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Emerson, ProArts Consortium Celebrate New Boston Arts Academy Campus

Boston Arts Academy (BAA), Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts and an institution founded and supported by the Professional Arts Consortium (ProArts), of which Emerson is a member, has relocated its main campus to a brand new state-of-the-art facility in Boston’s Fenway.

Now entering its 25th year, BAA was established as a pilot school and the city’s first full-inclusion high school, admitting students based solely on arts auditions without regard to prior academic, behavioral, or learning challenges. Since its founding, BAA has fostered a culture of achievement for a student body reflecting the diversity of the city.

ProArts is comprised of arts colleges from Boston that joined together in 1984 to promote the arts as a vital and central value of the city. Members include Emerson College, Berklee College of Music, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, The Boston Architectural College, New England Conservatory, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. BAA is regarded as the most noteworthy outcome of the consortium’s collaborations with the city.

“The relationship between the ProArts Consortium and Boston Arts Academy is special and enduring,” said former Emerson president Lee Pelton, current president of The Boston Foundation and former chair of the BAA Board of Trustees. “Boston Arts Academy is a shining star in the BPS constellation, and I believe that the ProArts presidents’ allegiance to BAA makes that star even brighter.”

BAA’s new 153,500-square-foot facility on Ipswich Street increases the school’s capacity by more than 15 percent, providing enhanced rehearsal studios, high-tech fashion and fine art studios, a gymnasium, dance studios, a cutting-edge STEAM lab, a rooftop recital hall, and spacious professional theaters. It was designed by Perkins Eastman & Wilson Butler Architects, and built by Lee Kennedy Co., Inc.

Over the past 25 years, ProArts has encouraged students to participate in preparatory programs at its member schools, and offers dual enrollment coursework to BAA students, which allows them to enroll in college courses and earn credit while in high school.

In addition to founding BAA, ProArts has taken a leadership role in cultivating collaborative programs and transformative projects within the city, including collaborative teacher conferences for art educators, career resource opportunities for students, and a 2020 series on socially engaged artistic practice.

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