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Butler Community Arts School
Butler Community Arts School

Mission, Vision, Values

The Butler Community Arts School, an initiative of the Jordan College of the Arts, opened its doors to the community in September 2002. The mission of Butler Community Arts School at Butler University is to foster and promote broad access to high quality arts instruction designed to meet community needs, while developing civic-mindedness in university students. Compared to pre-college programs at other universities, BCAS is distinctive in holding over 60 percent of its class offerings at off-campus community sites and in utilizing college students as primary instructors.

We Believe

  • In the importance of providing high quality, affordable instruction in music, dance, theatre and visual art to Indianapolis and the surrounding area.
  • In the necessity of exposure to and participation in the arts regardless of age, race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, level of ability, or economic status.
  • In the vital provision of opportunities for Butler University students majoring in the arts to teach and interact with the community in order to better prepare them for careers as artists and teachers, and for their lives as citizens.

Community Partnerships

In line with its strategic directive to help Butler students discover a life of purpose and a greater sense of civic-mindedness, the university established the Butler Community Arts School (BCAS) as an arts education and outreach program. BCAS has active, year-round collaborative relationships with fifteen community partners, including United Way agencies; public, private and charter schools; community centers; and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. These partnerships include after school lessons (private and group) at community sites, joint performances and projects, and ongoing collaboration to promote arts education to constituent families.

Our long-term community partnerships have been successful due to a strong mutual commitment: 1) To serve youth in meaningful, substantial ways; 2) To provide high quality instruction with clear learning objectives; 3) To nurture the artistic and creative abilities of all children.

To explore a partnership with your organization, please contact the BCAS director, Karen Thickstun, at


BCAS programs are provided with support from: Christel DeHaan Family Foundation; F.R.Hensel Fund for Fine Arts, Music, and Education, a fund of The Indianapolis Foundation, a CICF affiliate; the Indiana Arts Commission, a state agency; and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Butler UniversityIndiana Arts Commission: Making the Arts HappenNational Endowment for the Arts: arts.govSummer Youth Program Fund