CSA Office Closed Jan. 17

Due to the winter weather, CSA's administrative office is closed on Wednesday, January 17th.  There are no regularly scheduled programs taking place this week, as we are on our break between the fall and spring semesters.  The spring semester begins on Saturday, January 20th.  However, if you had a makeup lesson scheduled today, please contact your instructor. 

Enjoy the snow and be safe!

Vote Now in CSA's Gingerbread House Competition

Community School of the Arts (CSA) will hold its third annual Gingerbread Competition from Saturday, December 9 to Sunday, December 17.   For over a decade, families have creatively celebrated the holiday season with Community School of the Arts’ Gingerbread House Workshops. This annual event has turned into a beloved family tradition for many Charlotte families, and for the third year in a row, CSA is giving area business a chance to compete for the title of Gingerbread Champion of Charlotte, North Carolina. This contest is a way to show off the creative side of Charlotte businesses.  

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This year, CSA received entries from six local businesses:

Barringer Construction—Green’s Lunch


C Design—Sold Out or Hold Out (The Thirsty Beaver)


garmon and co
Garmon & Company—Duke Energy Christmas Center


Gensler—REVVED up for Christmas (NASCAR Hall of Fame)


Wray Ward—Camp North Pole


Wright McGraw Beyer Architects—Dreaming of a Food Truck Friday

Entries are employee-built, entirely edible design replicas of some of Charlotte’s most well-known landmarks and buildings, and will be on display in the lobby of Spirit Square from December 9 through December 17. The public is invited to vote during that time at www.csarts.org/voting for their favorite. The winner will be announced on Monday, December 18 on CSA’s website, www.csarts.org.

The winner of the competition will receive bragging rights and a trophy designed by one of CSA’s visual art faculty members. Last year’s winner was architectural firm Little with their rendition of the Ronald McDonald House.


Join our On The Table discussion at Common Market

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On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Community School of the Arts will be co-hosting an On The Table discussion with Common Market Oakwold.  From 5:30-7:00pm, join CSA and Common Market for community discussions facilitated through small groups and a collaborative art project.  The event is free, but please RSVP to chuck@commonmarketisgood.com by Monday, October 23.

On the Table CLT, a community-wide civic engagement initiative, will bring 5,000 Mecklenburg County residents together in small groups on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 to talk about ways to make our community more connected, dynamic, and opportunity-rich.

Offered by the Community Building Initiative, and supported by Foundation for the Carolinas and Knight Foundation, On The Table CLT seeks to bring all voices to the table, focusing on a common theme specific to our community. We know that big ideas can spring from small gatherings and that people invest in what they help create. Your participation will ensure that these organic conversations include diverse voices from throughout the county.


Click here to download the event flyer.

Sights and Sounds of Project Harmony

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Walking into the building of St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church, the faint sound of tapping greets my ear and I easily find my way to the source of bustle: approximately 2 dozen children, drumsticks in hand, happily clanging along to a midtempo beat. If there was ever a time that you could feel excitement, this was it. Looking around the room at children ages 7 to 9, it’s hard to believe that this group of students had just ended a full school day.  This is Project Harmony – an outreach program in the Montclaire neighborhood, which sees social transformation through music as a way to foster future generations of leaders, artists, creators and thinkers.

I enter the room and see two crescent-shaped rows of students listening intently as their teacher, Drew Skinner, begins to drum a beat on an overturned bucket.

Adagio!” someone shouts. Their instructor offers congratulations and begins to play a new beat, this one slightly more complex than the one before. The room is then silent for the first time as the children ponder what they’ve just heard. Realizing that he has stumped his students, Mr. Skinner taps the beat once more. There is a pause again, and then, “Allegrissimo!

Whether they are right or wrong in selecting a tempo from a list of over 30 is not the point. Close enough is an answer that the students accept as recognition of their contribution to the group’s experience. The rough quality of the group is not surprising, given most students’ lack of previous experience; what is surprising is how quickly they’ve embraced the Project Harmony program and its lessons, taught through the fundamentals inspired by El Sistema programs that have come before, such as learning through collaboration and immersion.

Looking around, remnants on the chalk board from a previous lesson on musical notes serve as a reminder not only to the class, but also to me that the children sitting in the room are building up their musical knowledge from the ground floor at Project Harmony. Glancing at the list of classical tempo names that any beginner might struggle with, I remember that there are no shortcuts to these lessons—a fact which the students gladly accept.

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Peering next into the string music lessons, there is a different yet complementary energy present in the room. There is no indication that this class of students has been studying violin, viola or cello with teacher Deb Chandler any longer than they’ve been drumming, yet the refined way that they carry their instruments—and carry themselves—tell me that in the two months since this program’s beginning, instrument lessons have permeated through the students to foster development in skills far beyond the ability to play music.

One child is eager to share with his peers that he’s ready to play. “La violin!” is what he chants. When the lesson is done and the students prepare to switch classrooms, this group heading to the room of rhythm and beats next, Ms. Chandler ends the lesson and the students take a bow, signaling a job well done indeed.

Project Harmony is a partnership with the Charlotte Symphony and funded, in part, by Culture Blocks.  For more information about Project Harmony, click here.


Blog written by Trey Gibson

Supporting the Arts in the Upcoming Election

Before you head to the polls this November, be sure to learn about local candidates' positions on the role of arts and culture in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community. Click below to watch a short video about how to stay engaged this election season.  The video was created by the Arts & Science Council and features CSA's Executive Director Devlin McNeil. 

To read Candidate Questionnaire Responses compiled by the ASC, click here.