Our Story

The Black Swamp Fine Arts School is owned and directed by Sophia Jarrell. The fine arts have been a lifelong passion for Sophia; she began formal music lessons and dance classes at the age of 3. From a young age, she had a dream of creating and running a program where families could receive quality instruction in multiple areas of the arts. She began teaching both violin and dance when she was in high school, and went on to earn a degree in violin performance at BGSU while balancing dance, teaching, and a minor in business entrepreneurship.

After creating a plan for the Black Swamp Fine Arts School in an entrepreneurship class, Sophia decided to make her dream a reality. In the fall of 2015, she rented an office space on Lehman Avenue in Bowling Green, OH, designed a room for dance classes and music lessons, and officially opened the school in January of 2016. In addition to teaching her own dance classes and violin students in the space, Sophia offered other music teachers the use of the space to provide families with more lesson options and help cover overhead costs.

In the fall of 2016, Betsy Williams, a certified music teacher working on a graduate degree in music education at BGSU, designed a string orchestra program for the school and proposed a start date of January 2017. After less than a year of operation and a successful performance of The Wishing Well ballet (an original production integrating music, dance, and theater with music composed by Lydia Dempsey and choreography by Sophia Jarrell), the school was quickly outgrowing the space on Lehman Avenue. After months of searching and weeks of intense work renovating the space, we opened the school on Sand Ridge Road. The larger space allowed us to start music and art classes in addition to dance, it also enables us to accommodate families with multiple students taking lessons at the same time.

Today, we offer dance classes (ballet, tap, contempoary, acro, jazz, and private instruction), music classes (string orchestra, choir, chamber groups, and classroom music), visual art classes, and private music lessons in piano, strings, woodwinds, brass, and voice. Our programs are affordable and accessible to families and individuals of all ages. We provide instruction for preschool children through adults of any age! Each year our students present their hard work and talent at two recitals - one in December and one in May. For a list of fall offerings, click here.  To enroll in classes and/or private lessons, click here.

 Sophia Jarrell, Director of the Black Swamp Fine Arts School

Sophia Jarrell, Director of the Black Swamp Fine Arts School

 Students practice in our first space on Lehman Avenue

Students practice in our first space on Lehman Avenue

 Students practice in our first space on Lehman Avenue

Students practice in our first space on Lehman Avenue

A scene from The Wishing Well ballet, an original production integrating music, dance, and theater

 Several of our students and faculty after our 2016 Winter Recital

Several of our students and faculty after our 2016 Winter Recital

 Renovating and preparing the new space for the dance floor.

Renovating and preparing the new space for the dance floor.

 Moving the dance floor from Lehman Avenue to our location at 530 Sand Ridge.

Moving the dance floor from Lehman Avenue to our location at 530 Sand Ridge.

 The completed dance floor at our current location of 530 Sand Ridge Road

The completed dance floor at our current location of 530 Sand Ridge Road

 We now offer string orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir, art, and classroom music

We now offer string orchestra, chamber ensembles, choir, art, and classroom music