Legacy School of Performing Arts Training Institute (Legacy) is not a K-12 academic school program. We are one of Florida’s newest 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit arts education organizations that serves as a community-based training institute for young gifted and talented children in grades K - 12 to develop and enhance their artistic abilities through the study of music, theater and dance. Historically, we are the first organization of its kind in Gadsden County, Florida, to offer such amazing opportunities for families from all parts of Gadsden County to bring their children to experience the finest training in music, theater, and dance through daily instruction; master classes that expose our students to renowned artists from around the world; concerts that broaden their horizons; and travel opportunities that give them the confidence they need to face the world as well-rounded artists. Legacy provides all of these great opportunities to Gadsden County residents to enjoy life at its best without leaving the community.
As a thriving non-profit arts organizations it was of great importance for us to become part of the rich, historic culture that Gadsden County offers its residents, which is why we are located in the historic downtown area of Quincy, Florida, which is the county seat of Gadsden County, placing us in a central area for everyone to come support our efforts. More specifically, we are located at 105 North Madison Street and are nestled between our partnering arts organizations and great historic figures in the community: The Quincy Music Theater and the Gadsden Arts Center.
The greatest historical significance behind the creation of Legacy is the organization was founded by our executive director, Rasheen Jamison-Richardson, during the greatest economic downturn due to the recession. As a result, the arts were drastically cut from many local, state, and national budgets, preventing arts programs from flourishing in communities and schools. For a rural community such as Gadsden County, Florida, this meant families whose children attended both public and private schools struggled to provide rich arts experiences for their children as the lack of funding brought pressure to school boards and administrators who were now under a mandate to downsize their budgets, and "Teach to the Test" in order to raise school grades. This meant children who learned through the arts were left behind, and a solution needed to be created to capture their talent, attention, and hunger for greatness.
During those rough economic years, our founder Rasheen Jamison-Richardson - already having been a three-time graduate of the world renowned Florida State University College of Music - made her way more than 10 years ago to Gadsden County, Florida, after a local principal in Gadsden County told her about the great need there for the arts and children. At that time she heeded the call to help the community in 2004 where she was hired as the choral director at East Gadsden High School. During her tenure at East Gadsden, she was able to break through the barriers of low academic achievement, low morale, and poverty among the students she taught when in 2008 she used her training from FSU College of Music to classically train a group of gifted and talented students for a performance of a lifetime at the world's most prestigious concert venue - Carnegie Hall in Manhattan, New York. This endeavor was made possible by generous donations made by a large percentage of Gadsden County residents who saw Mrs. Jamison-Richardson's big heart to help the children shine through the arts.
Shortly after Mrs. Jamison-Richardson and the students from East Gadsden returned from Carnegie Hall, she was informed that the arts programs were being cut from all of the elementary schools in Gadsden County due to budget cuts. It was at this point that Mrs. Jamison-Richardson felt a great burden to create a community-based solution for the children in Gadsden County, Florida, who would no longer have access to the arts. At the end of the school year she decided not to return to her full-time job as a music educator at East Gadsden. Instead, she followed her convictions and made such a bold move based on the premise that not all children learn the same, which was based on her own truth as she, too, had personal learning challenges as a child in the traditional school setting, and she believed the arts saved her life. In establishing Legacy, Mrs. Jamison-Richardson used a great deal of her personal resources from her meager salary as a public school teacher, gathered a team of those who believed in her vision, and with the help of the community, Legacy now exists as a catalyst for change for the Gadsden County, Florida, community in that we are constantly working to restore the performing arts of music, theater, and dance back into the lives of those in the community who would like to one day realize their dream of taking center stage in the world of the performing arts.
When it came to naming the organization, our founder did so in memory of her mother and musician extraordinaire - the late Mildred Joyce Jamison who died when Mrs. Jamison-Richardson was only 13 years old, and other famous musicians and teachers who invested in her. However, it was mainly her mother who left a rich legacy of the arts behind for her and her family to carry on in her absence, and is exactly what Mrs. Jamison-Richardson wanted the children at Legacy to do, which is why our slogan is: "Leaving a Rich Legacy of the Arts One Students, One Class, One Performance and One Opportunity at a Time. "
Today, Legacy is extremely proud to see our vision and mission materialize as we have served children and families from all walks of life from nearly every school in Gadsden County, and have even attracted families from Leon and Wakulla counties as well.