Questions and Answers Regarding the New Community Arts School

Q&A for OPA Constituents

Q: Will OPA still be nonprofit?
A: While OPA will no longer exist as an entity, BW is a nonprofit organization and our work still operates under this legal tax status.

Q: Will BW be taking over OPA finances?
A: Yes, BW now manages all finances related to the BW Community Arts School – which includes monies previously earned by OPA.

Q: Did any OPA staff or board member(s) receive any funds from this?
A: No individuals received payment from the purchase of OPA. This decision was made to ensure financial stability to enable continuation of the best programming and experience for our OPA families.

Q: Will the OPA staff change? What will the merged CAS staff look like?
A: BW has hired Angela Boehm, Heather Dennen, Toni Fenimore and Megan Ferguson as BW employees in the Community Arts School. They remain focused on providing exceptional programming. The following is a list of key CAS administrators that represents the larger, blended leadership team: Adam Sheldon, director Angela Boehm, artistic director Meredith Kurtz, assistant director and private lesson coordinator Jeanette Hagerty, program coordinator, music and theatre Heather Dennen, program coordinator, dance Toni Fenimore, community relations and growth manager Megan Ferguson, program coordinator, group classes, and events manager

Q: Will the OPA faculty change?
A: We will continue to run spring programming with the faculty advertised.

Q: Will the location change?
A: We do not have any plans for OPA dance, theater, art, film and gymnastics to move; they will remain in the Helwig Whistle Stop building at this time. Private music lessons will be moved to the BW Conservatory and we are very excited about this change. BW has state-of-the-art studios with Steinway pianos which will enhance learning for all our private music students.

Q: Who will be in charge of running OPA? Does OPA have an equal voice or is BW the decision maker?
A: OPA is now the BW Community Arts School and will be managed by a BW leadership team that includes current OPA staff. Adam Sheldon (former director, BW Community Music School) will serve as CAS director and oversee the management of this new enterprise. Angela Boehm will serve as artistic director and work in collaboration with Adam.

Q: What are BW’s plans for growing OPA?
A: BW Community Arts School will work with OPA’s current staff to continue evolving and providing the highest caliber arts education to all students.

Q: Will you still be youth focused and family friendly?
A: Yes, the focus of CAS will still be on youth education and our programming will continue to be family friendly. Our core values remain the same and we will continue to put families and students first in both our programming and in the decisions and choices we make.

Q: Will you be offering the same departments and classes? Will there be new classes?
A: Currently, all departments remain the same and continue to offer the same programming. The new CAS leadership team will continue to explore improved programming options for the future.

Q: Who will be picking the shows you produce?
A: Angela Boehm will continue to lead as artistic director and Jeanette Hagerty will assist as a program coordinator. Decisions will be approved by the new combined CAS leadership team.

Q: Will OPA still rely on volunteers?
A: As a nonprofit, we will always need to utilize volunteers to ensure successful productions and programming.

Q: How did this come about?
A: BW saw value in the shared vision to provide arts education programs to the community and to prepare children for careers in the arts. The University also was encouraged by the demonstration of support and commitment from OPA families during the recent campaign. A big thank you to all of our OPA families for their support and being the heart of OPA.

Q: What does this mean for OPA’s financial future?
A: The acquisition puts us in a position to be financially stable and sustainable, and to foster growth. BW assumes all financial responsibility and oversight through the new CAS structure.

Q: What will happen to the tuition I've already paid (or credit I have)?
A: Any tuition you have already paid will still be honored. Any credits you have currently must be used for spring and/or summer session classes and/or productions. All credits must be used before June 30, 2019, and no credits can be used toward fall programming.

Q: Does this mean all shows will be held at BW?
A: We will utilize BW stage space in addition to off-campus performance venues.

Q: Will pricing change?
A: Our pricing for the spring session will remain the same. We will evaluate pricing as we currently do at the beginning of every session. Please be assured the BW Community Arts School is committed to accessible programming.

Q: Can I get a refund if I don’t like the classes/change
A: We encourage you to give this opportunity a chance with your continued participation. If we don’t meet your expectations, please let us know, and we will honor our current policies.

