The arts soon will be riding higher than ever at Bryan Station High School.
The Lexington school is rebranding its popular Fine Arts Academy as a full-fledged special academic program called StationArts that will enable students to pursue majors in band, orchestra, vocal music, visual arts and other creative fields.
While that might sound like a mini-SCAPA, Bryan Station officials stress that StationArts is not intended to compete with the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, which is a magnet program.
Organizers said StationArts is designed to give kids an opportunity to explore various areas of the arts, find those they like and develop their skills. And if they decide to study the arts in college, finishing the StationArts program would give them a leg up in the race for scholarships.
StationArts won't roll out until fall 2014, but Bryan Station already is accepting online applications. All applications must be submitted online, and the deadline is Oct. 7. An open house to provide parents and students with more information will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
StationArts director Kristine Lyon said all students in the Bryan Station attendance area are eligible for the new program. In addition, StationArts will accept up to 50 students from outside the Bryan Station area, she said.
In effect, any student in the Fayette County Public Schools district may apply.
The exact number of students who will be accepted hasn't been determined.
Every student who applies will be invited to come in for an interview, and demonstrate his or talent or display art work. Students selected for StationArts will be notified before the end of the year, according to Lyon.
The student talent demonstrations are not intended as formal tryouts, she said.
"We don't have any set criteria where we say, 'If you can't do this you're out,'" she said. "We don't expect kids to know a lot. But we do need to see that there is a talent or a gift that we can develop and hone, and work with."
Bryan Station's Fine Arts Academy has functioned under much the same philosophy. It was launched about five years ago and quickly became popular, with almost 120 students enrolled this year. It also has led to an expansion of art offerings at Bryan Station.
"When I came here, there were two arts teachers and two or three arts classes," said Susan Lee, who began teaching visual arts at Bryan Station six years. "Now, I tell my students that when they complete my beginning arts class they can take more pottery class or my sculpture class or whatever."
Lee said she's excited about teaching in the StationArts program next year.
"I'm really pleased that we're going to be able to take some students from out of district," she said. "We want to be inclusive, not exclusive."
StationArts hopes to attract freshmen and sophomores because they would have the most time to benefit from being in the four-year program.
"It might not suit seniors, because they just wouldn't have much time in the program," Lyon said. "The earlier kids start the better."
StationArts also could be an alternative for students who apply to SCAPA and don't get in, she said.
Each student who applies must include letters of recommendation from his or her math teacher, language arts teacher and fine-arts teacher. Recommendation forms are available on the Web site.
Lyon said she hopes StationArts would help spread the word about the strength of the arts program Bryan Station has been building for the past few years.
"We had kids last year who got full rides to college out of our arts program, and a lot of people don't know that," she said.
Excitement about StationArts already is building, she said.
"We've had parents calling; we've had teachers and counselors from other schools calling," Lyon said. "And the kids are really pumped."
IF YOU GO
Open house to learn more about StationArts
When: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 4
Where: Bryan Station High School, 201 Eastin Rd.
If you can't attend: Call the school, (859) 381-3308, to arrange a meeting to discuss the program.
Learn more: Bshs.fcps.net/stationarts
Jim Warren (859) 231-3255.