The Jessye Norman School of the Arts is getting a new home. Peter Knox IV has donated a two-story, 18,000-square-foot building on Greene Street to the school which offers free instruction in dance, drama, music and art to middle school students who may be economically challenged. Ms. Norman, an internationally-known opera star and native Augustan, will accept the keys to the building at a public ceremony celebrating the new location at 5 p.m. Sunday.
The arts school founded in 2003 was housed at St. John United Methodist Church, 736 Greene Street, through the spring of 2008. The new building, across the street at 739 Greene Street, was the home of Cutno Dance for four years. Cutno moved classes to its Tobacco Road location after its summer session ended.
"We'll have more space, and space that's better suited to the four disciplines we offer," said Ellis Johnson, a member of the board of directors for the Rachel Longstreet Foundation, which sponsors the school. "The students will have a beautiful dance studio and they'll be in a centralized location rather than scattered throughout the building."
Classes will expand to Monday through Friday instead of four days per week, and tutoring may be added, Mr. Johnson said.
Most of the 60 children in the program attend Tubman and East Augusta middle schools. Children from Tutt, Langford and Terrell and Heritage academies also participate. Mr. Johnson said.
Ms. Norman visited the arts school in May. A tour of the new building and a reception will follow Sunday's key presentation.