Pinellas County Center for the Arts

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Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA)
Program Administrator Michael Vasallo
School type Public / Magnet School
Religious affiliation None
Founded 1984
Location St. Petersburg, FL, USA
Enrollment 500
Faculty 39
Campus surroundings Urban
Mascot (None)
School colors Silver and Black

The Pinellas County Center for the Arts (PCCA) is a center for excellence in the visual and performing arts in the U.S. state of Florida. It provides a comprehensive educational program of artistic, academic, and creative development, and preparation through pre-professional arts training toward advanced study at the collegiate level.

Program at a Glance[edit]

  • Four periods are academic core classes; four are classes in arts concentration
  • Faculty are practicing professional artists who have a passion for sharing their expertise with students
  • Brand new, state-of-the-art facility- the largest building project in Pinellas County School history
  • State-of-the-art professional blackbox theatre
  • Special master classes with visiting artists
  • Full production season
  • Frequent performance opportunities
  • Involvement in the arts community of the greater Tampa Bay area
  • Daily learning from professionals in the arts
  • Audition/resume/portfolio preparation
  • Scholarship opportunities

History[edit]

In 1979, John Blank, an administrator in the Pinellas County Schools, felt a need for an emphasis in the arts within the school system. Through his leadership and guidance, a preliminary survey of the County's students, facilities, and communities was taken and Mr. Stan Lee Boss was sent to Dallas, Texas for an on-site visit of their visual and performing arts schools.

A need for an artistically talented program was recognized and several teachers, supervisors and county administrators undertook the task of applying for a federal research grant. With the approval of the school board, a full time director was provided to work with three Gibbs High School arts instructors, three supervisors and an administrator to prepare a model project for the artistically talented students for the State of Florida. After some thirty on-site visits to well-established secondary schools and programs, a model was written for the State of Florida, published and distributed to all sixty-seven county school superintendents and known arts supervisors.

Dr. Scott Rose, with the approval of the School Board, chose as one of his five year objectives the development and implementation of both the Artistically Talented Program (now known as PCCA) at Gibbs High School and a Program for the Academically Talented (now known as the International Baccalaureate Program at St. Petersburg High School).

After several years of hard work and dedication by those originally involved in implementing PCCA, this school of the arts officially began in late August 1984. There were approximately 200 9th and 10th graders starting school; it was hoped that eventually the student population would reach 400. As of today, the number of students attending PCCA is about 500, fairly equally divided among the four major disciplines, Dance, Theatre, Music, and Visual Art.

The Program[edit]

The PCCA curriculum is centered on individualized instruction and concentrating on the student's selected artistic major. Through blocking courses with two to three hour segments of time, the student has the opportunity to develop a work in depth while the teacher is afforded time to work individually with the students as well as provide guest artists and field trips without impinging on the student's daily four academic classes.

Artistic Disciplines[edit]

Dance is divided into Modern Dance and Ballet. Music has Vocal, Instrumental, and Piano. The Theatre program is segmented into Performance Theatre, Technical Theatre, Literary Theatre, and Musical Theatre. Visual Arts, the most populated discipline, has many phases including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, and ceramics. All instructors are practicing artists who also serve as mentors to their students. Local, regional, and nationally acclaimed professional artists conduct master classes as well as perform at the school. A high percentage of students earn scholarship money to further their education.

Admissions[edit]

Admittance to PCCA is through application, audition, and acceptance. Auditions are held in the middle part of each school year so that the accepted student has time to be properly scheduled for 9th grade.

Recent news[edit]

Pinellas County Center for the Arts students were selected to perform the musical, "Songs for a New World" at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland. This is an outstanding honor as only 50 schools in the country are selected to participate. The cast, directed by Keven Renken and Musically Directed by Karen Bail consisted of Blaine Krauss, Anthony Murphy, Ben Jenkins, Erin Flemming, Jackson Crawford, Kim Gaesser, Hannah Barrens, Stephanie Lehman & Catiana Bello. The Technical Director was Wes Reid and technicians on the trip were Susie Knowles, Sarah Escarraz and Christina Longhurst.

The vocal department's Choral Arts Ensemble was chosen to perform along with Kenny Rogers on his Christmas and Hits concert in the winter of 2009.

Prominent alumni[edit]

Theater

Visual Art

Dance

  • Nicole Dalia - Randy James Dance Works. Elisa Monte Dance. Ballet for Young Audiences and Repertory Ballet Company.
  • Carmela Gallace - Principal dancer with the Moiseyev Dance Company in Moscow, Russia, and “Riverdance”.
  • Henry Jackson - David Parsons Dance Company.
  • Kelly King - Radio City Rockette dance captain, Resident dance instructor for Broadway Theatre Project.
  • Michelle Kuusela - Tampa/Colorado Ballet, the New England Ballet and St. Petersburg Concert Ballet. Faculty member at the Academy of Ballet Arts Inc.
  • Ephraim Sykes - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Broadway productions of "Memphis", "The Little Mermaid" and "Newsies"
  • Alana Smith - Dance Repertory Theatre Company
  • Tammi Ward - The Atlanta Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Florida West Ballet.
  • Jeff Wolfe - BalletMet, has worked with renowned choreographers including Stanton Welch and Randy Duncan.
  • Rebecca Minkoff - Designer, Rebecca Minkoff
  • Calvin Royal - American Ballet Theater - Current Company
  • Rikki McKinney - Model and Choreographer

Literary Arts

  • Jibade (Khalil) Huffman - The author of 19 Names for Our Band. His fiction, poetry, and photography have appeared in NOON, Fence, Encyclopedia, and the Boston Review.

Music

  • Joe Brotherton - Jazz Trumpet, Freelance and with the band Central Heat
  • Thomas F. Chelf, Jr. - Orchestral Percussionist, Has performed with Florida Symphony Orchestra, Valley Symphony Orchestra in South Texas, for President Bill Clinton and Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.
  • Toly Chichov - bass player for This Transmission.
  • Justin Clay Perry - Keyboardist/Arranger on albums by the likes of Beyoncé, Christina Aguilera and Michael Bolton (Class of '92)
  • Kevin Rivard - French Horn for the Florida Orchestra, Winner of the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Competition
  • Jerrid Robinson - Clarinetist in the Marine Corps band.
  • Rachael Sutliff - vocalist, appeared on Clash of the Choirs on NBC with Patti LaBelle and Patti LaBelle's Christmas Special. Sutliff regularly performs with Patti LaBelle.

External links[edit]

References[edit]