By Howard Pousner
On the same week in which the High Museum of Art announced a three-year collaboration with Gainesville’s Brenau University,announced 5/18 the Woodruff Arts Center has said that it has taken a step toward building a conservatory for Atlanta Public School students.
Woodruff president and CEO Joe Bankoff and schools superintendent Beverly Hall signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Woodruff and APS this monthmay to plan and create the Atlanta Studio Conservatory. The conservatory is envisioned as a place where 9th through 12th grade students could prepare for careers as professional performing artists or “trail blaze new creative frontiers and pioneer original 21st century opportunities,” according to aWoodruff press release.
The Woodruff included plans for an arts magnet school or music conservatory in its 25-year master plan unveiled last June.’09 In a master plan model, the facility was placed atop the MARTA Arts Center station, space for which the rapid transit authority holds the rights.Woodruff vice president Virginia Vann said building above the station remains “an option that will be examined as part of the feasibility plan.”
The Woodruff and its four divisions, which includes Young Audiences since 2005, have made arts in education increasingly core to its mission in recent years. Though there is no funding or time-frame for the conservancy, theWoodruff and APS launched a precursor program, the Atlanta Public Schools Summer Academy, in 2009. The Woodruff will host the academy again this summer.
“Working with the Atlanta Public Schools to plan the Atlanta Studio Conservatory project will create lasting partnerships with APS and train a new generation of artists to contribute to the Atlanta community,” Bankoff said.
Meanwhile, the Woodruff has announced the election of 11 new members to its board of trustees:
>Peter Adruszkiewicz, president, Kaiser Permanente
>Thomas J. Asher, president, the Rich Foundation
>W. Stanley Blackburn, partner, Kilpatrick Stockton
>Joseph H. Estes, managing director, business services investment banking, Raymond James & Associates
>William F. Kimble, office managing partner, Atlanta KPMG LLP
>Christopher Klaus, CEO, Kaneva Inc.
>Jane D. Lanier, Sartain Lanier Family Foundation
>G. P. “Bud” Peterson, president, Georgia Institute of Technology
>Dan Reardon, president and CEO, North Highland Company
>Darrick “Devyne” Stephens, president and CEO, Upfront Entertainment Group
>Geri Thomas, state president of Georgia and Atlanta market president, Bank of America
“We are grateful that such distinguished individuals are willing to contribute their leadership, their time and their resources to supportWoodruff Arts Center and join in furthering its vital community mission,” said Woodruff board chair Phil Kent, chairman and CEO of Turner Broadcasting System. “Our new board members understand that it is our collective responsibility to help make the center an even greater public resource for our city.”