Potomac Arts Academy Offers Classes Year Round

Posted: February 6, 2009 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

As a community outreach branch of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA), the Potomac Arts Academy provides the surrounding community with quality arts instruction. The academy has just begun offering classes year round.

The program began many years ago as a series of summer programs offered through the Music Department and aims to enrich community members of all ages, skill levels and socioeconomic backgrounds by providing classes in several artistic disciplines.

“By offering classes year round, Mason will be able to continue to create a stronger bond with professional artists and performers as well as the surrounding community in a real and tangible way,” says Libby Curtis, manager of the Potomac Arts Academy.

“We want to educate the community about what Mason does in both the academic and professional worlds.”

The program works with several area churches, where many of the classes are held, and Encore Creativity for Older Adults, an organization dedicated to providing an accessible artistic environment for adults age 55 and older. In addition, the program has partnered with Little Hands Kindermusik, which offers music exploration classes for young children.

The Potomac Arts Academy has also created a relationship with Hunters Woods Elementary School for the Arts and Sciences in Reston, Va. With an emphasis on stimulating intellectual curiosity through experience-based programs, the Potomac Arts Academy will offer arts programs to students who cannot afford or don’t have the opportunity to participate in arts instruction.

Some of the classes currently being offered include voice and piano lessons, a percussion seminar and a composition workshop. The program has also introduced several new classes, including beginning strings and beginning guitar. These classes will introduce children to the basics of string instruments and guitar fundamentals.

“Since most of the classes and workshops are taught or supervised by professors who are nationally or internationally known, we are able to offer the community the highest quality of programming that is available locally,” says Curtis.

The Potomac Arts Academy has begun offering special programs and expanded its summer course offerings as well.

These include a Kod├íly training workshop for music teachers; musical theater workshops; a guitar rendezvous workshop for classically trained guitar students; a drumline and color guard clinic; and a children’s concert featuring the string trio Virginia Virtuosi.

According to Curtis, the feedback about the program has been positive, with students and parents pleased and enthusiastic about the offerings. In addition, she notes that the Mason faculty members who teach the classes are delighted to see their work affect the community in such a positive way.

While the program will continue to look for ways to serve the community, the next area of focus will be on fund raising and obtaining scholarship money to better serve the entire community.

The classes are taught by Mason faculty and graduate students. Mason faculty and staff members receive a 10 percent discount on Potomac Arts Academy classes and programs.

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

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