About Friends of School of the Arts

A Brief History of Our Organization

The School of the Arts is Rochester’s only arts-based middle and secondary school. The school was opened in 1981 as a small arts magnet by the Rochester City School District. The original students were housed in various locations throughout the city. In 1994, the district opened a new building to advance the successful arts programs and provide the facilities to serve a significantly larger student population.

School of the Arts is located on the corner of Prince Street and University Avenue. It was the former dormitory for the Eastman School of Music. The building was donated and is owned by the Rochester City School District. It was renovated to provide classroom space, labs and an Arts Center complete with three theatres, four dance studios, a music wing and specialized rooms for the various arts disciplines. The original building facade was retained in the Commons area. Performance space includes the Black Box Theatre, Ensemble Theatre and Allen Main Stage Theatre.

School leadership knew that a significant number of low-income students would not have the financial resources to fully participate in the critical arts programs, so in 1992 Friends of School of the Arts was founded

Mission Statement

Friends of School of the Arts is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, organization that provides financial support and guidance to promote the academic, artistic and humanistic success of School of the Arts’ students.

Cureent Friends of School of the Arts Board of Directors

Click here for a list of our current Board of Directors.

Students Say

“This opportunity gives me hope that there are good people in the world that want to see kids achieve their dreams.”

“I enjoyed the readings, the writers were talented and inspirational. [One author] began her career in the same place as me and look at her now. It was very encouraging.”

“I can’t believe this is happening and I am so excited to learn how to play! This is a start to discovering what I am capable of… I have the right people in my corner striving to keep me going in a positive direction.”

“Thank you for the support throughout my high school years. You are greatly appreciated!”

“I’m honored that my mural got (sic) chosen to stay at SOTA. I appreciate your generosity.”

“Everything you do for the SOTA community is amazing and beautiful to everyone. I’m very appreciative that I went to a high school with such a strong organization backing it.”

You Are Invited

Friends invites our students, families and the broader community to learn more about its work. Please consider making a donationattending an event, working on a committee or joining our Board to make student success our mutual goal. “Like” us on Facebook.


Due to the generosity of alumni and other donors Friends is able to offer several scholarships to graduating SOTA seniors who will pursue their art at the college level. Students can apply by filling out the scholarship application form.

If you would like to contribute to any of our scholarship funds please go to our “DONATE” page and click on “Donate to the Scholarship Fund”. Add a note indicating the fund to which you would like to contribute .