The Community School of the Arts serves the Fort Smith Community and surrounding region by providing high-quality instruction in music, theatre, dance, and visual art. Children, youth, and even adults can participate in after-school, evening, and weekend classes and lessons.
Artistic excellence is at the core of everything we do. We offer programs and activities that meet the needs and interests of all students. Our programming is provided by top artists and professionals who love to work with young people as we seek to make a difference in the lives of the next generation.
In addition to classes and lessons, performances, productions, and exhibits are of top priority at CSA. We want all students to experience the thrill of presenting their craft to others. Family-friendly and family-focused entertainment is central to all that we do at CSA. Get ready for a great line-up of shows. CSA is your arts connection!
Why is CSA so Important?
Improves academic performance and lowers dropout rates
Develops creative thinking, problem solving, and communication skills
Promotes discipline through artistic excellence
Builds social skills and teamwork
Offers opportunities for all students
Enhances quality of place through exceptional performances and exhibits
CSA is a proud member of the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce!
The National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts is America’s service association for community arts education organizations that provide access to high-quality sequential instruction so that all people may participate in the arts according to their interests and abilities. In concert with this dynamic network, the guild researches and promotes best practices, provides opportunities for professional development and dialogue, advocates for broad access, and makes grants to the field.
CSA Outreach Programs
One of the major goals of CSA is to make certain that no child in our area grows up without exposure to the arts. In addition to our many classes and activities offered on site, CSA also provides outreach programs to area underserved elementary schools in the areas of children’s choir, dance, drums, and Suzuki strings.
Thanks to grants and the generous gifts given by our donors, we provide a wide range of opportunities for kids beginning at a young age and reaching all socio-economic backgrounds. Fort Smith elementary school principals are directly involved in selecting the schools that would best benefit from the after-school outreach programs as well as determining the specific arts offering for each school. Weekly after-school programs are offered by our professionally trained arts instructors at the elementary school site throughout the semester with a performance at the end of each semester for family and friends.
Through these programs, CSA reaches close to 150 students each semester who might not otherwise be able to participate in the arts. We are truly providing a genuine arts education experience and making that experience available to all!
CSA Residency Programs
Thanks to the outstanding instructors who work at CSA, we are able contract with area schools and various organizations to provide instructors for arts education. Residencies vary from a half-day visit to week-long activities to working an entire semester or year at the organization. Ages range from preschool through adult and include all types of arts instruction from music to theatre to dance to visual art. Contact us to set up a consultation about your needs and interests.
About our Executive Director
Dr. Rosilee Russell
Founder | Executive Director
Rosilee Russell, classical pianist, is the Founder/Executive Director of Community School of the Arts and was previously the Executive Director of the Academy of the Arts at the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. She came to UAFS in 1990 after teaching in Kansas City to serve as Director of Keyboard Activities/Artist-in-Residence for the Department of Music. Russell holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Baylor University, a Master of Music degree and also a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music. While at Baylor, she was the recipient of the Van Cliburn Piano Scholarship and the Alpha Chi National Music Scholarship for graduate study. At UMKC she was awarded a graduate piano teaching assistantship.
Russell’s principal teachers include internationally known pianists Richard Cass, Susan Starr, and Lilian Kallir. She has also collaborated with jazz pianist Tony Caramia, and consulted with pianist and leading novelty authority Alex Hassan.
As a solo artist, Russell has performed extensively throughout Arkansas as a member of the Arts on Tour Program, sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council, and has played nationally as a touring member for the Mid-America Arts Alliance. She has appeared as recitalist at the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, guest pianist at the White House, and was nominated for a performance at the Kennedy Center.
Dr. Russell has been a member of the Music Teachers’ National Association, as well as the Arkansas Chapter of MTNA. She has taught piano and music theory for over 25 years and been active as an adjudicator and lecturer throughout the United States. She recorded a CD to accompany a music theory text book for Oxford University Press, and has also been involved in writing a college-level group piano textbook. Rosilee can be heard on her CD Live at Eastman recorded in the famous Kilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of Music in New York, as well as her CD Cool Classics, which is a collection of classical masterpieces recorded live.
Rosilee is a past faculty member of the Masterworks International Summer Music Festival, and is currently actively involved in the National Guild for Community Arts Education, a national organization that promotes artistic activities for children and youth. Russell was recently reappointed by the Governor to serve on the Advisory Council for the Education of Gifted and Talented Children where she has served as Chair. Each year, she assists in the selection process of students who have artistic talent to attend Arkansas Governor’s School.
In the fall of 2006, Russell founded and developed the UAFS Academy of the Arts, a preparatory program serving some 800 students each semester providing instruction in the visual and performing arts to children and youth. In the spring of 2008, she was awarded the Mayor’s Honors for her achievements in the Academy of the Arts. Rosilee is active as an arts columnist for the Times Record and is active in the media as a voice for the arts. In the fall of 2016, Russell opened Community School of the Arts where she currently serves. CSA has recently launched a Capital Campaign to build the Center for the Creative Arts, the first of its kind in Arkansas.