Various studies have shown that exposure to the arts has a direct correlation to student success. Students who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely to graduate college than their peers with no arts education and have a dropout rate that is five times lower. Increasing access to such an invaluable catalyst to student success and artistic development is an integral part of the Woodruff Arts Center’s mission to create a lasting impact on our community.
Educational experiences across nearly every artistic medium are available at the Arts Center. The educational programs at the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and High Museum of Art foster the innovation, creativity, and critical thinking skills that students need to be successful. Students of all ages can participate in camps, classes, and workshops to hone their artistic skills.
In addition to the amazing opportunities and pipeline programs that we offer on campus, the Arts Center extends comprehensive education programs out into the community, serving 150 out of 159 total counties in Georgia. The Arts Center also prioritizes supporting educators, providing them with resources and creative outlets so that they can discover new and exciting ways to bring art into their classrooms.
Through in-school residencies to accredited professional development opportunities for teachers, we reach every type of student, from the very young to lifelong learners. Read about our extensive arts education curriculum below.
Education Programs at the Alliance
The Alliance Theatre’s comprehensive educational programming collectively serves over 100,000 students each year. From arts integration in local schools to specialized mentorship programs, the Alliance has built a solid network for creative development.
Alliance Theatre Institute
Through partnerships with school districts, the Alliance Theatre Institute delivers residencies, workshops, and professional learning opportunities to students and educators across the state. Designed to integrate theater-based instruction into school curriculum and classroom goals in various grade levels and content areas, this initiative directly results in academic success and emotional growth in students. Teachers can also network and collaborate with professional artists who can aid them in utilizing art forms to positively impact school communities.
Palefsky Collision Project
For over two decades, the Palefsky Collision Project has empowered diverse teens to dive deep into a source text and create an original theater production under the guidance of a professional playwright and director. During this dynamic project, 20 high school students assemble to unpack the source material, engage in an intensive series of theater workshops with mentors and guest artists, and explore how the text’s themes apply to their 21st century lives.
The Spelman Leadership Fellows Program provides the next generation of women of color with the necessary skills and training to take on leadership roles in the arts field. Each year, three seniors from Spelman College work as interns in every area of the theater’s business. This initiative serves as a direct pipeline to a professional career in the arts. At the end of the internship period, the Alliance selects one fellow to work as a staff member for two years.
Education Programs at the Symphony
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra prioritizes making musical education accessible to all aspiring musicians. The ASO’s mission to break down barriers to participation in classical music is realized through its outreach to underserved communities and focus on networking opportunities for the next generation of artists.
Talent Development Program
The nationally acclaimed Talent Development Program (TDP) provides 25 Black and Latinx students across grade levels 5 to 12 with the highest level of musical training. TDP Fellows receive free weekly music lessons, intensive mentorship, performance opportunities, and scholarship funding. More than a hundred Fellows have continued their flourishing musical careers at top music schools and conservatories across the country, including The Julliard School, The Peabody Institute, and The Curtis Institute of Music.
Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra
Established in 1974, the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra (ASYO) recruits advanced young musicians and provides them with a competitive environment crucial for artistic growth and a platform to showcase both individual and collaborative skills. Each year, more than 300 students between the grades of 8 and 12 audition for the ASYO. Members tackle a challenging season of orchestral repertoire and contemporary works and receive exclusive invitations to participate in readings and master classes with the top artists in the instrumental music industry.
The ASO joined forces with the Georgia Educators Association to establish Level Up – Virtual Education Series, which is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of musical artists by creating tutorials for students to learn directly from expert ASO musicians. All string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments are represented, and students can access tutorials easily online and revisit lessons anytime to develop their unique sound.
Education Programs at the High
The High Museum of Art excels in creating a balanced curriculum that caters to learners and art enthusiasts of all ages. From youth-oriented programs like Toddler Thursdays/Saturdays to stimulating conversations for inquiring minds, the High’s programming is versatile and reflective of our diverse community.
Through the Lifelong Learning initiative, the High seeks to become a more inclusive space where creative adults ages fifty and older can make lasting connections, with both art and their equally passionate peers. Adult learners can participate in artmaking workshops, art conservation tours, and community celebrations. The Lifelong Learning Celebration in 2022 welcomed nearly 500 visitors to the Museum and offered seven different artistic programs.
The High is dedicated to early development and it provides programming designed specifically for the very young (15 months to three years old) and their caregivers. Toddler Thursdays occur weekly, engaging children’s creativity through self-guided tours, deep dives into artists and artwork, exciting art-making activities, and more. Due to the program’s continued success and popularity, the High also launched Toddler Saturdays, which recur on the first Saturday of every month, in October 2022.
A year-long program, Teen Team at the High is an ensemble of 15 creative high school students who share a common interest in art and community engagement. Participants build cooperation and problem-solving skills while they interact with art, culture, and history. This program offers early exposure to the wide range of artistic career paths. Members get exclusive, behind-the-scenes access to the Museum, and opportunities to plan events and public programming.
Collaborative Education Programs at the Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center works in tandem with the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and High Museum of Art to make sure that no learner is left behind and gaps in representation are filled. Students from all walks of life can find something at the Arts Center that sparks creative joy.
A collaborative event hosted by the Alliance, ASO, and the High, Toddler Takeover welcomed more than 1,500 children age 0 to 5 and their caregivers to our campus in 2022. The two-day festival featured performances from the Kathy & Ken Bernhardt Theatre for the Very Young, artmaking at the High, and an outdoor performance organized by the Alliance, ASO, and Terminus Ballet.
Every year, the Woodruff Arts Center welcomes Georgia’s educators onto our campus and engages in meaningful discussions about the future of arts education across the state and beyond. The Educator Conference celebrates an invaluable group of professionals in our community. This annual event activates our campus so that educators have the space and courage to share their passionate views and reflections from the year. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conference, and the theme is Energize through Arts Integration. Learn more about the 2023 Educator Conference.
Cristo Rey Internships
The Woodruff Arts Center participates in the city-wide initiative of the Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School’s innovative work study program. Students work in various departments across the Alliance, ASO, the High, and Woodruff Center Services, and garner valuable working experience in the art realm.