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Photo Courtesy of Cho Benn Holback

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The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts opened its doors for its first students in August 2009.

The development of the school began in 2001 when a study group commissioned by Washington County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Morgan proposed a school for the arts as a priority. The elected School Board formally accepted the recommendation in 2002. In 2003, Mr. Vincent Groh donated the former Henry’s Theatre on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown to WCPS in memory of his late wife. The Washington County Chamber of Commerce contributed funds for a feasibility study in 2004 and in the following two years community partnerships were formed and program and capital planning ensued. The Washington County Public Schools secured funding in 2007 for restoration and renovation of the building which serves as the center of the arts programs. Students benefit from a unique collaboration between the school system and downtown Hagerstown institutions. Students take their academic classes at the University of Maryland Hagerstown Center. The Maryland Theatre is home for many of the students’ performances.

In 2011, two years after opening, BISFA was named one of the New and Emerging Arts Schools in the nation by Arts Schools Network. Barbara Ingram, like other small programmatic schools in the county, offers an alternative educational pathway to match student need and passion to strive for success. US News and World Report has selected BISFA as one of the top schools in the country for the past several years. Students attend Barbara Ingram School for the Arts based on an application and audition process. The school offers rigorous arts instruction and training in 6 areas of concentration: