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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.

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