Baltimore School for the Arts

Basic Information

Address: 712 Cathedral Street Baltimore, MD 21201
County: Baltimore City
School District: Baltimore City
Phone Number: 443-642-5167
Fax Number: 410-539-1430
Principal: Dr. Chris Ford

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Additional Information

Accreditation: Baltimore City Public School
School Type: Public Arts High Schools
Founded: 1979
Ages/Grades: High School
School Schedule (Hours in Day): 8:30 am - 4:15 pm
School Size: 380-400

Welcome to Baltimore School for the Arts - an arts school, an academic high school, a family arts center - a wonderful center of energy, ideas, and talent.

Founded in 1980, the Baltimore School for the Arts (BSA) is a four-year high school with a unique mission: to provide young people who aspire to a career in the arts with intensive, pre-professional training in the arts combined with a rigorous, college preparatory curriculum. Students at the school pursue one of four disciplines - the visual arts, music (vocal or instrumental), theatre (acting or theatre production), and dance - along with a challenging academic curriculum.

Working with a distinguished faculty, our students learn the fundamentals of their artistic discipline in an environment that emphasizes professionalism and scholarship. Instructors in the arts are among the region's leading visual artists, musicians, actors, and dancers. The academic faculty is a select group of certified teachers skilled at communicating knowledge and sharing the joy of learning. Nearly 400 students attend the school, coming from public, private, and parochial schools in and around Baltimore. After graduation, our students gain admission to leading conservatories, art schools, liberal arts colleges and professional companies.

Students are selected for admission to the Baltimore School for the Arts through yearly auditions. The audition process is designed to identify students with the potential for a career in the arts. Admission is based solely on an audition/portfolio review in the student's art discipline, conducted by the school's professional arts faculty.

Our facilities, housed in the landmark Alcazar building and an historic brownstone on Cathedral Street, are specially designed to support the school's mission.  They include a recital hall, music practice rooms, art studios, costume and scene shops, and rehearsal spaces.  A performance hall, a black box theatre, and a visual arts exhibition space provide professional-level showcases for the performances and a venue for the community to enjoy a range of performances and exhibitions each year including our Family Artreach Performance Series. BSA also offers a free after school arts instruction program, TWIGS, as well as a variety of other educational programs for City Schools.

BSA is one of the most successful public schools in the state of Maryland and one of the five best arts high schools in America. It is also an important part of Baltimore's cultural landscape, collaborating and working with area arts organizations including the BSO, the Walters, Everyman Theatre and Centerstage, the BMA, the MHS and others.


Percentage of Graduating Class: 95-99%
Support Services:

We offer a range of academic assistance programs, which are designed to help students achieve academic success at BSA. For some students, the academic transition to BSA is extremely challenging, and we are committed to helping all students who need assistance in reaching their academic goals. All of our faculty members offer weekly, and many offer daily, coach classes to help students in one-on-one and small group sessions before and after school. We also offer roughly fourteen Saturday School sessions throughout the school year. Beginning in late July, some incoming students are required to attend our four-week Summer Academic Assistance Program, which aims to help students meet our high expectations. Finally, we have a daily afternoon study hall for those students who need additional help in their academic classes and for those who are not regularly completing homework assignments.

After School Programs: Yes
Notable Graduates:

BSA graduates are on Broadway and television, in films, in major dance companies, orchestras and design firms. Locally and all over the country our alums are teaching in the arts and academics at public and private schools. More than 20 alums are professors at colleges and universities. We have alumni working in the nonprofit, business, social sciences, and government sectors. Others are doctors, lawyers and architects.

Many BSA alumni are actively involved in the life of the school and return to provide master classes, college talks, and performances. Alumni have also joined the high school and TWIGS faculty at BSA and supported the annual, endowment and capital campaigns with generous gifts.

So, in brief, where will you find our alumni?

