Madison Consolidated High School is unveiling a new program this year to offer more options for students looking for a career in the field of fine arts.

The newly founded Madison Fine Arts Academy will be unique to southern Indiana, and students will receive an honors diploma upon completion.

MCHS art and theater teacher Aaron Kelsey, who spearheaded the movement to start the academy, said the school has received about 20 applications for the program. Some of the applicants, which includes freshmen to seniors, have come from different school districts, he said.

"This first year really isn't about numbers," Kelsey said. "A big part of it is helping them get to the post-secondary level in the fine arts field."

Students in the program can study visual arts, vocal music, instrumental music and theater. To graduate with the fine arts diploma, a student must earn at least 10 fine arts credits and complete community service hours.

Instructors will include Kelsey, art teacher Bev Gaffney, band director Scott Maack, Melanie Torline, choir director Kristen Bremmer and Madison artist Eric Phagan. Torline and Phagan are new to the school and were recently hired to helped spread out the course load, Kelsey said. Phagan will teach visual arts, while Torline will teach courses in fashion and textiles, and housing and interior design.

The academy will integrate past fine arts courses but also include additional advanced-placement courses, such as studio art and art history.

Academy requirements

• All academy participants must earn a minimum of 10 fine arts credits.

• A minimum of three service hours must be completed each year within the fine arts. (Can include art show organization, non-required performances, other cultural events.) A record will be kept on file with the student's faculty adviser, which will be assigned to the student when they register.

• All academy students must complete either advanced-placement art history, studio art or music theory.

• The fine arts connection course is required for all participants.

• Each student will be expected to work at an advanced and accelerated pace with tremendous personal effort and commitment.

• All academy students will be expected to earn no grade lower than a C in any fine arts course.

• All academy students will produce a senior project in cooperation with their fine arts faculty adviser.