Alabama School of Fine Arts

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Alabama School of Fine Arts
1800 Reverend Abraham Woods Jr. Blvd

Coordinates33°31′16″N 86°48′46″W / 33.5211°N 86.8129°W / 33.5211; -86.8129Coordinates: 33°31′16″N 86°48′46″W / 33.5211°N 86.8129°W / 33.5211; -86.8129
School typePublic; Partially residential
MottoPublic Education with Passion
Executive DirectorMichael Meeks
Enrollment326 (2019)

The Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) is a public, partially residential high school located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, United States. It provides career, college preparation, and technical education to students from grades 7-12 and is a member of the Coalition of Essential Schools.[1][2]


The six specialties of the school are music, visual arts, theatre arts, creative writing, math and science, and dance. The largest of these is math and science with an enrollment of around 100 students, with the other departments being smaller portions of the student body.


The school began in 1968 with a group of Birmingham arts community leaders, James Hatcher and Peggy Beddow Cook, who acquired funding from Governor Lurleen Wallace to support instructional programs based in community arts agencies after school. The Alabama Legislature formally created the school with a resolution in 1971. The school was located at Samford University, with the dance program being located at UAB, but moved to Birmingham–Southern College in 1974. While there it was consolidated into five arts programs and a core academic program, staffed in part by the Birmingham City Schools.

The school moved to its own temporary downtown Birmingham campus in 1976. At this time the private, non-profit Alabama School of Fine Arts Foundation was established to raise funding to build an all-new campus complex.[3]

A new law was approved by the Legislature in 1992 to provide for authorization for the school.[4] The school moved into its new $10 million facility in the heart of Birmingham's cultural district the following year. A theater was added to the campus in 1995, followed by a mathematics and science wing in 1996. A creative writing wing was added in 1999. The ASFA Foundation began a new capital campaign in 2006 to raise money for the construction of a new theatre complex.[3] The fundraising took many years, with construction lasting 17 months and costing $8.5 million. The new 500-seat theater, named in honor of Dorothy Jemison Day, was opened on March 30, 2012 with an ASFA theatre department production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town.[5]

The ASFA theatre department was named as one of the nation's outstanding high school theatre programs by Stage Directions magazine in 2011.[6]


Admission into the school is competitive. Prospective students must submit an application with test scores, transcripts, essays, and three letters of recommendation. Selected students then audition for their chosen department. For the arts departments, audition is through performance, portfolios, and interview. For the math and science department, audition is through interview and two rounds of testing.

With the school funded by the Alabama Legislature, in-state students pay no tuition. Students from outside the state are charged tuition.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "Introducing the Alabama School of Fine Arts". Alabama School of Fine Arts. Archived from the original on January 23, 2008. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  2. ^ "Alabama School of Fine Arts". Coalition of Essential Schools. Archived from the original on December 8, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "History". Alabama School of Fine Arts. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  4. ^ "Functional and Organizational Analysis of the Alabama School of the Fine Arts" (PDF). Alabama School of Fine Arts Functional Analysis and Records Deposition Authority. Retrieved 6 December 2013.
  5. ^ Michael Huebner (March 29, 2012). "Alabama School of Fine Arts readies to raise curtain on new theater". The Birmingham News. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  6. ^ "Diversity in Excellence". Stage Directions. Timeless Communications. November 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  7. ^ Alec Harvey (March 23, 2012). "Did you know 'Hunger Games' author Suzanne Collins has an Alabama connection?". The Birmingham News. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  8. ^
  9. ^ a b Carla Jean Whitley (November 28, 2011). "O+S return to the recording studio--and to Birmingham". Birmingham Magazine. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  10. ^ Bissell, Tom (August 15, 2011). "Voicebox 360". The New Yorker. Condé Nast. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Alumni News: Jennifer Hale – Theater Arts – 1982" (PDF). Applause – Alabama School of Fine Arts: 7. April 2015.
  12. ^ Chris Kies (May 2009). "Interview: Mastodon's Brent Hinds & Bill Kelliher". Premier Guitar. Gearhead Communications. Retrieved March 29, 2012.
  13. ^ "Robert Hoffman". The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 29, 2012.

External links[edit]