In dance companies all over the world:
•Alvin Ailey American Dance
•American Ballet Theatre
•ArmitageGone! Dance
•Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
•Atlanta Festival Ballet
•Ballet Austin
•Ballet British Columbia
•Ballet Gulbenkian, Lisbon
•Basil Ballet
•Bejart Ballet
•Boston Ballet
•Bravo National Dance Competion
•Carolina Ballet
•Charleston Ballet Theatre
•Columbia City Ballet
•Dance Canvas
•Dance Theatre of Harlem
•Feld Ballet
•Frankfurt Ballet
•Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago
•Grand Ballet Canadian
•Hubbard Street Dance Company
•Isadora Duncan Dance
•Joffrey Ballet II
•Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre
•Les Grandes Ballet, Canada
•Lines Ballet
•Liz Gerring Dance
•Lucinda Childs Company
•Lyons Ballet
•Memphis Ballet
•Merce Cunningham
•Metropolitan Opera Ballet
•Miami City Ballet
•Miami Contemporary Dance
•New York City Ballet
•New York Grand Opera
•North Carolina Dance Theatre
•Oakland Ballet
•Pacific Northwest Ballet
•Parson’s Dance Company
•Paul Taylor Dance 2
•Pennsylvania Ballet
•Sacramento Ballet
•San Francisco Ballet
•Sean Curran Dance Company
•Sidra Bell Dance New York
•Shapiro and Smith Dance
•Stephen Petrino Company
•Washington Ballet

In music careers in opera:

•Atlanta Opera
•Arizona Opera
•Carnegie Hall
•Center City Opera
•Chicago Lyric Opera
•Glimmerglass Opera Theatre
•Grand Rapids Opera
•Louisville Opera
•Loveland Chamber Orchestra
•Maryland Symphony
•Metropolitan Opera
•Minnesota Opera
•NPR’s From the Top
•Nuremberg Opera, Germany
•New Jersey Opera Theatre
•New York City Opera
•New York Grand Opera
•Ohio Light Opera
•Opera Theatre of St. Louis
•Orlando Opera
•Palm Beach Opera
•Philadelphia Opera
•San Antonio Opera
•Spoleto Festival
•St Gallen Theatre, Switzerland
•Washington Opera

In orchestras and chamber ensembles:

•Alabama Symphony
•Baltimore Symphony
•Boise Philharmonic
•Brooklyn Philharmonic
•Bryant Park Quartet
•Cleveland Orchestra
•Cornell Symphony Orchestra
•Delaware Symphony
•Fort Wayne Philharmonic
•Garland Symphony
•Irving Symphony
•Las Calinas Symphony
•Mississippi Symphony
•National Symphony
•New Mexico Symphony
•New Zealand Symphony
•Philadelphia Orchestra
•Richmond Symphony
•Ritz Chamber Players
•SAR Philharmonic, Hong Kong
•San Paul State Symphony, Brazil
•Senzoku Gaken Conservatory, Japan
•Symphony Arlington
•Taipai Symphony, Taiwan

Recording, producing and performing contemporary music for:

•Christine Aquilara
•Erika Badu
•Blue Canoe
•Hamiett Bluet
•Ronnie Cox
•Def Jam
•Celine Dion
•Duke Ellington
•Macy Gray
•Mercer Ellington Orch
•New Amsterdam
•Savion Glover
•Dizzy Gillespie Big Band
•Vivian Green
•Lionel Hampton Orch
•Dru Hil
•Jay Z
•Jennifer Lopez
•Queen Latifah
•Mary Mary
•Meredith Monk
•Mos Def
•Kanye West
•Lee-Ann Womak

Nominated and Receiving awards such as:

•Grammy Awards
•Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award
•John Lennon Songwriting Contest
•Stellar Gospel Music Award

In careers in acting and production touring and on Broadway:

•Bring in da Noise…
•Chorus Line
•Cirque de Soliel
•Color Purple
•Dream Girls
•Jelly’s Last Jam
•Jesus Christ Superstar
•Joseph & the Technicolor Dreamcoat
•Les Miserables
•Once on this Island
•Phantom of the Opera
•Lion King
•Little Mermaid
•Ma Rainey’s
•The Red Shoes
•Three Tenors
•The Wiz

In regional theatres and festivals:

•Alabama Shakespeare Festival
•Arena Stage
•Busch Gardens
•Center Stage
•Disney World
•Everyman’s Theatre
•Folger’s Theatre
•Fountain Theatre
•Glass Contraption
•Kennedy Center
•Triad Theatre
•International Fringe Festival
•Sea World
•Spoleto Festival USA

On television:

•ABC’s Lincoln Heights
•BRAVO’s Project Runway
•CBS’s As the World Turns, The Unit, Cold Case, CSI, Late Show with David Letterman
•NBC’s America’s Got Talent, Law & Order, West Wing
•HBO’s The Wire, Sex and the City, Funny or Die Sketch Comedy
•A&E’s The Beast
•MTV’s American Mall, Real World
•NICKELODEON’s Blues Clues
•FOX’s So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol
•LIFETIME”S State of Mind
•TNT’s American Dad, Time to Heal
•TVOne’s Love That Girl

In film:

