Savannah’s Creative Continuum

Being a performing arts major is no longer reserved for the college-age student. Taking a lesson from SCAD, two local primary education institutions are learning that by encouraging their students to take an early leap into an arts education, they are landing bounds ahead. Savannah is the City of Arts. She has long cherished her history of grand antebellum architecture, the timeless songs of Johnny Mercer, and the Savannah College of Art and Design’s inestimable contributions. Founded in 1978, SCAD has secured its place as one of the finest arts colleges in the world. In 1998, inspired by the university’s success, the Savannah Chatham County Public School System opened its first high school dedicated to the performing and visual arts: the Savannah Arts Academy. The school occupies the old Savannah High School building, and in their first year, the school welcomed 397 students. Burgeoning artists could now receive a comprehensive arts education before going to college. The school has been enormously successful since the day it opened. But what if kids could start even younger? How young is too young? There are schools right here in Savannah that require Latin studies from kindergarten through eighth grade, which some experts claim accelerates virtually every aspect of cognitive development. Perhaps the same be said for the arts.

Written by Clark Byron

Photography by Zac Henderson