Mississippi School of the Arts


The Mississippi School of the Arts is a high school located on the historic Whitworth College Campus in Brookhaven, about sixty miles south of Jackson, Mississippi. Designated as a Mississippi Landmark, the campus is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Construction and renovation of historic campus facilities are ongoing and are dependent upon additional funding for capital improvements.

The Mississippi School of the Arts is a residential school that provides advanced programs of study in vocal music, theatre, visual arts, and literary arts for artistically gifted eleventh and twelfth grade students from throughout Mississippi. Proposed curriculum will include dance and instrumental music majors. Curriculum at MSA focuses on the arts and humanities. Comprehensive residential and academic curriculam prepares students for further studies or the pursuit of employment.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Mississippi School of the Arts is to provide a challenging arts education for artistically gifted and talented Mississippi students in a residential learning environment that promotes honor, integrity, service, and life-long learning.

The Mississippi School of the Arts envisions a challenging, dynamic, supportive community of diverse learners where artists imagine, create, and realize a better world in which to live and work.

MSA provides challenging experiences and advanced studies in arts disciplines supported through an interdisciplinary academic setting.

An emphasis on technological expertise and effective communication will be integral components of all courses of study. MSA students will learn to communicate effectively through writing and speaking while focusing on creative expression in their chosen disciplines.


Founded in 1858, Whitworth College operated as a four-year, all-female, Methodist institution from 1858 until 1928. In 1928, it became a liberal arts junior college as part of the Millsaps System. In 1937, the Methodist Conference withdrew its support.

In its time, the Whitworth College campus has been a Civil War Confederate hospital, a junior college known for performances by prominent musicians, and an evening school for veterans attending college under the G.I. bill.

After the City of Brookhaven donated the campus to the State of Mississippi for the purpose of MSA in 1999, the State of Mississippi funded the beautiful restoration of the campus. The campus is now divided into the Historic Upper Campus and the Contemporary Lower Campus. The upper campus includes: Johnson Institute (where classes are now held), Mary Jane Lampton Auditorium (used for productions, meetings, and is available to the public for rental), Enochs Hall, Elizabeth Cottage, Cooper Hall, and the Helen Furlow Scruggs Y-Hut. The lower campus consists of the recently constructed Student Life Center, the location of the dorms, library, digital arts lab, and cafeteria.

MSA welcomed its inaugural class of students August 3, 2003.

Arts Disciplines

Theatre Arts

Dr. Robert Brooks is currently the Theater Arts director.

He has his Doctor of Philosophy from Louisiana State University with areas of concentraction: Dramatic Theory And Criticism, Dramatic Literature, Theatre History and Chaos Theory.

Visual Arts

Mrs. Anne O'Hara and Mr. Roberto Bonilla are currently the Visual arts instructors.

Mrs. Anne O'Hara teaches sculpture, drawing and other classes in the Visual Arts Department. She has her MFA in Sculpture from San Francisco Art Institute and is National Board Certified in Visual Arts.

Mr. Bonilla teaches painting, photography and digital arts in the Visual Arts Department. He has his MFA with epmphasis in Graphic Arts from Louisiana State University and is certified in Art Education.

Vocal Arts

Patton Rice is over the vocal department. He holds a Master of Music Education from Alcorn State University and is a distinguished and very experienced performer in both opera and musical theatre. Before this, he was a professor at Mississippi College. While there, he was in a quartet called "Those Opera People" with three other Mississippi College professors, Ed and Viola Dacus and Dana Rice. Carol Joy Sparkman, the resident accompanist at Mississippi College was their accompanist.

Literary Arts

2007-8 was the first year for the Literary Arts department. Dr. Jeanne Lebow, a published poet and the former English teacher, is now the Literary Arts instructor. Lebow has a PhD in English/Creative Writing from the University of Southern Mississippi. She also has a 4A Certification in English and 3A Certification in Drama. She also sponsors the MSA Literary Magazine.

Future Disciplines

As construction, space, and finances allow, Dance, Instrumental Music, and Media Arts will be added as disciplines at the Mississippi School of the Arts. The Dance discipline is currently slated to begin in the fall of 2009.

External links

Mississippi School of the Arts Homepage

  • http://www.msa.k12.ms.us./
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