By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
The arts have a new home in Tupelo. Lee Farrar Bailey, son of Tupelo native and international opera star Dennis Bailey and a renowned performer and voice teacher in his own right, is opening up the Tupelo Performing Arts Academy in 2012.
“I feel strongly about this area. It’s my roots. It’s my home. The talent is there; it’s very strong,” Bailey said.
Bailey has partnered with CREATE, Inc., to make the academy possible.
The school will be based at the Link Centre, and classes start Jan. 10. The first round of classes and workshops will include acting, singing, guitar, piano, poetry writing, playwriting and screenwriting.
Bailey plans to expand the classes to include directing, opera, music composition, recording studio engineering, set design and more.
Classes are open to students of all ages.
“We’ll teach anybody, from first-graders all the way up to senior adults,” he said. “We won’t shut the door on anybody. It’s about the desire. It’s about the love of art.”
The academy will also include the Tupelo Southern Repertory Theatre Company, a professional company that will produce its own original plays and musicals as well as host professional touring companies.
Because the school is so new, it still needs donations in the form of money and instruments. The school is a nonprofit, so donations are a tax write-off, and Bailey said the school needs used instruments in good condition.
The Tupelo Performing Arts Academy’s website, tupeloarts.org, should be ready in the spring, Bailey said, and it will allow users to see class schedules and performance times and sign up for lessons and workshops.
Bailey is also interested in asking other arts teachers to join in with the academy, so he’ll have many teachers and studios under the umbrella of the Tupelo Performing Arts Academy.
“We’re stronger in numbers,” he said.
TO LEARN MORE about the Tupelo Performing Arts Academy, sign up for classes or donate, contact Lee Farrar Bailey at (601) 278-
2186 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
DONATIONS OF EITHER MONEY OR INSTRUMENTS can be made to CREATE, P.O. Box 1053, Tupelo, MS 38802 and designate the gift to either the Dennis Bailey Memorial or to the Tupelo Performing Arts Academy.