Celebrating Our 25th Year

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Welcome to Friends of School of the Arts


A group of passionate not-for-profit Board members, called Friends of School of the Arts, focus their energies on responding to student needs at School of the Arts. The majority of these 1200 students are able to more fully participate in their arts education programs with financial support from Friends.

Friends is a charitable, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that supports the school’s mission by providing financial support and guidance to promote the academic, artistic and humanistic success of School of the Arts’ students. Friends of School of the Arts fills in the gaps with community support to promote positive outcomes for School of the Arts students by supporting everything from college and career prep, to student performances and master classes, to scholarships and personal needs.

Fundraising events and grants are the primary source of funding. Friends invites our students, families and the broader community to learn more about its work. Please consider making a donation and join Friends in making student success our mutual goal.

Friends of School of the Arts

Photo courtesy Ken Riemer Photography

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A Letter from Danelle Giannini, President, Friends of School of the Arts

Welcome Friends!

This is my first year as President of the Board of Friends of School of the Arts, and I am very excited and honored to serve the SOTA community in this capacity. I’m especially excited to begin my tenure this year as Friends of SOTA celebrates its 25th year of service to the students and staff of this exceptional institution.

Friends of SOTA was founded in 1992 with a vision to promote the academic, artistic, and humanistic success of SOTA students. We are a unique organization in that our very existence is premised on finding ways to say “YES, we can help with that!” As a philanthropic organization, our mission is providing financial support to help underwrite the rich learning experience that SOTA provides to its students. We fund master classes to bring artists into the classroom to share their insights on working and succeeding in the creative arts. We help fund field trips and immersive field studies. We provide needed materials to clubs and to teachers for special projects. We strive to never let financial need limit the potential of SOTA students, and help offset the cost of dance shoes, art supplies, competition entry fees or instrument repair if financial obstacles present a challenge to our students. And we pride ourselves in offering multiple scholarships to graduating SOTA seniors each year.

But we don’t do this work by ourselves. In the spirit of true community, Friends of SOTA really does rely on a network of FRIENDS to get the job done. Our Friends are people like YOU who attend our annual fundraising events like A Taste of Friendship and An Evening of Jazz to connect with faculty, staff and other supporters in a relaxed social atmosphere.

The generosity of our Friends is heartwarming as families and community partners contribute in ways large and small to our Annual Appeal to make sure that we have the resources for all we do. If you are already a Friend of SOTA, we thank you! I hope you will continue to support us with both your gifts and your talents so we can continue our work.

And, if you haven’t yet had a chance to get to know us, we invite you to stop at our table in the lobby by during intermission or after one of our shows. We’d love to be FRIENDS!

With gratitude,

Danelle Giannini, President Friends of School of the Arts
#friendofSOTA: Be One!

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Read our latest 'Friends to Friends' NewsletterFrom Friends to Friends Newsletter


At Rochester’s 2nd Annual Black Author Expo Contest in May, ninth grader Shaddai Simmons won the Free-form Poetry category for grades 7-9, and seventh grader Elexana Cabrera was chosen as one of the winners of the Marsha Jones Youth Writing Award. To commemorate their 35th anniversary, Writers & Books (University Ave., Rochester) ran a 35-word short story contest. They received over 1,200 entries and two SOTA students were selected to the top 35. READ MORE ABOUT THESE TALENTED STUDENTS IN OUR LATEST NEWSLETTER.

Click here to download the Spring/Summer 2016 issue.

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