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Helpline: (502) 566-5192

Our Cornerstone: Summer Program

Every summer, our faculty of professional artists and educators guide over five hundred of Kentucky’s finest young artists through three weeks of incredibly intense (and incredibly fun) arts instruction. For three weeks, the students live, breathe, eat and sleep the arts. It’s a thrilling, often life-changing experience, as they meet new friends, explore their creativity, and discover new things about who they are and who they can be in the future.

GSA auditions & reviews the Commonwealth’s most promising high school sophomores and juniors in nine different arts disciplines: Creative Writing, Dance, Design (formerly known as Architecture + Design), Drama, Film + Photography, Instrumental Music, Musical Theatre, Visual Art and Vocal Music. While GSA historically took place over the course of three weeks in late June and early July, beginning in 2022, we now offer two separate three-week sessions, in the last three weeks of June and the last three weeks of July. 

GSA is an arts education program of The Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. GSA is offered at no cost to the student, and is made available through funding from the state, as well as private fundraising. The value of GSA is over $4,000 per student.

GSA has served all 120 counties in the Commonwealth through the summer program. GSA is a statewide program and encourages geographical and ethnic diversity. However, GSA does not establish quotas.
GSA does not discriminate or give advantages to anyone. This includes preference based on region or county, urban or rural, experience, training, high school vs. home school, instrument, voice type, body type, etc.

Potential and attitude are as important in the GSA audition/review process as is talent. The most talented student will not succeed at GSA if they are not interested in becoming better than they already are. GSA is not just an award – it is an opportunity to learn and grow. GSA adjudicators look at these young artists holistically, not just their product/performance.

Students do not need to be nominated for GSA. Students may choose to apply without permission or nomination from any school official. However, a recommendation from two adults who are not directly related to the student is required with each artform application.

GSA does not make accepted and alternate student selections until after the Final Round auditions/reviews.

Application Process

In order to be considered for the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, students must meet the following selection criteria:

  • Currently be a sophomore or junior in high school or home school.
  • Live, attend school, or have a parent/ guardian who works in Kentucky.
  • Complete the application by the due date in January. GSA will not consider incomplete applications. There is a fee for applying: $35 for one art form/$50 for two art forms. Students that receive free and reduced lunch have the option to waive the fee.
  • Complete the Recommendation Process as part of the Preliminary Round application.
  • If selected as a finalist, complete the Final Round in March.

Recommendation Process
Students applying to GSA are required to identify two people who will complete recommendation forms in support of their GSA application. Recommenders can be teachers (from inside or outside of the student's school and in any subject), school administrators (i.e., guidance counselor), mentors, or other people involved in the student's personal or artistic development such as a coach, youth minister, or staff at an organization for which they volunteer. Links to an online recommendation form are sent to the recommenders' emails (which are entered by the student at the beginning of the application).


Alumni Benefits

Upon completion of the Summer Program, alumni are qualified for several exclusive benefits. 

College & Career Day 
Each fall, GSA alumni who are juniors and seniors in high school are invited to participate in our special College and Career Day.  Representatives from approximately 80 top national colleges gather at Louisville’s Youth Performing Arts School to share information about their schools with GSA students and their parents and to conduct auditions and interviews.  It's a concentrated and convenient way to "speed date" prospective colleges and universities. Alumni walk away from College and Career Day with new connections to a diverse range of schools and better ideas of what they want out of their secondary education experience. Some even receive direct scholarship offers that day.

Because GSA alumni are talented and driven individuals who want to make a difference in their communities, 30 colleges and universities (both inside and outside of Kentucky) offer the following scholarship opportunities to GSA alumni.  While GSA alumni are great candidates for many scholarships, each of the opportunities are specific to completion of GSA’s summer program.

Toyota Alumni Fund
Thanks to the generous support of Toyota Motor Manufacturing, The Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts (GSA) is proud to offer GSA alumni the opportunity to apply for the Toyota Alumni Fund (TAF). The goal of the fund is to support GSA alumni in their artistic development. This can include a professional development opportunity or creation and implementation of a project.

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