Potomac Arts Academy Expands to Offer Year-Round Arts Instruction

Posted: August 20, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

Traditionally offering instruction only in the summer, the Potomac Arts Academy will now feature high-caliber arts instruction year round.

The Potomac Arts Academy, a program offered through Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), aims to enrich the lives of community members of all ages, skill levels and socio-economic backgrounds by providing classes in a variety of artistic disciplines.

The program began many years ago as a series of summer programs offered through the Music Department and was taught by Mason faculty and graduate students. William Reeder, dean of CVPA, wanted to make the program year round to enhance the role of the Fairfax community at Mason.

“By offering classes year round, Mason will be able to establish an even stronger bond with the community,” says Libby Curtis, manager of the Potomac Arts Academy. “Although it is currently an experimental time, we hope to learn what the needs of the community are and how we can continue to meet those needs.”

As the program transitions to a year-round schedule, classes will be offered on a semester basis beginning this September with music. Dance and visual arts classes are scheduled to begin in January 2009.

In addition, the program has established new partnerships with several active area churches, including the Church of the Good Shepherd and Truro Church. This partnership allows the program to expand its offerings to the surrounding community while holding most of its classes at the churches.

With classes for all levels and age groups, the program has also developed a partnership with Encore Creativity for Older Adults, an organization dedicated to providing an accessible artistic environment for adults 55 and up.

Some of the classes offered this past summer included vocal institute, a piano pedagogy seminar, string chamber connection and a choral conducting workshop. Jim Carroll, assistant professor of jazz studies, taught one of the more popular classes, the summer jazz workshop. The class invited serious musicians of all ages and abilities to work with members of the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra in performance, big band rehearsals and classroom settings.

Another popular class included the summer woodwind camp, taught by Judith Lapple, professor of flute, and aimed at increasing sight reading skills. The camp also addressed performance anxiety and included several guest artists and master classes.

Fees for each class vary.

For more information about the Potomac Academy, visit the web site or contact Curtis at 703-993-1380.

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