•Baltimore Women’s Film Festival
•Death Proof
•Devil Wears Prada
•Good Hair
•The Invasion
•Madagascar 2:Escape to Africa
•Mama I Want to Sing
•Matrix Reloaded
•My One and Only
•The Producers
•Secret Life of Bees
•Spongebob Squarepants
•Step UP 2
•Termination Salvation
•The Women

Publishing novels, poetry and non-fiction

•Color in Metal: 50 Artists Share Insights and Techniques
•Found Object Art
•Insufficiency of Maps
•Love Clipped My wings
•Meeting the Buddha-On Pilgrimage in Buddhist India
•One of a Kind: American Art Jewelry Today
•The Fine Art of the Tin Can
•To All Who Can Relate
•Wings of My Butterfly Beauty

In Visual Arts Careers exhibiting in:

•Artist’s Upstairs Gallery, Pittsburg, PA.
•Big Orbit Gallery, Buffalo, NY
•Branch Gallery, NC
•Brunei Gallery, London, UK
•C. Grimaldis Gallery, Baltimore, MD
•Center for Contemporary Arts, St Louis, MO
•Chicago Museum for Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
•D’AmelioTerras, NYC
•David Zwirner Gallery, NYC
•Kendall Gallery, Grand Rapids, MI
•Moti Hasson Gallery, NYC
•Media Loft, New Rochelle, NY
•Metaphor Contemporary Arts, NYC
•Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, OR
•Museum of Modern Art, NYC
•Museum of Art and Modern Design in NYC
•Museum of Natural History, NYC
•National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC
•National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC
•Portland Art Museum, OR
•Pounder-Kone Ar t Space, Los Angeles, CA
•Racine Art Museum
•Satchi Gallery, London (online)
•Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, NYC
•Somerville Manning Gallery, DE
•Zach Feuer Gallery, NYC

Designers, illustrators and stylists

•Access Art-serving inner city youth
•Costume designer for Alvin Ailey
•Award Winning Illustrator at the Baltimore Sun
•Animation & video gaming design for Disney, Dreamworks, Universal Studios, Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic
•Visual Manager for French Connection Clothes
•Senior Graphic Designer for Goucher College
•Prop Stylist for Gourmet, Cookie, Italian Vogue
•Wardrobe stylist for HBO’s The Wire
•Vice President of Design for Men’s Wear for Liz Claiborne
•Art Director for Martha Stewart Living
•Float designer 2005 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade floats for Animal Planet, Pillsbury and Polar Express
•Illustrator for Physical Therapy Today and Umoja Children greeting cards
•Designer for Sean John Clothes
•Dress Designer, Simone as seen in Flaunt, Vogue and W
•Product Developer for Tiffany

Parking Spaces/Availability:



Students are selected based solely on the audition.  The Baltimore School for the Arts does not ask for recommendations or student records, nor are student records or recommendations consulted.  Students may audition in Dance, Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Theatre (acting), Theatre (production), Visual Arts.

Admissions Deadline: Applications are due every December- Auditions take place every January
Mission Statement:

Our Mission
The Baltimore School for the Arts strives to be the leading pre-professional arts high school in the country. BSA provides talented students from all sectors of the community with a personally supportive and intellectually challenging environment where rigorous training in a specific arts discipline combines with a college preparatory academic education. The School provides qualified students with intensive training in one of four arts disciplines: the visual arts, music, theatre or dance. A further mission of the school is to serve as an arts resource for the Baltimore community by offering performances, educational workshops and extensive after-school training in the arts to children from city elementary and middle schools.


School History:

In the mid-seventies, Baltimore City school board officials determined that Baltimore needed a place where students who aspired to careers in the arts might receive pre-professional arts training they would need to be competitive.  In 1979, after 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 it 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 comprising 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.


Additional Information:

Over the past 30 years, the Baltimore School for the Arts has achieved the following:

  • In 2001, the Doris Duke and Surdna Foundations recognized BSA as one the top five public arts high schools in the country.
  • In 1990, BSA was named by the National Endowment for the Arts as one of the top five public arts schools in the country and was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • The International NETWORK of Schools for the Advancement of Arts Education selected our TWIGS program for its 2006 Community Partnership Award which celebrates the use of arts and education to foster community enhancement.
  • Although BSA admits students based on an arts audition (without consideration of past academic performance or test scores) each year between 95-99% of our graduates go on to higher education.
  • BSA students have a national impact in the arts. BSA graduates are on Broadway, television, films, in major dance companies, orchestras, design firms – graduates also have careers in education, business and human services.
  • BSA serves thousands of Baltimore City school children (from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade) and their families through community outreach programs.