Mississippi School of the Arts
|Mississippi School of the Arts|
|Motto||•Imagine • Create • Realize•|
|Type||Residential Public High School|
|Principal||Mrs. Jana Perry|
|Location||Brookhaven, Mississippi, United States|
|Colors||Red and Black|
The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) is an upper high school of literary, visual, and performing arts on historic Whitworth College Campus in Brookhaven, Mississippi, about sixty miles (100 km) south of Jackson, Mississippi. MSA teaches 11th and 12th grade students. The site has 6 buildings designated as Mississippi Landmarks, and the campus is also notable as being on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The renovation or construction of the campus facilities, as a historic site, are ongoing and rely upon additional funding to make capital improvements.
The Mississippi School of the Arts provides advanced programs of study in visual arts, vocal music, theatre, dance, and literary arts for "artistically gifted" 11th/12th grade students from throughout Mississippi, within a residential school. The proposed curriculum includes instrumental music majors. The curriculum at MSA focuses on the arts and humanities. A comprehensive residential and academic curriculum prepares students for further studies or for the pursuit of employment. Some non-arts courses (some math, science, etc.) are taught in conjunction with Brookhaven High School, 6 blocks away, to provide a wider curriculum. Students apply for admission during their sophomore year at other schools.
The mission of the MSA school is to provide a "challenging arts education for artistically gifted and talented Mississippi students" located within a residential education environment which encourages integrity, honor, service, and lifelong learning.
The Mississippi School of the Arts envisions a supportive community of diverse learners where the art students "imagine, create, and realize" (school motto) a better world in which to work and live.
MSA provides challenging experiences and advanced studies in arts disciplines supported by an interdisciplinary academic setting.
An emphasis on technological expertise and effective communication are integral components of all courses of study. MSA students will learn to communicate effectively through writing and speaking while focusing on creative expression in their chosen disciplines.
At the site of the present MSA campus, Whitworth College (founded 1858) had been a four-year, all-female, Methodist college from 1858 until 1928. At that point, the school became a liberal arts junior college within the Millsaps College System. However, in 1937 (9 years later), support was withdrawn by the Methodist Conference.
The Whitworth College campus area, over the years, has been a Civil War Confederate hospital, then later a junior college with a reputation for performances by major musicians, and also an evening school for veterans who attended college under the G.I. bill.
After the City of Brookhaven donated the campus to the State of Mississippi for the purpose of MSA in 1999, the State of Mississippi funded the restoration of the campus. The campus is now divided into the Historic Upper Campus and the Contemporary Lower Campus. The upper campus includes: Johnson Institute (where classes are now held), Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium (used for productions, meetings, and available to the public for rental), Enochs Hall, Elizabeth Cottage, Cooper Hall, and the Helen Furlow Scruggs Y-Hut. The lower campus consists of the recently constructed Student Life Center, the dormitories, library, digital arts lab, and cafeteria.
MSA welcomed its inaugural class of students on August 3, 2003.
Most of the faculty works with the literary, visual, and performing arts, although there some math/science professors as well. Many other staff members have been employed as residential counselors, along with food service workers. There are also several employees working in school security.
Dr. Robert Brooks and Tammy Stanford-Williams head the theatre department. Dr. Brooks has his Doctor of Philosophy from Louisiana State University with areas of concentration: Dramatic Theory And Criticism, Dramatic Literature, Theatre History and Chaos Theory.
Stanford-Williams has her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi. She teaches Movement for the Actor and Vocalist, Stage Combat, and Contact Improvisation. She also heads the newly added dance department.
Anne O'Hara and Roberto Bonilla are currently the Visual arts instructors.
Roberto Bonilla teaches painting, photography and digital arts in the Visual Arts Department. He has his MFA with emphasis in Graphic Arts from Louisiana State University and is certified in Art Education.
Patton Rice administers the vocal department. He holds a bachelor's degree in music education from Auburn University, holds a Master of Music Education from Florida State University, and is a distinguished and very experienced performer in both opera and musical theater. He has studied in Vienna, Austria. Before this, he was a professor at Mississippi College. While there, he was in a quartet called "Those Opera People" with three other Mississippi College professors, Ed and Viola Dacus and Dana Rice. Carol Joy Sparkman, the resident accompanist at Mississippi College was their accompanist.
2007-8 was the first year for the Literary Arts department. Dr. Jeanne Lebow, a published poet and former English teacher, is now the Literary Arts instructor. Lebow has a PhD in English/Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi. She also has a 4A Certification in English and 3A Certification in Drama. She also sponsors the MSA Literary Magazine.
Dance was added in the Fall of 2009 and is taught by Tammy Stanford-Williams. She had been awarded “Thad Cochran Distinguished Arts Educator” in dance from the Mississippi Alliance for Arts Education in 2004. Tammy Stanford is also a teaching artist for the Mississippi Arts Commission. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from the University of Southern Mississippi. Also, she holds Mississippi teacher licensure in Dance and Theatre, University of Southern Mississippi clinical teacher certification, and graduate training in Process Pedagogy, the acclaimed teaching methodology by Jacque d'Amboise of New York's National Dance Institute.
Students learn different styles of dance such as Ballet, Modern, and Improvisation. Students also learn stage production including lights and sound.
As construction, space, and finances allow, Instrumental Music and Media Arts will be added as disciplines at the Mississippi School of the Arts.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (August 2010)|
- "Mississippi School of the Arts - General Information", www.msa.k12.ms.us, 2011, pages 2/3, webpage (PDF file): MSA-Gen.
- "MSA Student Handbook", 2010-2011, p.2/5, webpage (PDF file): MSA-Sbook.
- "Quality Professionals & Special Schools", Mississippi Department of Education, ms.us, 2010, web: MS2.
- "Mississippi Civil Rights Project", 2011, webpage: MSC82.