Clifton Park

CM School of Fine Arts in Clifton Park to expand


Categories: News, Saratoga County, Schenectady County, Your Niskayuna

A local art school in Clifton Park is moving to a new building in Halfmoon that will allow the organization to double in size and host more programs.

The CM School of Fine Arts, currently located on Route 9 in Clifton Park, received approval from the Halfmoon Planning Board to move operations into a vacant building at 17 Executive Park Drive.

The board also approved a new sign for the school.

The CM School of Fine Arts, which provides classes and training to students of varying ages in music, dancing, art and theater, was established by Collette McComb seven years ago.

The current location in Clifton Park will close and all operations will be moved into the new building, said Marshall VanBuren, the head of administrations at the CM School of Fine Arts.

A number of different issues were factors in the decision to move, VanBuren said, including a high rent for the building in which the school is currently located, the lack of suitable classroom space and growing enrollment. The crowding was picked up on by students.

“We literally are kind of bursting at the seams right now,” VanBuren said. 

Since growth was always in the school’s business plan, when VanBuren and McComb found the vacant stand-alone building that was affordable but twice the size, they jumped at the chance to relocate and continue growing.

“It was an extreme opportunity for growth. It all ended up working out,” VanBuren said.

Moving will begin in July, VanBuren said. The building is largely move-in ready, featuring, once minimal construction is finished, a ballroom that is twice the size of the school’s current ballroom. A series of walls will be knocked down to create the ballroom, and new flooring will be put in as well, VanBuren explained.

The planned classrooms are all larger than the classrooms in the existing location by at least 10 square feet and there are windows in each room. An art room on the premises will be the same size as the current art room, but will feature more storage space.

“The students and teachers are ecstatic,” he said. “It’s incredible what the space is going to do.”

This is not the first time the school has grown— In early June, the school hosted a ribbon cutting at the opening of its second facility, located in Albany on Fuller Road.

The school works with students of all ages, but also provides programs for specific age group including the new Little Beans program, which is aimed at children ages 3 to 7. The programs offered are designed with the intention of getting young children prepared for skills such as reading, writing, creative thinking, and higher thinking processes early on. 

The Little Beans program will be growing substantially in the new school, VanBuren said. 

Other additional programs could include more open mic nights and an incorporated cafe, VanBuren said.

Currently, the school hosts Open Mic Night: the second Wednesday of each month, and dance night the last Friday of each month. There are also Latin night dances classes at 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays, and waltz night dances classes on Saturdays.

Right now, as the school prepares for its final weeks in its current location, students will do one final performance in the space.

The performance will be “Love Letters” by A.R. Gurney on Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30 at 7 p.m.

Tickets can be picked up by donation at the door and proceeds will go toward the school’s High Risk Students scholarship program.

“This has been a dream of ours for awhile. Everybody has been waiting for the day we could call ourselves a real school,” VanBuren said.

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