Our Story

Our Story - BAA students pose for a picture on stairs.Boston Arts Academy (BAA) is Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. BAA provides a diverse student body, a majority who come from low-income families, access to a college-preparatory arts and academic education not otherwise available to them. Our mission is to prepare a community of aspiring artist-scholars-citizens to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of their communities. Our innovative arts and academic curriculum yields impressive results.

BAA prepares a diverse community of aspiring artist-scholars to be successful in their college or professional careers and to be engaged members of a democratic society.

Boston Arts Academy was founded in 1998 when a committed group of educators, parents, and public officials recognized the need for a public arts high school in Boston. The member colleges of the ProArts Consortium — Berklee College of Music, Boston Architectural College, The Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, New England Conservatory, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston – helped found the school, and remain key partners in BAA’s growth and development.

BAA has received numerous awards for its success with urban students, including:

  • 2016 Silver Recognition Recipient from the Schools of Opportunity
  • 2016 Signature Enterprise Schools Award from the GRAMMY Foundation
  • 2015 innOVATION STEAM Award from the President’s Council on the Arts and Humanities, Americans for the Arts, and the Ovation Foundation
  • 2012-13 Outstanding Arts School Award from the Arts Schools Network
  • 2012 Leadership Organization Award from Color Magazine
  • 2011 Signature Enterprise Schools Award from the GRAMMY Foundation
  • 2010 National School of Distinction in Arts Education from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
  • 2004 Breakthrough High School Award from the National Association of Secondary Principals
  • 2004 National School Library Media Program of the Year Award from the American Association of School Librarians
  • 2002 Best of Boston Non-Profit Award from Boston Magazine

Shared Values

Our shared values are the guiding principles of BAA’s teaching and learning environment.

  • Community with Social Responsibility
  • Diversity with Respect
  • Passion with Balance
  • Vision with Integrity

These values are encapsulated in the BAA Habits of the Graduate:

  • Refine
    Have I conveyed my message? What are my strengths and weaknesses?
  • Invent
    What makes this work inventive? Do I take risks and push myself?
  • Connect
    Who is the audience and how does the work connect? What is the context?
  • Own
    Am I proud of the work I am doing? What do I need to be successful?

Meet Elyas

Elyas is using his love of theatre to make a difference in the lives of Boston students. He is a special education teacher at Excel High School in Boston, a Teaching Assistant with The Theater Offensive, and a member of the Company One Street Team.

Learn More

Our Students

Demographics breakdown.

  • 62% of students come from economically disadvantaged families
  • 41% of students speak a language other than English at home
  • 35% of students enter high school reading below grade level
  • 14% of students have special needs requiring instructional accomodations

The Boston Arts Academy Foundation

The Boston Arts Academy Foundation is a non-profit organization that was established in 1999 to raise essential funds for the school. The BAA Foundation helps bridge the gap between the school’s allocation from the Boston Public Schools, and the true cost of a high-quality education that is both arts-intensive and college preparatory. Support from foundations, corporations, and individual donors is critical to the school’s ability to offer a comprehensive arts and academic education. Each year, the BAA Foundation raises between 35% and 40% of the school’s budget from private sources. Without such support, our city’s young people, living in one of the cultural capitals of the world, would not be able to attend a public arts high school.

The BAA Center for Arts in Education

Boston Arts Academy believes that the arts are an essential component and a right for public school students. The BAA Center for Arts in Education is the external arm of the school that pursues this vision for public education. As an organization that sits right within the halls of BAA, the Center hosts visitors from around the world, shares BAA’s innovative curricula and practices, runs teacher training workshops, and hosts programming for middle and high school students.

ProArts Consortium

The Professional Arts BAA-auditoriumConsortium (ProArts) is an association of seven neighboring Boston institutions of higher education dedicated to the visual and performing arts. Its members are Berklee College of Music, the Boston Architectural College, the Boston Conservatory, Emerson College, the New England Conservatory, the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The mission of ProArts is to cultivate collaborative programs and transformative projects that have the capacity to strengthen the educational purposes of its member institutions and to take a leadership role in promoting the vital and central value of the arts in Boston and beyond.

The ProArts institutions provide ongoing support to BAA, including a dual enrollment program for BAA students, use of facilities, support for visiting artist programs, art education advising for BAA faculty, scholarship opportunities for BAA students, and free classes for BAA faculty and staff.


BAA Annual Report, 2017-18