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child performance

 About Us  

Our Mission


InnOVATION Arts Academy nurtures the creative spirit in children by

  • Providing high quality performing arts training;

  • Encouraging the development of individual expression, leadership capacity, teamwork, and dynamic communication skills;

  • Supporting and developing arts professionals; and

  • Showcasing the arts in the community.

Our History


InnOVATION Arts Academy is the realization of a vision Mary Joy Nelson has had since she was a student studying Opera at the University of Kentucky. Mary Joy founded the Broadway Bound summer program for children in 2007 while at UK and served as Program Director of the Academy for Creative Excellence from 2007 until 2016.

In 2016, Mary Joy, with the help of arts-supporter Sadhna True, teamed up with a dynamic board to start InnOVATION Arts Academy in the community of Lexington. InnOVATION Arts fulfills Mary Joy's vision of engaging children in the arts from the time they begin to walk and talk through the high school years when the students are seeking college opportunities and careers in the arts. Mary Joy's experiences working with children have taught her that when a young person's artistic gifts are nurtured, the child becomes a life-long learner, participator, and appreciator of the arts.

InnOVATION Arts began offering classes in August 2016 with a mandate to employ dynamic, professional teaching artists who are advanced in their field to provide performing arts training, to create productions, to conduct workshops, and to nurture the heart of each young artist who enters the program.  Classes offered include: musical theatre training at multiple levels; dance classes in a variety of disciplines, including ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop; vocal training; and workshops.  InnOVATION Arts produces up to 5 musicals a season, in addition to showcases, concerts, and special student appearances in the community.  InnOVATION Arts (or InOA for short) is one of the only arts programs of its kind offering performing arts training and mainstage performance opportunity for students in preschool through 2nd grade, currently serving students  ages 3-18 years old.

InnOVATION Arts is an independent non-profit corporation that received 501(c)(3) approval in November 2016. The corporation has an all-volunteer Board of Directors with Mary Joy Nelson as the active board President and Executive Director of programming and operations.

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