Following the City of Lawrenceville’s groundbreaking on its new Performing Arts Center and the expanded home of Gwinnett’s only professional theatre—the Aurora Theatre, the city, and Gwinnett County Public Schools have announced its partnership to expand arts education opportunities.
The School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett High School, a themed “school within a school” experience, will begin offering programs in the fall of 2020 with a state-of-the-art facility opening in 2021.
CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks says, “The City of Lawrenceville and the Aurora Theatre are leaders in the arts community and we are excited to partner with them to bring the School of the Arts to life. This will have a positive impact on the students at Central Gwinnett High School, other students in Gwinnett County, and the greater Gwinnett arts community.”
“Lawrenceville’s vision calls for a diverse and substantial talent pool within a regional epicenter of community, and the investment in this School of the Arts will move us closer to that goal,” said Lawrenceville Mayor Judy Jordan Johnson. “Good schools make good communities and we are excited about this opportunity at Central Gwinnett and grateful for the commitment of our City and Gwinnett County Public Schools to make it a reality.”
Central Gwinnett High School Principal Shane Orr and his team have worked with Gwinnett County Public Schools’ Fine Arts Director David Dubose to create an exciting program design. Through research and site visits to other Fine Arts schools, the team has developed an overview of the program and is working on the details regarding the student experience.
Currently, Central Gwinnett High School has a Fine Arts and Communications Academy that serves approximately 325 students. This academy will be greatly enhanced and the School of the Arts will provide a rigorous and engaging curriculum focused on three key areas:
• Performing Arts— Theatre, Television and Film, Dance, and Music
• Visual Arts— 2D-, 3D-, and Digital Art, and Fashion
• Technology for the Arts— Film and Broadcasting, Theatre Technology, Sound Recording, and MIDI technology
The School of the Arts’ college-preparatory curriculum will combine required coursework with expanded fine arts classes, internships, and work experiences for students at a pre-professional and professional level.
A unique feature of the School of the Arts will be the opportunity for select students to study in a Fine Arts Conservatory setting. Admittance and participation in the Conservatory program at the School of the Arts will be determined through auditions, interviews, and juried presentations and performances. The signature Conservatory program will provide students with expanded course opportunities, include regular work with industry professionals, as well as participation in internships and work-based experiences.
In addition, the location of the School of the Arts at Central Gwinnett High School will expand arts experiences for students throughout the Central Gwinnett Cluster (Jordan and Moore middle schools and Jenkins, Lawrenceville, Simonton, and Winn Holt elementary schools).
Partnerships with the City of Lawrenceville, the Aurora Theatre, arts organizations, and postsecondary schools will be a hallmark of this new program, providinge students many opportunities to engage with artists, businesses, and the larger community. To Principal Shane Orr these partnerships are a key to the new School of the Arts program. He explains, “With the help of our community partners we will create a unique school experience… one that positions our students to pursue their passion for the arts, hones their skills, and prepares them for their next step.”
About the Facility:
Located on the current Central Gwinnett campus, the School of the Arts is being designed to meet the needs of students and the arts community. In addition to expanding the lobby for the school’s main theatre, plans are to add a new black box theatre; two new visual arts classrooms; a computer art lab; new band, orchestra, and choral areas; a MIDI lab; a small ensemble classroom; a recording studio; an expanded dance studio; and a new broadcast production room. Key to the facility’s design will be additional entrances to provide greater access to the facility to professional artists and performers and postsecondary partners.