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Baltimore School for the Arts: A Look at One of Our Inspirations

Updated: Aug 15, 2019

It is no coincidence that nearly half of the Atlanta School for the Arts founding team graduated from Baltimore School for the Arts. This powerhouse boasts a 99% annual graduation rate, positioning it as one of the top five schools in Baltimore City and Maryland. It is the only school in the top five of Baltimore City that does not recruit students based on prior academic experience or behavior.

The secret to their success is simple: the school is anchored in the belief that the most talented youth in Baltimore will achieve the highest expectations when they are supported in cultivating their art. With more than 180 minutes of arts instruction daily from local artists, BSFA graduates enter conservatories and arts professions with critical skills and foundational understanding of their discipline, an established arts network and social capital in their field, dedicated support to college and career planning that includes financial literacy, and a rigorous academic program that culminates with a diploma. BSFA graduates have refined their art not just in training, but in frequent performances, like the annual Expressions event that showcases students' work across all four disciplines.

The school has cultivated the artistic talents of alumni like Jada Pinkett Smith (actor), Antonio Hart (musician), Tracie Thoms (actor), Christian Siriano (designer), Tupac Shakur (musician), Josh Charles (actor), and thousands of others who have gone on to successful careers in film, music, theater, dance, and visual arts. Through a small school setting wherein every student builds strong relationships with teachers and mentors, robust funding for state of the art arts equipment and materials, and a network of high-performing arts professionals, the school has positioned its graduates to be immediately competitive in their fields. And find yourself in a room with any number of BSFA graduates, and you will quickly see that no group of alumni has a greater fondness for their alma mater.

Atlanta School for the Arts is grateful for the support and guidance of successful, established arts professional preparatory programs like Baltimore School for the Arts in the development of a vision for a similar school in Atlanta. From curricular approaches to budget assumptions to audition criteria, the founding team is continuing to collaborate with BSFA alumni and staff to ensure the Atlanta School for the Arts will deliver the same predictably high levels of success BSFA has earned.

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