INTERVIEWS with ARTISTS

PHYLICIA RASHAD

BILLY CRUDUP

CAROL LAWRENCE

ANDRUS NICHOLS

MARTY RAYBON

ALONZO KING

JAKE LANDERS

KERRY GILBERT

YI-MIN CAI

MICHAEL SHANE NEAL

TONYA S. HOLLY

CAROLYN PALMER

Spotlight On
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Articles

Frantic Assembly

Mark Taper Forum at LA’s Centre Theatre Group 50th Anniversary

MCC Theatre

St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn

The Everyman Theatre

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

1st Stage Theater

59 E 59 Theater

Young Vic of London

Theatre Huntsville

Dance Place in Washington, D.C.

Alabama School of Fine Arts 50th Year Celebration

Rennie Harris at Baltimore Center Stage

Ronald Rand’s new book “CREATE! How Extraordinary People Live to Create and Create to Live”

What is FAFA? The Florence Academy of Fine Arts in Alabama

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance – London’s International Drama School

Alabama Music Hall Of Fame

Historic Zodiac Playhouse — The “Z” in Florence, Alabama

Shoals Symphony Orchestra at UNA

“Grand Ball in the Belle Epoch” – Edwardian Period Style Salon

“To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty, to interpret it is his problem, and to express it his dedication.”  
– Marlon Brando

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.”
– Helen Keller

“The theatre should be treated with respect. The theatre is a wonderful place, a house of strange enchantment, a temple of illusion.”
– Noel Coward

“Cultivate an ever continuous power of observation...see the sunlight and everything that is to be seen.”
– John Singer Sargent

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
– T.S. Eliot

“Feel is if you are reborn each day and rediscover the world of nature which are joyfully a part.”
– Pablo Casals, at the age of 96

“The secret of all natural and human law is movement that meets with devotion”
– I Ching

What is FAFA? The Florence Academy of Fine Arts in Alabama 

Within Florence High School in Florence, Alabama you’ll find an award-winning fine arts academy — The Florence Academy of Fine Arts aptly called FAFA.  In the first year of the Academy the students earned over 300 area, regional, state, national and international awards. The students also earned over one million dollars in scholarship money.

In the first year, one hundred and seventy students applied and auditioned for FAFA and one hundred and twelve were accepted. Each year more students join this illustrious program and as of this writing they have 217 in the Academy. Because of FAFA, the number of students involved in Fine Arts has risen from approximately five hundred to eleven hundred within four years. 

“There is not another program in the state of Alabama that offers the courses that are offered to our students,” Jerry Foster Facilitator of Fine Arts shared with us.“Presently, we presently offer nine areas of Arts with multiple subdivisions under that and we have a hundred and twenty-two  classes in those nine areas. Next year we will be adding metal sculpting and culinary.”

“This year we moved several of our classes on down to the 5th grade level and we presently offer the majority of our classes from 5th through the 12th and presently have two over thousand and twenty students signed up for Fine Arts classes. They include Art, Band, Chorus, Creative Writing, Dance, Digital Media — news/weather/sports/film and radio, Orchestra, Recording Arts, and Theatre.”

“Creative young people need the opportunity to find where their creative strengths are and to work on expanding those talents.  We’re trying to open doors of creativity to allow our students to do anything that’s possible in the creative arts.”

“The Lion King” at FAFA

With thirty-nine years in education and a wide range of experience in the arts, Jerry Foster is the Facilitator of Fine Arts for FAFA. He was the lead Visual Arts Instructor for seventeen years, and is also a former Art Instructor/Band Director/Choral Director/Elementary Music Teacher and a professional musician. He has been with the Florence City System for nineteen years. During his tenure as Art Instructor and Percussion Instructor his students garnered hundreds of local, regional, state, national and international awards. Recipient of the 2009 AAEA Presidential Award, Mr. Foster also received the 2011 Secondary Art Educator of the Year award, the Coca Cola National Joseph B. Whitehead Educator of Distinction Award and the Georgia Commendation Medal for his unwavering support of military families in Georgia.

Invested in the benefits that the Arts offer to the complete student, FAFA recognizes the importance of Academics (the mind), Athletics (the body) and Arts (the heart) to the development of the complete student. They encourage their students to participate in other activities including athletics.

Jerry Foster with two art teachers

Studies have shown that students involved in Fine Arts have improved test scores, improved social skills and are more motivated than their non-arts counterparts. The arts have been shown to close the gap between socioeconomic groups creating a more level playing field for children.

A 2009 study discovered that at-risk students cited involvement in the arts as their reason for staying in school, with a much higher opportunity to graduate.

Students involved in music and theater have improved SAT scores, an increase in self-esteem and an ability to stand before large and small groups for presentations. Students involved in creative writing have improved reading and reading comprehension scores, and those students involved in visual arts have an increase in math comprehension and improved analytical skills.

Students in the recording studio at FAFA

Among FAFA offerings include:

These are just a few of the offerings at FAFA, from their one hundred and twenty-two classes, with the objective to give each child the best education, and at the same time providing lifelong lessons and memories!

FAFA is for the “Leaders of Tomorrow.” •


"It is a law of life that man cannot live for himself alone. Extreme individualism is insanity. The world's problems are also our personal problems. Health is achieved through maintaining our personal truth in a balanced relation of love to the rest of the world. No expression is more emblematic of this relation than the creative act which we call art. No art by its very constitution typifies the social nature of that creative act more than the theatre. The theatre, to be fully understood and appreciated, must be seen as a manifestation of this process of interchange between society and the individual. It must be judged as a continuous development of groups of individuals within society, a development which becomes richer, acquires greater force and value as it grows with the society in which it originates. Only in this way can the theatre nourish us.  - Harold Clurman

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