State of the Accademia

A letter from School Director Scott McGehee

Dear Friends and Supporters,

It has been nearly ten years since the vague dream of an international school for the performing arts in Italy came into being. With the incredible help of our Board of Trustees and ongoing support from our many friends, we can say that we have become a thriving school with a very exciting future ahead of us. The initial dream has been realized, and we can be proud that we have moved progressively from survival to stability to innovation.

Important changes are taking place in our working group, as of course they must as time passes. Longtime managing Director Linda Brown will be retiring at the end of May. From the very beginning, when our ideas were still in unpacked boxes, so to speak, Linda has been there day and night, weekend and holiday, to help put order into chaos and our dreams into reality. Words cannot thank her enough for sharing the vision from the very beginning and putting her stamp on the school and its future direction. Kelly Ford of Little Rock has agreed to take her place starting in June and we are delighted to welcome Kelly to the Accademia family.

In addition, we are proud to be working with a fantastic marketing team—Kali Quinn and Michelle Seekamp, based in Providence, RI. Finally, we have named Michele Bottini as our first Artistic Director. Michele is a critically acclaimed actor, director and teacher.

Enrollment has been solid despite these economically challenged years. But we continue to be sensitive to the difficulty that students and their families face in funding a quality education much less the extraordinary opportunities that a study abroad experience provide. We depend on the generosity of our supporters to open opportunities for outstanding students in the form of scholarship support. We are very proud to offer three full scholarships annually that allow exceptional students from the University of Memphis, Rhodes College (thanks to our Board Chairman Jim McGehee) and the University of Arkansas Little Rock (thanks to Chip and Cindy Murphy) to attend the Fall and Spring programs in Tuscany.

Toward this initiative, we want to give a very special thanks to Barnett and Greer Grace and the Amici dell’Arte Advisory Committee for organizing an annual fundraising trip to Tuscany. Not only is the trip great fun, but the proceeds will help several students study abroad each year.

Thank you to everyone who continues to support our students, and to all of you who will join us in that endeavor in the near future.

Scott McGehee, School Director
Accademia dell'Arte