By Idrissa N Snider
For The Birmingham Times
The Alabama School of Fine Arts this year marks the school’s 50th anniversary and kicks off its Founder’s Day Reunion Celebration June 23-25.
The celebration comes as schools are cutting art educational programs across the country. Many cite a lack of funding as the primary reason. However, studies show that students involved in artistic extracurricular activities receive higher test scores, have a better sense of self, and develop strong relational skills in other areas of life.
ASFA is dedicated to ensuring that pupils in grades seven through 12 continue to gain a quality educational and fine arts experience in the areas of creative writing, dance, math & science, music, theatre, and visual arts.
One such student is Bryanna Mitchell, 18, of Birmingham who is headed to New York City, as dance apprentice for the world renown Dance Theatre of Harlem. In the fall, Mitchell will be attending the University of Indiana majoring in Ballet & Arts Administration.
Mitchell started dance when she was just four years old, but says that she was reluctant to attempt ballet. Eventually, one of her dance instructors convinced her to give it a try, and now it is Mitchell’s passion. After one unsuccessful audition, Mitchell regrouped and was accepted into the school during her 8th grade year.
“ASFA has taught me how to carry myself. People say that I have poise; ASFA prepared me for the outside world,” said Mitchell, who was also excited to note that she would be in the company of famous African-American dancers like Misty Copeland and Michaela Deprince. She said schools like the ASFA helps diversify these fields.
Nevertheless, Mitchell’s story is just one of many. This year’s 70 graduates were awarded $13 million in merit scholarships. Ninety-three percent of the senior class received these grants in comparison to the national average which is 15 percent. Also, the class of 2017 was accepted into 124 colleges and universities around the world.
For more information on ASFA’s visit www.asfaschool.org