Supporting the arts

June 2019 View more

Students at the new Paramount School of the Arts in Aurora

Fine arts offerings in the western suburbs will see a significant uptick this month as the Paramount School of the Arts (8 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora) opens its doors. The school is the anchor tenant in the new John C. Dunham Aurora Arts Center (5 E. Galena Blvd.)—formerly Waubonsee Community College—currently in the final stages of a $35 million development of the Community Builders. The three-story, mixed-use building will include studio spaces and classrooms for the school, a fine-dining restaurant, and 38 apartments in the Artesan Lofts complex for working artists.

“The actual portion for the school is closer to $14 million,” says president and CEO Tim Rater, who was hired in 2010 following his successful launch of the Metropolis School of the Performing Arts in Arlington Heights.

Shannon Cameron, the director of education and community relations, has a palpable passion for the school.

“The arts are a vehicle for positive transformation in people’s lives. We want to make sure [students] live their best lives, and understand themselves and can express themselves. It’s so much more than training kids in the arts—it’s about building community.”

The 25,000-square-foot facility is planning an open house event on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when guests can tour the school’s new classroom, rehearsal, and performance spaces and sample the summer camps and year-round classes that will be offered.

Over 45 summer camps are currently available in theater, music, and dance, and classes for all ages—from babies to seniors—start in the fall.

“We think we’ll have special classes that people can’t find elsewhere,” says Cameron, “or a teacher who is particularly exciting that people would be willing to drive for.”—MD

Photo courtesy Paramount School of the Arts