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Unattributed | Alive

Total Raised


Last Raised

$1.63M | 8 yrs ago

About Blackbird Academy

Blackbird Academy, dba Blackbird Studio, is a recording studio designed with state-of-the-art facilities and technologies.

Blackbird Academy Headquarter Location

2806 Azalea Place

Nashville, Tennessee, 37204,

United States


Latest Blackbird Academy News

Museum to come alive in Blackbird production

May 6, 2018

As the Blackbird Academy of Arts winds down its current season, the local not-for-profit organization will present an all-academy production, Museum Alive, on Saturday. The one-night production will begin at 6 in the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway. The public is invited. Tickets range in price from $4 to $12 and will be available at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased online at The plot revolves around the adventures of two young people — children of the art museum’s curator — who come to work with their mother because their baby sitter is sick. They spend a day of mystery and intrigue as the art museum comes alive. Museum Alive is a two-act production featuring more than 120 students. It is an original piece, written and choreographed by Blackbird staff and featuring students from all of the academy’s programs. “The goal of this all-academy performance is to involve students from all of our programs,” said Jennie Strange, executive director of Blackbird Academy. The academy offers classes in creative writing, dance, film, music, sewing, theater and visual arts; it also offers a home-school arts-enrichment program. “We hope to showcase what our students have learned, as well as educate our audience,” Strange said, adding that this show makes reference to famous paintings and various genres of art. “This show is a remake of a show we did in 2011,” Strange said. “We have expanded the original version and rewritten the original script. It weaves together dance, theater, art and music to tell the story of an art museum that comes to life. “We feature original artwork by area artists,” she said. “We have paintings by local artists, art clubs and home-school groups. We have reached out to the community to help us. “Melissa Simpson of Conway created a painting of a dance class,” Strange said. “That painting is a key feature of the story. It’s used throughout the performance. People may donate $5 for a chance to win the painting. “Approximately 250 costumes have been created in-house and by volunteers in their own homes. Angina Dickson of Conway is our costume coordinator. She has been working with a large group of seamstresses to create the costumes and sets.” Madison Wilson of Morrilton is the performance director. “I make sure everything is ready for the performance,” said Wilson, who graduated from the University of Central Arkansas in 2015 with a degree in theater. “I started teaching at Blackbird Academy when I was in college and worked my way up to a staff position. I also direct and have directed musicals in the past.” Actors from the Blackbird theater apprentice class are featured in the production. Avery Steadham and Ava Piraino, both of Conway, play the two children who experience the museum as it comes to life. Avery, 14, plays Jackson. Avery attends Conway Junior High School and has been a student at Blackbird Academy since he was in the fifth grade. This is the second time he has appeared in an all-academy production. He hopes to study theater in college. Ava, 11, plays Mary. Ava attends St. Joseph Middle School and has been a student at Blackbird Academy since she was in the first grade. This is her third all-academy production. She hopes to study theater in college. Mikayla Sellers, 18, of Conway appears as Kaitlyn, the intern at the museum who is in charge of making sure all of the artwork is prepared for an upcoming gala. She finds that a major piece of art is missing, and she takes Jackson and Mary with her as she searches for it throughout the museum. Sellers takes both theater and dance classes at Blackbird Academy, where she has been a student for eight years. She is a senior at Conway High School and plans to attend UCA this fall and major in theater. Liberty Dickson, a home-school student in Conway, appears as the narrator of Museum Alive. Darby Burdine of Conway appears as Barbara, the mother, in the upcoming production. Burdine teaches drama at Bigelow High School and is involved in Conway Community Arts Association productions at The Lantern Theatre. “There are five speaking parts, with four of those being our students,” Strange said. “The rest of the performers are dancers. “Dance teachers play a huge role in this production,” she said. “Paul Tillman of Little Rock is a dance instructor here and also at Ballet Arkansas. He is helping Madison with the set design. Our other dance instructors include Heather Paladino of Greenbrier, Melodie Moore of Conway, Megan Hustel of Little Rock, Hailey Hayes and Lauren Porter, who are both students at Hendrix College, and myself.” Strange said Blackbird Academy presents four major productions per year — a musical, a play, a ballet and an all-academy performance. “Our 2018-2019 season will begin in the fall,” she said. “Our musical will be Junie B. Jones Jr.; our play, Charlotte’s Web; our ballet, Snow White; and our all-academy production, Sophia’s Fantastical Circus.” For more information on the Blackbird Academy of Arts, call (501) 336-8200 or visit

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