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Jackson school of the Arts hosted first classes at new location Monday

Jackson School of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts
Posted at 7:04 PM, Oct 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-25 20:17:04-04

JACKSON, Mich. — The Jackson School of the Arts has a new building, going from Art 634 to the site of the former Vermeulen’s building in downtown Jackson.

“We are very excited, super excited for our families to see the new facility. So grateful to all of our donors, board and staff. Everybody really went above and beyond to make this all come together,” Program Manager Jode Piotrowski said.

They expect big things from the new building.

“Oh my goodness, so much more space. We move from one floor to three floors, plus lots of storage so that we can really spread out, have space and have larger studios so we can fit all of our students,” Piotrowski said.

The three-story building at 135 W. Cortland St. opened up lots of additional space for the school. They're going from 6,000 square feet to 30,000. They have four dance studios, an art studio, childcare area, two rental space areas as well as a theater and a place to eventually do taekwondo and gymnastics.

“We anticipate a big jump in students,” Executive Director Carolyn Moser said.

“The studios are larger than what we had at Art 634 to accommodate more kids, but we purposely didn’t make them too large," she added. "We don’t want classes of 30 kids. We still want it to be a nice intimate feeling with our instructors. Most of the classes should run somewhere between 12 and 20 students.”

Dozens of children showed up for the first classes Monday evening, dabbling in dance and art.

Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts

Olivia Gloar, 12, has been coming to the school of the arts since she was two years old.

“It’s my home away from home. I’ve gone through some really hard times recently,” she said. “Every time I’m like, ‘Mom, when do I go to dance?’ I count down the hours in school. I can’t wait to get here. If you are not enrolled here it’s a big mistake because this is my family. This is my safe space. I do this in my free time. I would, if I had to re-do this again, I’d do it all over.”

Security was added to this location as well to make sure students and staff stay safe according to Moser.

The school uses a sliding-fee scale to make their classes more accessible to families. It is based on the number of people in your house and household income.

“Then we have three categories,” Moser said. “So, it’s $25, $30 or $35 a month based on those parameters. We walk you through that so you don’t have to do all that. You just answer a couple simple questions and we tell you what your tuition is. We have about 650 students that come weekly to classes plus we have several 100 students that do like one day workshops or American Girl parties. Stuff of that nature too.”

They believe the new location in downtown will benefit the community, too.

“We really hoping again that our parents will leave and venture downtown,” Moser said. “Even if they don’t leave with the night that they’re here for a class, maybe they drive by and see a nice restaurant they haven’t seen before. We really are hoping people will spend more time out and about downtown.”

Jackson school of the Arts
Jackson school of the Arts

They have expanded staff, hiring three new instructors and a receptionist in anticipation of growth for moving.

All of this work is for the kids according to Moser.

“We’re really excited to see the kids when they come in. I mean, the number of students that have been here like really early today because they want to ride the elevator or because they want to see their friends and see the studios and be able to walk around, it just makes it all worth it,” she said.

If you are interested in signing up for classes, click here.

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