Irmo High School held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Jan. 9 celebrating the official opening of its new Center for the Arts. The nearly 38,000 square-foot space includes a 600-plus seat theater, state-of-the-art sound system and stage area, outdoor amphitheater, concession stand, box office and gallery space for visual art.
The site was funded through a bond referendum passed by voters in 2008. Under the guidance of the district’s board of trustees and superintendent, funds from the bond referendum were set aside for the new center along with funds for upgrades at several other Lexington-Richland School District Five schools. The new center complements the school’s new International School of the Arts magnet program, which officially began this school year.
“We now have a world-class space for students to grow their artistic skills and showcase their talents,” said Irmo High School Principal David Riegel. “For our dancers … they have this large space they can work in. Our musicians have a tremendous space and the acoustics in the facility are outstanding. Our visual artists have a gallery space now at the front where their work can be displayed. So, they really have the opportunity to experience professional quality production in every one of our arts focus areas.”
Irmo High School was one of five schools in Lexington-Richland School District Five to receive a three-year federal Magnet School Assistant Program (MSAP) grant in 2013 to bolster magnet offerings. At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, Irmo High School officially launched its new International School of the Arts. A wide array of courses in dance, theater, music and visual arts are available through the magnet program, which aims to develop lifelong creators and patrons of the arts through rigorous standards-based, arts-infused learning. MSAP funds have complemented plans for the new magnet program and added unique opportunities for students, including master classes with professional artists.
For visual arts students like Rachel Thomas and Bryanna Brown, having a center dedicated to student art is a welcome addition to the school.
“It’s great … now we have our own space,” said Thomas. “I’m excited for everyone to see what I did.”
Brown added, “I think it’s amazing. We’ll be able to have our friends see our work and maybe that will have other students inspired to create something too.”
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Via: Irmo High School