Archival photograph of Baltimore School of the Arts students


In the mid-1970s, Baltimore City school board officials decided the city needed a place to provide training for students who aspired to careers in the arts. In 1979, after a task-force study in conjunction with the city’s mayor and arts leaders, the BCPSS board approved the establishment of the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) with a specialized mission and visionary document called School Board Resolutions. The BSA was established as a city-wide school within the Baltimore City Public School System; however, the resolutions stated “that it differ from other Baltimore City high schools by training students with potential for careers in the performing and visual arts.”

The resolutions provide BSA with a unique structure and policies to successfully fulfill its mission as a pre-professional arts high school.  Among the most important provisions include a Board of Overseers; an independent 501(3)(c) Foundation; a director with an arts background; an arts faculty comprised of professional artists; and special student admission and retention policies. An important public/private partnership has existed since the inception of the Baltimore School for the Arts and continues today, allowing the school the freedom and resources to continue to distinguish itself as an academic and arts institution.

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