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The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts (PGSA) was a five-week summer academy for gifted high school students in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  The goal of PGSA was to create an environment where gifted students could learn and grow as artists, as people, and as advocates for the arts. Equally important, the graduates of PGSA would be the creative and cultural leaders of the future. They would not only help tell the story of where we have been, but they would help create and shape the narrative of tomorrow. 

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What Was PGSA ?

From 1972 to 2008, The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts provided artistic, aesthetic, critical and cultural experiences, and training for selected sophomores and juniors in the areas of visual art, creative writing, dance, music, and theater. The school provided students with the opportunity for artistic growth in creative studio activities as well as in criticism, aesthetics, historical context, and multiculturalism. Living and learning in an environment that replicates an artists' community, students were led to understand how they might serve their schools and communities. These experiences provided students with a more informed basis from which to assess their commitment to artistic endeavors.

PGSA was defunded by Pennsylvania's 2009–2010 state budget. In the era of No Child Left Behind, education dollars in America are aimed at raising minimum student scores but ignoring our gifted and motivated students dilutes our standards of excellence. PGSA was an extraordinary program that challenged and empowered its alumni.

Historically, secondary schools have dealt with the arts in a very limited way. Meaningful experiences in dance, theater and photography are, unfortunately, still quite rare.  In the case of visual art, music and creative writing, study is frequently limited by time and space constraints, a lack of equipment and facilities, and little exposure to master teachers and artists.  Considering these factors, it is little wonder that many students find it easier to achieve recognition in other areas.  In addition to this, many artistically talented students are perceived as being "different." Such students need a place and time where they can meet each other and discover that they are not alone.  At PGSA these students discovered that it is more than acceptable to be creative and artistically talented.


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