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Incredible Young Talent

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The following post is by Carrie Nath, the Executive Director of The Governor's School for the Arts.

Kentucky's heritage of art and artists is unparalleled, just like the commitment of The Kentucky Center Governor's School for the Arts to Kentucky's next generation of young artists.

Every summer for the past twenty-seven years, GSA and our faculty of professional artist/educators have guided over two hundred of Kentucky's finest young artists through three weeks of incredibly intense (and incredibly fun) arts instruction. Promising high school sophomores and juniors may audition in nine different arts' disciplines: Architecture, Creative Writing, Dance, Drama, Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre, New Media, Visual Art and Vocal Music.

This summer we begin a new journey on the campus of Centre College. 1,786 students auditioned throughout the month of March for a total of 223 cherished positions (GSA is offered free of charge at a cost of $ 3,800 per student).The 2014 student body hails from 48 counties and will immerse themselves in a conservatory style schedule working from 9 am - 10 pm every day of the week (with Sundays off to attend religious services, or maybe sleep in!) Throughout the course of the program students will work, not only in their own discipline, but in a highly diversified multi-disciplinary fashion. New media students will cast drama students in film shorts with soundtracks created by instrumental music; architects will create spaces inspired by creative writer's poetry and prose; and visual artists will create the chapbook covers for creative writing utilizing printmaking as the medium. We structure the program this way because, just like the Prichard Committee and our sister organizations, GSP and GSE, we know that the student of today needs to be able to collaborate, solve problems creatively and be innovators and entrepreneurs.

Many evenings are filled with fully produced productions: Trish Clark and her one woman show about Mary Todd Lincoln (written by GSA drama faculty member Bo List); The Brown Dance Project and Moving Collective Modern dance companies; the female percussion trio, Caixa Trio, out of University of Tennessee; and, of course, Ben Sollee. All of these artists provide master classes as well as productions. Every morning presenters from all over the world are expanding the student's understanding of different art forms and ways they can utilize their abilities in today's workforce. Some other highlights include: our summer college fair will host over 40 colleges and universities from across the nation, jazz pianist and arts humanitarian Harry Pickens will take the students through ongoing leadership training and the students from Danville, KY will provide community service activities to organizations who need support. GSA's programming illustrates that we are constantly inspiring the students to take risks, expand their horizons and give back.

We are here for the long haul. From the 2014 National Council Metropolitan Opera Audition winner Amanda Woodbury Bodine to Sean Starowitz, a visual arts alumnae invited to present at the national Americans for the Arts Conference in Washington, D.C. about integrating the arts into the cultural landscape of urban design, our alumni thrive in part because they have been given a lifetime network and support system through GSA.

Graduates of the summer program are eligible for a host of scholarships and educational opportunities in all fields of study. Representatives from as many as 80 colleges and universities across the country audition and interview graduates in the fall during GSA's College and Career Day. Plus, twenty-six colleges and universities welcome GSA alums with scholarships, once they've completed the program. Additionally, twice a year alumni can apply for up to $2,500.00 from the Toyota Alumni Fund supporting professional development over the length of their careers.

Our alumni rock:

  • 97% go on to college
  • 99% earn scholarships
  • GSA Alumni average total scholarship value = $59,000
  • GSA alumni score 7.4 points higher on the ACT than the national average

Next year, with great thanks to the Kentucky Legislature and the continued growth of our stakeholder support, we will be able to increase our numbers to over 250 students--giving even more deserving students this transformative opportunity.

If you would like to celebrate everything these students will learn this summer, please join us on Final Day on the Centre College campus Saturday, July 12, 2014 from noon - 5:00 p.m. The day is infused with art happening everywhere. You are sure to leave inspired and excited about Kentucky's future!

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