The Fred Dolan Art Academy

Fred Dolan Academy provides intensive visual arts preparation for low-income students.

For many of the young people served by Children's Aid, the visual arts are viewed as impractical or as hobbies. The idea of pursuing art as a career can be a foreign concept, even among the most talented. Arts education is typically very expensive, with limited financial aid available.

To counter this reality, Children's Aid has created a place specifically designed to give underprivileged artists their own place to grow and to develop their talents - the Fred Dolan Visual Arts Academy. Started by two professional artist/illustrators, the Academy is an intensive preparatory program in the visual arts for low-income students in grades 8-10 enrolled in Children's Aid's Bronx-based community school programs.

Dolan Academy is a school year program, engaging 27 students for three hours (10 a.m. -- 1 p.m.) each Saturday. Every student spends equal time each session on drawing and painting, developing their visual acuity and creating a range of artistic ability. The Academy's overall goal is that, by the time the students complete high school, they will have developed work portfolios that will make them truly competitive candidates for art colleges.

To do this successfully, the program emphasizes strong academic standards. Teachers work with college counselors to determine the best combination of grades, tests and artistic portfolios that each student will need in order to successfully enter college.

By maintaining such strong standards, and training students to focus on their artistic evolution, the Fred Dolan Visual Art Academy is offering a rare opportunity for young artists to follow a path they would otherwise never imagine possible.