Comprehensive Campaign


Inspiring Excellence

Community School of the Arts has launched a comprehensive campaign called Inspiring Excellence for the purpose of building the Center for the Creative Arts, an innovative new facility to house cutting-edge 21st century arts programs that will have a profound impact on students across career boundaries.


The Center for the Creative Arts will be home to three major programs:

• Preschool for the Creative Arts
• Institute for the Creative Arts
• Community Arts Connection

Susan Hutchinson First Lady of Arkansas & Honorary Co-Chair of CSA Campaign


"The Community School of the Arts can only add to the uniqueness and distinction of Fort Smith from her years as a Wild West Military Outpost to that of sophistication and culture. Our young people and community will benefit for years to come with this new legacy for Fort Smith. I hope you will join me in making this so."

What does the new Center look like?

The Center for the Creative Arts is designed to be built in phases with the main section completed first. This portion of the building houses all educational activities and will include a 350 seat theater, recording studio, the Grand Lobby & Gallery, and the Riverfront Patio. This allows instruction, performances, events and other gatherings to take place on site.


Creative students are no longer taking a back seat but are now rising to the forefront as leaders of change and as the role models for society. This is a powerful change that has far-reaching effects. Artists are going to be the leaders of the future and CSA is pioneering that future for our region!

Dot Hosford.jpg

in loving memory of dorothy "dot" hosford

Groundbreaking Day

Groundbreaking for the $7.5 million Center for the Creative Arts was held Wednesday, March 17, 2021 on the property just north of the United States Marshals Museum on the Arkansas riverfront in downtown Fort Smith. 


This 30,000 square foot facility will provide space for visual art, cinema, culinary, theatre, dance, and music. High-tech classrooms, a recording studio, a 350-seat theatre, the Grand Lobby & Art Gallery, and the Riverfront Patio are part of this project. 


The facility will have activities throughout the day and on weekends including classes, camps, and shows and performances.  Along with the current after school programs, the Center will be home to the Institute for the Creative Arts that will provide specialized programs for high school students that are the first of their kind in Arkansas. The facility is designed to house as many as 1000 students daily and will be used community-wide for many activities.

Chairman of the Board Dr. Rick Foti, Executive Director Dr. Rosilee Russell, and Fort Smith Mayor George McGill all provided remarks at the event. 


“This opens up a range of opportunities,” Foti said, noting that the arts teach students life skills and a well-rounded education. 


Russell agreed indicating that “many of the small school districts in our area don’t have the opportunity to participate in many disciplines in the arts. The Center will give students the chance to take innovative courses in the arts.” 


The facility is set to be completed in mid to late 2022.

CSA Groundbreaking-38.jpg

Mayor McGill said the school will add to the progressive and innovative education offered in the Fort Smith area. “This is one of the main pieces of our educational puzzle in Fort Smith. We have been waiting for this amazing work. We thank you!” 

Campaign Kickoff Reception

On the evening of March 17, 2021, Community School of the Arts held a celebration reception at Hardscrabble Country Club in Fort Smith to highlight the success of the Inspiring Excellence Campaign.

Speaking at this momentous occasion were Dr. Rick Foti, Chairman of the Board, Dr. Rosilee Russell, Executive Director, and Dr. Phillip Russell, Director of Development.

This event marked the end of the silent phase of the campaign and the beginning of the public phase. Donors were honored and special lead donors were recognized for their important gift that brought us to this day!

The evening also highlighted three Foundations who have provided support during the initial phase of the campaign.  Special gratitude went out to the JE and LE Mabee Foundation, The Craig Strickland Foundation, and the Sunderland Foundation. The evening culminated with a wonderful vocal solo from the show High School Musical 2 by CSA 6th grader Madeline Alt. Madeline shared her passion for the arts and how being involved at CSA has changed her life. It was a fitting end to a great night of celebration and commitment!

To date, over half of the $7.5 million capital goal has been pledged. The total campaign goal is $10 million with over $6 million already raised. This phenomenal effort is thanks to the hard work and generosity of so many supporters.


In order to meet a challenge issued by the Mabee Foundation, the balance of the capital goal must be pledged by the end of 2021.


We greatly value your belief in and support of this project! Together, we will make this dream a reality!

Madeline Alt
shares her talent


Dr. Rick Foti notes that the arts teach students life skills


CSA Cabinet and Board Members celebrate Ground Breaking

Video by CSA Student Joseph Udouj

Give to the Campaign


We ask that you thoughtfully consider a gift to the Inspiring Excellence Campaign. Our campaign goal is $10 million with $7.5 million designated to capital. Your gift may be given in many ways:

Total Capital Campaign Funds Raised


Ways to support the Inspiring Excellence Campaign:

•        Pledge an amount over five years or give a one-time gift
•        Pledge an amount that can be paid monthly, yearly, or any way you choose
•        Give a gift of stock or pledge a gift in your will/trust 
•        Give a gift toward our 1.1 million scholarships or operations fund
•        Give a gift to our endowment fund

We appreciate your consideration to pledge or give now to our campaign. Every dollar you give will go toward helping to create a place for students to come and discover their talents and reach their goals. Your support will change the lives of countless students now and in generations to come! Click here to give now!


We Are Saving A Seat For You!

Community School of the Arts is eager to invite you to participate in an exciting opportunity to show support in a meaningful way through our BUY A SEAT promotion in our BRAND NEW 350 SEAT THEATRE. Celebrate the memory of a loved one, honor someone, or promote your business or organization.


As part of the CSA capital campaign, you have the opportunity to purchase an engraved elegant plaque placed on a theatre seat. The engraving you select guarantees that you or your loved one will be a visible part of CSA for years to come.

Thank You to the Sunderland Foundation!

The Sunderland Foundation of Overland Park, Kansas has provided a grant of $250,000 to the Inspiring Excellence Campaign to build the Center for the Creative Arts!


This money will be used for capital construction costs for this innovative facility. We are so very profoundly grateful to the Sunderland Foundation Board for their important vote of confidence for this project. Together, we will make this dream a reality!

Meet Axel
The Campaign Dane 


Won’t you give to the campaign?

This is one dog who has been very busy meeting and greeting his public!


Axel loves being involved in the campaign and people love to meet him. 


In fact, Axel is a true people dog.


If you, your children, or grandchildren would like to meet our BIG loveable Dane, call or text us at 479-739-4655 or email us at


We will get you on his calendar!


Meet Our Campaign Leadership

Honorary Co-Chairs:

Arkansas First Lady Susan Hutchinson

Mary Carleton Young

Kathy Coleman


Dr. Rick Foti, Wayne King, Bennie Westphal,

Mr. Gary & Judge Amy Grimes, Mr. Keith & Dr. Deborah Braboy

Drs. Phillip & Rosilee Russell

Advisors to the Cabinet:

Dr. Cole & Staci Goodman, Ben Shipley,

Brooke Loe, Sandy Dixon

CSA Board:

Selena Bartmier, Robin Clegg, Dr. Rick Foti, Jim Rowland,

Ben Shipley, Karen Slagle, Peggy Walter, Rebecca Yarbrough,

Wayne King, Robert Wight, Melissa Udouj, Mary Carleton Young