Former Osceola student and Juilliard graduate, Evan Todd and Osceola County Drama Instructor, Nina Cochran were the conduit for this project now entering it's 14th year. The project is a collaboration between the School District of Osceola County, teaching artists from the world's top conservatories and arts schools, professionals in the field, and the Education Foundation of Osceola County. Our mission is to provide students with a place to foster a deeper understanding of their craft and to position a career in the arts as a lucrative and fulfilling pathway.
We strive to inspire a new generation of committed young artists and arts advocates. We strive to establish a creative space where students can challenge their ideals and realize their potential through focused exploration of the arts. Through intensive artistic collaboration between teaching artists, Osceola County students, and professional artists and teachers in the community, we attempt to develop original work that challenges everyone involved to elevate their artistic standards. It is our hope that students will leave the project energized with the confidence and support to pursue their dreams at the highest level and with the belief that anything can be attained with hard work, tenacity, and creativity.
Through the generosity of The School District of Osceola County, FL, The Juilliard School in New York, The Education Foundation of Osceola and individuals and businesses from the community, facilities and funding were made available to bring the program to fruition.
The teaching staff is comprised of six Osceola County instructors and several trained teaching artists from schools such as Juilliard, Indiana University, UCF, University of North Carolina, and Oberlin College. Each year, over 300 students audition for a chance to fill one of 150 spots in the program. The program is provided to the students for a minimal fee and breakfast and lunch are provided.
Over the course of two weeks, the students rotate through classes in Acting, Movement, Singing, Poetry, Dance and Improvisation. The students also choose an area of Major in one of the following disciplines: Choral, Dance, Drama, and Technical Theater. In 2011, year two, Instrumental and Visual Arts were added and Creative Writing was added in 2015. Each day concludes with a Creativity session where the students are divided into groups, working in collaboration with the teaching artists to create their own original production based on a given theme. The final day culminates in a Showcase performance of the original production for a public audience.
The inaugural year, the program was held at Horizon Middle School, with the theme The Art of Noise. In 2010, Horizon once again hosted the program, with the theme Between the Lines. In 2012, the project moved to Bellalago Academy, the theme for this year was Articulate, inspired by student art. In the same year the program also received a new name, StArt. In 2013, the program found a new home at St. Cloud High School where it remained until 2017 with the themes Perspectives, Going for Baroque, Vaudeville, Illuminate, and Intersections. In 2018, the Osceola County School for the Arts (OCSA) hosted the project for the first time with the theme A Pictures Worth.
In 2020, in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, StArt joined the many arts and education programs in going online for it's 11th season. Luckily, the program and artists were able to get back on their feet at the OCSA in 2021 with the theme Outside the Box.
For our 15th year, we are once again happy to call the Osceola County School for the Arts our summer home. Our theme this year is "LEAP 2024."