Breaking Barriers and Defying Stereotypes
Founded by Linda Shirley, The Arts Connection, is the umbrella organization overseeing the Renaissance Academy of Learning and The Arts Conservatory. It is not just a daycare or a performing arts school—it's a visionary venture that has evolved over decades, touching the lives of hundreds of students and families.
In 1975, Linda, armed with a musical background and love for the arts, opened a music studio in her home, teaching piano. The home studio quickly gained popularity and over the years, expanded to a 1200 sq ft facility providing music, dance, and visual arts classes, now known as The Arts Conservatory.
As demand increased, Linda recognized an additional need for a comprehensive fine arts preschool and daycare, giving birth to what is now known as the Renaissance Academy of Learning. The Arts Connection grew rapidly, and the journey continued with the acquisition of additional spaces, each renovation and expansion requiring immense financial commitment.
In the early 90s, Linda fought an uphill battle with financial institutions who refused to lend her money. Rooted in traditional views of women in business, the banks dismissed her entrepreneurial endeavours. However, fueled by determination Linda leaned on her supportive friends and family who helped her fulfill her ambitions
Making a Difference Beyond the Classroom
Today, with over 800 enrollments, The Arts Connection provides a unique blend of education and artistic expression from high-end academic programs for preschoolers to a vibrant after-school initiative. The institution's growth mirrors Linda’s dedication to creating a space where children can thrive creatively and academically.
Linda believes that “children learn by example. You can preach to them, you can read to them but what they learn and what they grow with, is what they see”.
Therefore, The Arts Connection places emphasis on developing good citizenship and empathy in children by involving students and families in fundraising activities. Proceeds are donated to local and international initiatives that are in keeping with the values of the organization and not to their operating budget.
The Arts Connection's journey is more than a success story; it's a narrative of breaking barriers, defying stereotypes, and crafting a legacy of creativity and education. The Arts Connection stands as a testament to the transformative power of art and education when driven by a visionary founder and a community dedicated to nurturing creativity.
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