GSA History


School for the Arts Initiated in 1994
In 1994, under the leadership of Governor Gaston Caperton and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Marockie, the West Va. Governor's School for the Arts(GSA) was created. Initiated through the efforts of First Lady Rachel Worby, the first GSA at Fairmont State College proved to be a Mecca for 63 accomplished and growing young artists in the areas of dance, instrumental music, theatre and the visual arts. In 1998, the GSA broadened the curriculum to include vocal music. In 2003, Creative Writing was added, and in 2008, Digital Media was introduced.

The number of students has increased through the years to 112. Fairmont State hosted GSA 1994-1998; Marshall University was selected as the site for 1999-2000, with Dr. Larry Stickler as Dean. West Liberty State College, under Dean Mark Williams was the host 2001-2002, followed by a two-year stint at West Virginia University, where the Dean was William J Windsor. After a three-year return to Marshall and Dr. Larry Stickler. During the 2008-2010 tenure at West Liberty University, the den was Alfred Dejaager. Dr. Victor Thacker became dean when GSA moved to Davis & Elkins College in 2011. Upon his retirement, Tom Hackman assumed the dean's position and served through summer 2013, giving 108 students the opportunity to live and thrive in a community of artists.. 

When the school moved to West Virginia Wesleyan, the current site, Jessica Scott was chosen dean. In 2014, 112 students were in attendance. John Waltz took the helm in 2015, adding 14 students.  In 2016, Keith Saine, who was assistant dean in 2015, took over in 2016 and steered the good ship GSA on another successful voyage.

Now, in 2017, the school moves to Marshall University.  Dr. Maribea Barnes, professor of art education at Marshall, will serve as dean.