About GSA

​​If you are a tenth-grader who writes, dances, sings, plays an instrument, acts, or draws/paints, take the time to explore this site and talk about it with other students who have attended. They report that the Governor's School for the Arts (GSA) is the "most awesome experience" of their lives. Read through the entire site before making your decision. If it seems that this is just the opportunity you have been looking for, take the first step.  It could change you forever. Apply by January 18; submit your audition by January 25, 2023.

School for the Arts Initiated to Provide 'Artist Colony' for State's Talented Sophomores;

In 1994, under the leadership of Governor Gaston Caperton and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Henry Marockie, the West Virginia 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.
Dean Suzanne Snyder and 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 (2003-2004), where the dean was William J Windsor. After a three-year return to Marshall and Dr. Larry Stickler, the school returned to Dean Alfred DeJaager and West Liberty University, 2008-2010. Dr. Victor Thacker became dean when GSA moved to Davis & Elkins College in 2011. Upon Thacker's retirement at the end of the first session, 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 in 2014, Jessica Scott was dean and 112 students attended. John Waltz took the helm in 2015, adding 14 students. In 2016, Keith Saine, who was assistant dean in 2015, took over and steered the good ship GSA on another successful voyage. In 2017, the school moved to Marshall University. Dr. Maribea Barnes​-Marsano, professor of art education, who has captained the voyage since it returned to Marshall, will continue in that role in 2023. The assistant dean is Dr. Hanna Kozlowski, professor of art at Marshall.

State coordinators of the School for the Arts have been Dr. Virginia Simmons,1995-1999, and Sherry Keffer, 1999-2022. WVDE Director of Student Enrichment, Joey Wiseman, Dr. Ray Lowthe are coordinating the program in 2023.