Aurora's New Paramount School Of The Arts Grand Opening Set for June 1
The new Paramount School of the Arts will celebrate its Grand Opening on Saturday, June 1, 2019, a date that will launch a new era for the live performing arts in downtown Aurora.
Paramount School of the Arts, 20 S. Stolp Ave., is Aurora's new destination for performing arts education for all ages, located right next to downtown Aurora's beautiful Paramount Theatre. The new school is an anchor tenant in the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, formerly Waubonsee Community College's downtown location. Following completion of a $35 million renovation, Paramount School of the Arts is just days away from its rebirth as downtown Aurora's newest crown jewel.
On Saturday, June 1 at 9 a.m., officials with Paramount Theatre, The Community Builders Inc., the City of Aurora, Invest Aurora, the Illinois Housing Development Authority, the Dunham Fund and other key supporters will gather in front of Aurora's new Paramount School of the Arts for an official ribbon cutting and celebration.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the school will open its doors to the public for the first time and host a free, fun-filled Open House for the entire family.
Activities include tours of the school's new classroom, rehearsal and performance spaces, meet and greets with teaching artists and staff, and free classes for all ages, from six months to seniors. Sample classes include Hip Hop, Broadway, Ballet and Jazz, with Sample Improvisation and Sample Kindermusik classes going on all day.
Games, refreshments and free prizes are also part of the school's big debut. Large crowds are anticipated with more than 700 people already RSVPd for the Open House. Learn more and register online via the school's new website, ParamountSchoolofTheArts.com.
"We are so ready to welcome the public inside Paramount School of the Arts, a place that will train young actors, dancers and musicians for a culture-filled life, nurture the arts in Chicago's western suburbs and add to the excitement, cultural and economic activity in downtown Aurora", said Tim Rater, President and CEO, Paramount Theatre.
Starting Monday, June 3, Paramount School of the Arts will launch its series of summer camp experiences, offering instruction in everything from ballet to Broadway, strings to songwriting, cosplay to choreography. Spots are filling quickly for more than 40 different summer theater, music and dance camps ready to educate and entertain area youth ages 6 months to 19 years. There are camps for songwriting, improv, piano, strings, ukulele, vocal technique, rap and rhyming, ballet, hip-hop and more.
Paramount will also introduce private lessons and coaching sessions in musical instruments, vocal performance, theater, dance and audition coaching, along with early childhood music classes taught by Kindermusik, the world's leading provider of music-based education for children from birth through age seven.
See the full roster at ParamountSchoolofTheArts.com or call Paramount Theatre's education department at (630) 896-6810.
Looking beyond summer, Paramount's roster of fall classes and private instruction opportunities will be unveiled at the June 1 Open House, where guests can register on-site at discounted, early-bird rates. Fall registration officially launches Saturday, June 1 at 10 a.m.
Fall offerings include an expanded series of classes for children as young as six months, special intensives that offer behind-the-scenes looks at Paramount's 2019-2020 Broadway Series productions, new classes for adults and seniors including Abstract Painting for Adults, even fitness classes like yoga, Zumba and cardio-kickboxing.
The school will also launch its Musical Theater Institute this fall, offering pre-professional training for high school students that plan to go on to perform professionally or study musical theater in college. Training is led by Paramount fan-favorite Paul-Jordan Jansen, who played the Cowardly Lion in Paramount's The Wizard of Oz earlier this season, and earned a Jeff Award for Best Actor for his memorable portrayal of Sweeney Todd at Paramount.
Paramount's Musical Theater Institute is led by Paul-Jordan Jansen, who played the Cowardly Lion in Paramount's The Wizard of Oz earlier this season, and earned a Jeff Award for Best Actor for his memorable portrayal of Sweeney Todd at Paramount.
Paramount's education staff has assembled a deep schedule of engaging, inspirational and educational class and camp experiences with one goal in mind: create hands-on training to teach, guide and open the minds of young artists and help them discover and expand the artist within, said Shannon Cameron, Director of Education and Community Relations, Paramount Theatre. Our students will have access to some of the finest teaching artists and professionals in the country, many seen on the Paramount Theatre stage. We are also committed to being accessible and affordable to all students, including persons with special needs and from low-income families.
Paramount School of the Arts is part of the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, envisioned by The Community Builders Inc., a non-profit developer, in partnership with Paramount Theatre, the City of Aurora, Invest Aurora and the Illinois Housing Development Authority. The 80,000-square foot mixed-use development also houses a new, high end restaurant created by Chicago restaurateur Amy Morton (opening this fall), 38 affordable, loft-style apartments, many already occupied by working artists, a street-level gallery to display residents' art, plus additional rehearsal space and artist housing for Paramount Theatre.
The Aurora Civic Center Authority (ACCA), led by Rater, manages Paramount Theatre, Paramount School of the Arts, Copley Theatre and RiverEdge Park. The lion's share of funding for the new school came via Paramount's recently completed Act 2 Capital Campaign, which surpassed its $4.5 million goal thanks in part to a $2.5 million grant from the Dunham Fund.
The iconic building at the intersection of Stolp Ave. and Galena Blvd., now the John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center, had has long been notable for its architectural terra cotta cladding, prism glass transoms above the storefronts and Chicago style windows on the second and third floor. The building had been shuttered since 2011 after Waubonsee Community College relocated its downtown campus to its current location across the river. It was originally the Block and Kuhl Store, built in 1928 by the Aurora Development Company. The building became a Carson Pirie Scott store in 1961. In 1986, the Waubonsee College Extension Center opened inside.