Q: What classes will be run by college students?
A: BW students are not permitted to ‘run’ classes. With specific professional oversight, college students will enhance instruction by assisting with classes and ensembles. BW students have a long history of teaching and working with community members as part of their coursework and your student’s experience will be enriched with this additional support. We remain committed to exceptional quality and will position BW students to enhance your experience.

Q: Will parents still get credits for referrals?
A: No. The referral program is no longer in place.

Q: Will I still receive makeups of missed classes?
A: Any classes missed on your own accord will not be able to be made up. Should there be a cancellation on behalf of the organization, a makeup solution will be provided.

Q: What advantages will the BW side of operations bring to the existing OPA experience?
A: The BW Community Music School has a wide variety of music education and performance opportunities for students which will complement OPA’s existing music programs and provide the best music education possible. The size of BW operations also offers stability and resources that will allow this new enterprise to grow and serve our community in a much more effective way.

Q&A for BW Constituents

Q: What changes are in store for the BW Community Music School?
A: Our community-based music programming is not impacted by this acquisition. In fact, there are now multiple opportunities to enhance music programming by considering cross-disciplinary opportunities. We are thrilled to be able to grow our family and include multiple disciplines with this new enterprise.

Q: Why would the Community Music School want to provide additional programming in visual art, theatre, dance and film?
A: The BW Community Music School has been studying market demand and preliminary results confirm the need for youth and adult programming in multiple arts disciplines.

Q: Why OPA?
A: OPA has a strong arts education reputation in the community that aligns with BW’s goals.

Q: OPA has constantly been asking for donations. If OPA couldn’t make their operation sustainable, how does BW think they will make it sustainable?
A: BW has infrastructure (payroll, IT, building and grounds, etc.) that can help reduce overhead costs and allow for a more efficient and sustainable model of delivery for high-quality, community-based programming.

Q: Why is BW expending resources outside the University’s core mission when tuition for undergraduate and graduate students is already a burden?
A: Our mission, vision and values include providing access to community education, as well as opportunities for BW students to assist in teaching.

Q: Will we, as faculty, have the chance to meet the new staff and faculty?
A: Of course! New staff will be introduced to the BW community as we do with all new faces on campus. We will also host several open houses so staff and faculty can meet one another.

Q: Will the CMS office be moving?
A: With dual facilities now, some CAS staff will be located at the (former) OPA’s Whistle Stop location, and some staff will be located the current CMS Conservatory location. Meredith Kurtz (who will oversee all private lessons) remains at BW. Adam Sheldon and Jeanette Hagerty will split their time between BW and Whistle Stop.

Q: Does this free up space in the Conservatory?
A: Not necessarily. BW has grown this program to serve four additional disciplines which also require space. We will evaluate the most effective way to leverage space in these two locations (the Conservatory and Whistle Stop) to best serve all needs. We do know that all current private lessons in music from OPA will be moving to BW as our facility is better equipped. Meredith Kurtz and Craig Reynolds will be working on this.

Q: Can BW use this new space for classes or workshops?
A: The City of Berea has specific regulations regarding the business of BW. The City has noted that community-based programming is different from tuition-based University coursework. As such, use of the Whistle Stop location for BW programming may require a conditional use permit.

Q: Will any CMS programming be moving to this new space?
A: Adam Sheldon will be speaking with faculty individually to assess if this makes sense. While we’ve acquired new space, the space is already booked with a significant number of existing classes, rehearsals and lessons.

Q: Where will Adam Sheldon be located and what is his role?
A: Adam Sheldon remains in his current administrative role and will oversee this new enterprise including all high school programming and Conservatory visits. He will rely on the program coordinators of the new CAS to help lead the community-facing department areas. Adam continues to report to the Dean of the Conservatory of Music and remains part of the Conservatory leadership team. Adam will split his time between BW and Whistle Stop.

Q: As a faculty member of BW, why wouldn’t we be notified sooner of this change or have input in this decision?
A: The acquisition is just the beginning. The new BW Community Arts School will involve individuals and expertise across campus as we work collaboratively to evolve and develop what will become the new CAS. The strategic planning process for the new CAS is expected to take place through the spring semester.