Community Outreach

Parent Group Outings A Big Success

The newly formed parent group, Mason Academy Parents (aka MAP), coordinated two family outings recently to events at Mason’s Center for the Arts: a production of The Phantom Tollbooth on January 27th and a Fairfax Symphony concert on February 2nd. Participants and their family members enjoyed discounted tickets and special pre-performance receptions.

One of the MAP leaders, Jennifer Gibson, played a key role in arranging the logistics of the outings. “I am thrilled with our turnout for the first ever MAP family outings!” she exclaimed. “People were able to connect with each other and enjoy some fabulous productions right here at Mason. This captures the spirit of our group. I look forward to planning more outings in the future!”


MAP outing at Phantom Tollbooth


“I’m so grateful to MAP for taking the initiative and organizing these great events,” said Academy Executive Director Libby Curtis. “I love seeing the Academy families together enjoying great conversation, food, and performances! This is a great addition for our community and adds so much to the life of the Academy.”

Along with organized family outings, MAP also provides Academy event support such as music recital and theater showcase assistance, and future plans include community-building projects.


MAP outing at FSO concert


If you would like to get more involved at the Academy and participate in these special events and initiatives, contact Jennifer Gibson and Jenna Day at .


Community Outreach Music

Piano Available To Good Home – Dec 14

A generous community member from Falls Church, VA recently contacted the Academy about donating her acoustic upright piano to a good home. If anyone is interested in accepting this donation, please contact us asap.

The piano (pictured above) is a 45-year-old Wurlitzer acoustic upright. The piano itself would be free of charge (to a good home); however, the recipient is required to pay for the moving expense, which averages around $250-300 (when using a professional piano moving company) depending on the distance traveled, number of stairs involved, etc. Also, acoustic pianos usually require a tuning from a professional piano tuner after a move as well.

If you think you have a need (and a space) for this piano, it’s a great opportunity to look into. As per usual, we will handle this on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please email us at  (no phone calls please).


Community Outreach

Help Us Spread The Joy Of The Arts

Whether you or your family has taken a program with us, donated an instrument, or been a loyal supporter of the Academy, you have already made a difference in someone’s life through the arts! As the end of the year approaches, there is still time for you to further your impact by contributing to our Annual Fundraiser.

As the Academy looks back over the last ten years, starting from 300 registrants in 2008 to now reaching over 4,200 registrants and 2,600 event attendees each year, we believe we are just at the beginning of our journey as a major force in arts education in our region. So, let us share with you why we continue to support the Academy and why we think you should too!


Jen Gibson Annual Fundraiser quote


Jenna Day Annual Fundraiser quote


JP Phaup Annual Fundraiser quote


Kaity Cookson Annual Fundraiser quote


You can help us reach our $50,000 fundraising goal and bring quality and life-changing programs to even more members of our community and beyond! Your financial donations will support:

  • Impactful outreach to under-served student populations in schools and community centers
  • More musical instruments into the hands of students who can’t afford them
  • Scholarships for those who otherwise couldn’t afford to participate
  • Special projects and faculty/ student concerts to schools and the community


Please consider a donation by giving online through our George Mason University Foundation portal – thank you!

Make a gift


Community Outreach Music

Scholars Receive Leadership Award

This past fall, the Academy was delighted to receive a generous grant from the Dale Earnhardt Foundation for our Instruments in the Attic outreach program. The award included funds for two Music Teaching Scholars. We are happy to announce that Mason School of Music students Fiona Madigan and Jessica Camarata (pictured above) have been selected as our “Legend Leadership Award” winners!

The Dale Earnhardt Foundation‘s Legend Leadership Award symbolizes the Earnhardt family’s commitment to programs that promote Children, Education and Environmental/ Wildlife Preservation. Our Instruments in the Attic program, which provides donated/ recycled musical instruments and music instruction to school children, encompasses all of those aspects.

In particular, our Teaching Scholars program connects advanced Mason School of Music students (often Music Education majors) with local school band and orchestra programs, providing supportive music instruction and resources to music teachers and their classrooms. Along with invaluable classroom experience, the Scholars also receive a stipend to help pay for their college tuition.


Teaching Scholar with music student


Along with Jessica and Fiona, two other Academy-funded Scholars, Julie McDonald and Kate Shrimpton, will visit several local schools, including Woodburn Elementary and Rippon Middle School.

“Working with the orchestra students has brought me an incredible amount of experience that I wouldn’t have gotten without the Teaching Scholars program,” stated Fiona, who recently started at Woodburn. “The love that those students have for music continues to inspire me as I go further with my education, and being able to work with them gives [Jessica and me] opportunities to learn more, try new things, and most of all, appreciate music together. Thank you [to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation] for your kind gift, and for your appreciation and acknowledgment of the arts– everything you do helps students at every level, and the community as a whole!”

“The teaching scholars program has provided me an opportunity to share my passion and love for music to my students,” explained Jessica. “My time with my students has helped me to develop my own teaching style and share my musicianship. Because of this award, I am able to further my education and hone my teaching skills.”


Board members with Earnhardt Guitar


An additional aspect of the award is the inclusion of an original, limited edition Dale Earnhardt Electric Guitar (signed by Ms. Earnhardt) – pictured above with members of the Academy Advisory Board and staff – which is being displayed at special events and making special appearances in the music classrooms.

Congratulations to our “Legend Leadership Award” Teaching Scholars, and thanks to all of the Scholars for their important work in our community. And, of course, a special thank you to the Dale Earnhardt Foundation for supporting our program.


Dale Earnhardt Foundation Logo




Community Outreach

Academy Adopts More Green Practices

Like many of you, we have been reading the research and reports of the threat posed to our planet by climate change, and the increasing levels of plastic clogging up landfills and polluting our oceans, and we are determined to do our part to help. Along with some longstanding practices, we will be rolling out some new eco-friendly initiatives across the organization over the next few months.

“George Mason University has a strong commitment to environmental research and study, and sustainability on every level,” stated Academy assistant director Matt Geske. “Mason Community Arts Academy is happy to contribute to that commitment. With the emerging study of the connection between art and nature, it’s only natural!”


New practices will include:

  • Moving away from plastics/ styrofoam to paper/ bio-degradable reception supplies for our Academy special events (music recitals, theater showcases, student art exhibits, etc) and office breakrooms whenever possible
  • Reducing our purchasing of bottled water; making filtered water available to Academy staff, instructors, students and family members to fill re-usable water bottles
  • Recycling used batteries/ disposing of them properly
  • Updating windows and lighting for energy efficiency, with the support of our wonderful Academy building owner, the GMU Foundation


Practices which will continue:

  • Utilizing the paper and plastic/ bottle recycle bins at the Academy office, provided by Mason Facilities
  • Re-purposing used materials for theater program props, scenery, etc
  • Tending our new Butterfly/ Honey Bee Haven flower beds surrounding the Academy building, provided by Mason Grounds, and also tending to indoor plants throughout the Academy building’s offices and classroom/ lesson spaces
  • One of our biggest “going green” outreach initiatives, our Instruments in the Attic program, which collects gently used musical instruments (otherwise destined for the dumpster) from generous community members, repairs them, and gets them back into the hands of music students



Instruments in the Attic logo


The university has an Office of Sustainability, which handles environmental issues on a much larger scope and scale, and includes the Patriot Green Fund, which has been a strong supporter of our Instruments in the Attic program for many years.


Patriot Green Fund logo


Together, even small efforts can make a big, long-term impact on sustaining our wonderful planet Earth!