Foundation. That’s one word that nationally recognized instructors in Alabama’s community colleges use to define the core fine arts classes they teach to students. Whether you’re beginning your official training in music, theatre or art before transferring to a four-year university, or if you’re mid-level or just wanting to expand your skills, an Alabama community college is a great place to start.

Did you know that Chris Vrenna, a Grammy-winning musician and former band member of Nine Inch Nails, teaches music classes at Calhoun Community College? Students in his Fall 2019 Advanced Audio Engineering class performed the cover of “Sweet Home Alabama” for the Alabama Community College System’s Clean Home Alabama efforts. Those students are Stevieray Burks, Jalen Roberts, Jackson Spencer, and Ezekiel Terry.

We recently visited Enterprise State Community College, where Dr. Ken Thomas, an Auburn University alum who has performed throughout the world and now heads Enterprise State’s Division of Fine Arts, pours his knowledge into aspiring music and theatre professionals with bright futures. Dr. Thomas first studied at Southern Union State Community College before transferring to Auburn.

Enterprise State Art Instructor Leslie Gibson studied at The Savannah College of Art and Design after she studied at Enterprise State. Students she’s trained include locally recognized artists as well as students like Karen Barrett of Karen Barrett Designs who went on to train in New York.

Gibson said the community college is a wise start to students who want to learn the science behind the arts.

“There’s so much you can teach yourself, but there’s so much more that you’re not even aware of that we can expose you to. It’ll give you those foundational understandings of visual arts and/or music or voice.”

-Leslie Gibson, ESCC Arts Instructor