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Committee Report | May 2011

Friday, May 6, 2011 - 11:40pm

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Cultural Education Committee


Jeffrey Cannell


Summer School of the Arts


May 6, 2011




Issue for Discussion

Provide the Cultural Education Committee with background on the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA).

Reason(s) for Consideration

Responsibility for managing the NYSSSA has been transferred to the Office of Cultural Education from the Office of P-12 Education.

Background Information

The summer of 2011 will mark the 42nd year of operation of the NYSSSA program, which is recognized as one of the finest programs of its kind in the nation. Over 15,000 high school students have become part of this unique summer experience. Alumni surveys attest to the success of NYSSSA in helping high school students with special talents pursue careers in the fine and performing arts.  NYSSSA provides opportunities to New York State high school students who qualify through auditions.

In 2011, NYSSA will consist of the following seven schools:

  1. Theatre – Adelphi University, Garden City, NY
  2. Ballet – Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
  3. Modern Dance -- Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
  4. Visual arts – SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, NY
  5. Media Arts – SUNY Oswego, Owego, NY
  6. Orchestral studies– Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
  7. Choral Studies – SUNY Fredonia, Fredonia, NY

The schools of NYSSSA are directed and staffed by internationally acclaimed artists and companies such as the New York City Ballet and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Students work in small groups with students of similar abilities and in one-on-one sessions with professionals.  NYSSSA’s goal is to provide intensive, preprofessional training programs for New York State’s most gifted and motivated young artists who are considering careers in the arts or entertainment industries. It provides intensive training in an environment in which students experience the rigorous discipline of the daily life of a professional artist. Tuition assistance is available to those students who qualify by audition but cannot afford the tuition.

In 2010, NYSSSA enrolled 436 students representing 62 counties. Twenty percent of the students were from Nassau and Suffolk counties, 13.3% of them were from the five boroughs of New York City and 11% were from Erie and Niagara Counties.  Together, the upstate counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Oneida, Onondaga and Monroe were represented by 18.5% of the participants.

In 2011, the School of Jazz will not be part of NYSSSA but will be operated privately by Skidmore College.  The total cost for operating the seven schools in 2011 is estimated to be $1.4 million of which $0.7 million will be funded by tuition and the balance will be funded by the Cultural Education account revenue and by raising private donations.