CSSMA was founded in 1990, in a small loft at 311 Church Street, (right around the corner from our current home on 41 White Street), by Lauri Bailey and Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores. They brought deep knowledge of education, musicianship, child-development and music therapy to their venture. The school was founded on the deep belief in the transformative power of the arts. Their goal was to offer a safe space for students, no matter their background or abilities, to experience high quality arts programming that focused on individual students’ hands-on experience. The community response was instantly positive and 30 years later, the school has served nearly 20,000 families!
With great community response, the student body, teaching faculty and program offerings grew and grew over the years, requiring a move to a new building and expansion! The move to 74 Warren Street gave new life and opportunity to the school that now had new practice rooms, a developed visual arts department and the ability to run its own arts-centered preschool! Access to the arts for ALL has always been a crucial part of the CSSMA mission.
Over the past 30 years, CSSMA has endured many difficult times, from 9/11 to the 2008 economic crash, and beyond. Today the world is experiencing unprecedented challenges and we need to be here for each other. Generous support has always helped our not-for-profit school remain a haven for the arts and creative expression. Whether offering free choruses, music therapy, after school art clubs that explore all media and breed friendships, and of course music lessons and classes for people of ALL ages and abilities, THESE are the tools that allow the human spirit to triumph in a rapidly changing and often challenging world.
After 30 years, Church Street School for Music and Art remains the only not-for-profit community school for the arts in Lower Manhattan. The arts are an essential tool in meeting the demands of the current cultural landscape, processing experiences, and sharing ones’ voice. With all of the extreme complexities life is throwing our way, it is of the utmost importance that resources for self expression and development through the arts are preserved and strengthened. Thank you for being a part of our CSSMA Community, we look forward to growing together through the arts!
Our Mission Statement
Church Street School for Music and Art is the only nonprofit community school for the arts in lower Manhattan, committed to providing high-quality art and music programs for diverse students of all ages, abilities, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and socioeconomic backgrounds. We believe in the transformative and therapeutic power of the arts and are dedicated to providing accessibility to the arts for all.
Hello from Lisa, our Exectuive Director
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Community and the arts are profoundly important especially in today’s world. Your gift makes it possible for us to actualize our mission & offer access to the arts for ALL. Thank you for your generosity!