Mississippi School of the Arts

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Mississippi School of the Arts
Mississippi School of the Arts logo.jpg
Brookhaven, Mississippi
United States
Type Residential Public High School
Motto •Imagine • Create • Realize•
Established 2003
Principal Debra Price
Grades 11–12
Enrollment approx. 120
Color(s) Red and Black
Mascot Phoenix

The Mississippi School of the Arts (MSA) is an upper high school of literary, visual, and performing arts on the historic Whitworth College Campus in Brookhaven, Mississippi, about sixty miles (100 km) south of Jackson, Mississippi.[1] MSA teaches 11th and 12th grade students. The site has 6 buildings designated as Mississippi Landmarks, and the campus is also notable as being on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.[1] The renovation or construction of the campus facilities, as a historic site, are ongoing and rely upon additional funding to make capital improvements.[2]

The Mississippi School of the Arts provides advanced programs of study in visual arts, vocal music, theatre, dance, and literary arts for "artistically gifted"[3] 11th/12th grade students from throughout Mississippi, within a residential school.[1][3] The curriculum at MSA focuses on the arts and humanities.[3] A comprehensive residential and academic curriculum prepares students for further studies or for the pursuit of employment. Some non-arts courses (some math, science, etc.) are taught in conjunction with Brookhaven High School, 6 blocks away, to provide a wider curriculum.[1] Students apply for admission during their sophomore year at other schools.[1]

Mission statement[edit]

The mission of the MSA school is to provide a "challenging arts education for artistically gifted and talented Mississippi students" located within a residential education environment which encourages integrity, honor, service, and lifelong learning.[1][3]

The Mississippi School of the Arts envisions a supportive community of diverse learners where the art students "imagine, create, and realize" (school motto) a better world in which to work and live.[3]

MSA provides challenging experiences and advanced studies in arts disciplines supported by an interdisciplinary academic setting.

An emphasis on technological expertise and effective communication are integral components of all courses of study. MSA students will learn to communicate effectively through writing and speaking while focusing on creative expression in their chosen disciplines.


At the site of the present MSA campus, Whitworth College (founded 1858)[4] had been a four-year, all-female, Methodist college from 1858 until 1928. At that point, the school became a liberal arts junior college within the Millsaps College System.[4] However, in 1937 (9 years later), support was withdrawn by the Methodist Conference.[4]

The Whitworth College campus area, over the years, has been a Civil War Confederate hospital,[4] then later a junior college with a reputation for performances by major musicians, and also an evening school for veterans who attended college under the G.I. bill.[4]

After the City of Brookhaven donated the campus to the State of Mississippi for the purpose of MSA in 1999, the State of Mississippi funded the restoration of the campus.[4] The campus is now divided into the Historic Upper Campus and the Contemporary Lower Campus. The upper campus includes: Johnson Institute (where classes are now held), Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium (used for productions, meetings, and available to the public for rental), Enochs Hall, Elizabeth Cottage, Cooper Hall, and the Helen Furlow Scruggs Y-Hut. The lower campus consists of the recently constructed Student Life Center, the dormitories, library, digital arts lab, and cafeteria.

MSA welcomed its inaugural class of students on August 3, 2003.

Arts Disciplines[edit]

Most of the faculty works with the literary, visual, and performing arts, although there are regular academic teachers as well.[2] For classes not offered at MSA, students are either enrolled in online classes or bussed to Brookhaven High.

In the student life center, other staff members have been employed as residential counselors, and food service workers. There are also several employees working in school security.[2]

Theatre Arts[edit]

The Classes Taught in the Department:

-Dramaturgy I & II

-Acting I, II, III, & IV

-Movement for the Actor I & II

-Company I & II

-Theatre Production

Visual Arts[edit]

Drawing I/ Drawing II/ Painting I/ Painting II/ Mixed Media/ Advanced Drawing and Painting/ Advanced Portfolio/ Senior Focus/ Photography/ Digital Arts/ 3D Media/ 2D Media/

Literary Arts[edit]

2007-8 was the first year for the Literary Arts department.


Dance was added in the Fall of 2009.

Students learn different styles of dance such as Ballet, Modern, and Improvisation. Students also learn stage production including lights and sound.

Future Disciplines[edit]

As construction, space, and finances allow, Instrumental Music and Media Arts will be added as disciplines at the Mississippi School of the Arts.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Mississippi School of the Arts - General Information", www.msa.k12.ms.us, 2011, pages 2/3, webpage (PDF file): MSA-Gen.
  2. ^ a b c "MSA Student Handbook", 2010-2011, p.2/5, webpage (PDF file): MSA-Sbook.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Quality Professionals & Special Schools", Mississippi Department of Education, ms.us, 2010, web: MS2.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Mississippi Civil Rights Project", 2011, webpage: MSC82.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 31°34′48″N 90°26′50″W / 31.580067°N 90.447171°W / 31.580067; -90.447171