The Missouri Fine Arts Academy (MFAA) is a three-week summer residential program for highly motivated student artists in visual arts, theatre, dance, creative writing, and music. The Academy offers an intensive schedule of classes in interdisciplinary and discipline-specific arts, and a wide range of co-curricular activities. MFAA is conducted with the support and cooperation of Missouri State University, and is funded through program fees, grants, endowments, scholarships, and private donations.

Student Selection

The application period for MFAA 2015 runs January through March or until all seats are filled. The application, including a portfolio or audition video, essay, and student evaluation form will be reviewed and adjudicated by a panel of artists and educators. Selected students will receive letters of invitation beginning in March.

Fees and Scholarships

The full program fee for MFAA 2015 is $1,600. The fee is all-inclusive, covering the cost for lodging, meals, instruction, supplies, and extra-curricular activities. Students who complete the Academy also earn 3 hours credit in Interdisciplinary Studies, which is transferable to college or university degree programs.

The Academy offers need-based scholarships at two levels: students who qualify for free school meals may receive a $1,200 scholarship, allowing them to attend for $400; students who qualify for reduced-price school meals may receive a $900 scholarship, allowing them to attend for $700.

In past years, state funding has enabled us to reduce the full program fee. We are presently awaiting notification of additional funding for MFAA 2015 that may enable us to lower the full program fee. Final fees and scholarship opportunities will be announced as soon as funding decisions are finalized.

College Credit

Students who attend MFAA are automatically enrolled in IDS101/Interdisciplinary Seminar at Missouri State University at no additional cost, and receive three hours college credit upon successful completion of the MFAA program. This credit is generally transferable to any college or university program.

Missouri State University MFAA Scholarship

MFAA students who complete IDS 101 and who subsequently enroll as full time students at Missouri State University will receive a scholarship of three credit hours during their first semester of full time enrollment.


The concept of the Missouri Fine Arts Academy grew out of an interest in providing an opportunity and level of support necessary to challenge, motivate, and empower Missouri's most talented arts students to become future state arts leaders. In 1994, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requested that the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education convene and fund an Arts Academy Advisory Committee to visit and assess governor's schools for the arts in four different states. States visited include Arkansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Following the onsite visits, a plan was developed that proposed a residential, state-affiliated academy designed to provide outstanding students in the arts an opportunity for in-depth study in a chosen arts discipline. During the 1995 legislative session, the arts academy concept was accepted and its funding approved.

During the summer of 1995, the DESE mailed requests for proposals to manage the academy to all colleges and universities in Missouri. Later, six sites were visited by a review team, and Southwest Missouri State University was selected as the location for the first fine arts academy, which was scheduled to take place in June and July, 1996. Dr. David Belcher, Dean of the College of Arts & Letters at the time, served as coordinator of the Academy, and Amy Muchnick, professor of Music, served as site lead teacher.