professional faculty, all of whom are required to hold credentials and/or degrees in their chosen fields, to actively practice their disciplines in the community, and to be dedicated to the overall mission of the School. The faculty also donates a significant amount of time and talent to their students throughout year. Permanent faculty includes two tenured members of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, pianist Carol Zinavage and violinist Lisa Muci.
  • 4. We are fully accredited by the National Guild for Community Arts Education (NGCAE). After only two years of operation, the School received full accreditation, making it one of only three such accredited institutions in the state of Tennessee, the other two being the Cadek Conservatory at the University of Tennessee and the Rhodes School of Music at Rhodes College in Memphis.
  • 5. We are nationally recognized. Community School of the Arts has been recognized as “one of the top arts- and humanities- based programs in the country” by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, and was one of 35 finalists for the 2010 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards for its Side-By-Side Visual Arts Apprentice Program.
  • 6. Scholarships are awarded strictly by financial need. Students attend on full scholarships that cover all lessons, classes, instruments and materials for the entire school year. We do not offer “sliding scale” tuition.
  • 7. We pride ourselves on student longevity. Returning students have priority for enrollment every year, and, as a result, student turnover at the Community School of the Arts is minimal: the average length of enrollment for any student entering our doors is seven years.
  • 8. New students usually come to us through recommendations by church leaders, school principals, case workers, youth counselors, etc., but any child or family with a demonstrated need and desire is considered for enrollment and financial aid and is encouraged to apply regardless of current course availability.
  • 9. Our students graduate. Seventeen of the original class of 22 students graduated from the program as seniors, all of whom have gone on to higher education. Since then the School has worked in conjunction with ProjectGRAD of Knoxville to achieve the goal of 100% graduation rate among the student body and to encourage and support students to aspire to higher education by establishing the Ray Hayworth Continuing Education Fund and the Bob and Diana Samples Rotary Club of Knoxville Scholarship. Recent graduates from 2009 and 2010 currently attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and at Chattanooga, Carson-Newman College, Samford University, Hampton University, Lee University, Tennessee Technological University, and Pellissippi State Community College.
  • 10. We have operated in the black every year of our existence. The Community School of the Arts prides itself on its history of fiscal responsibility, and is serious about its accountability to its “investors”, i.e. our donors. Funding comes from both public and private sources; individual gifts accounted for 33% of contributed income in 2009-2010.