History of Manatee School For the Arts

Manatee School For the Arts was established in 1998 through the vision of our founder and principal, Dr. Bill Jones, along with the support of Mrs. Una Jones and a dedicated group of people.  The school opened with grades 6 and 7, housing approximately 250 students.  In our second year, the school expanded to include 8th grade, and in 2001, we opened the MSA High School.  The first graduating class of Manatee School For the Arts walked across the stage in 2005.  Students have successfully gone on to colleges and universities throughout the state and country and have become thriving performers in Dance, Theatre, Music, and Visual Arts, as well as in many fields of academic pursuit.

In addition to our students’ excellence in the arts, we stress highly the academic success of each child.  Having the highest graduation rate in Manatee County, MSA students are actively involved in their academic success through all levels of coursework, including dual enrollment for college credit.  By infusing the arts in all academic programs, our teachers allow students to relate to their coursework through many of the multiple intelligences.  Our staff is dedicated to meeting students at their comfort level and expanding their knowledge in all they do.

Our arts programs strive for the highest in student performance, raising the level of student achievement each year.  Students begin working on high level performance in 6th grade, whether on the dance floor or in the art room.  Members of the arts faculty are professionals in their field. From local performers to internationally known professionals, MSA teachers are the best, both in the classroom and in their arts profession. Performers and artists from the school have been showcased around the nation.  Our talented alumni are represented nationwide in their respective fields of arts training.

The school is uniquely located in a refurbished bowling alley in Palmetto, Florida. It brings in students from all of Manatee County, as well as parts of Sarasota, Hillsborough, and Pinellas counties.  Although it has undergone many reconstruction periods, the old bowling alley has served us well. The campus has expanded to 4 buildings and over 115 teachers.  We are continually growing, opening this year with over 1900 students.

MSA’s rich history in the arts and academics makes it an exceptional learning environment.  Whether your interest is in song, dance, theatre, music, art, graphics, or academics, Manatee School For the Arts is the place for you. Stop by and check us out.  Take a tour and discover the great education that we have to offer!

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