top of page

About Church Street School for Music & Art

About Church Street School for Music & Art

Church Street School for Music & Art (CSSMA) is a unique nonprofit community school for the arts located in Lower Manhattan.

Since 1990, we have been dedicated to making high-quality arts programming accessible to a diverse range of students.

We believe in the transformative and therapeutic power of the arts and specialize in facilitating each student’s connection to their authentic creative voice. 

Letter from the FY23 Executive Director

Letter from the Executive Director

For everyone in the CSSMA family the past year brought growth in programming, growth in our community impact and growth in our outreach efforts. We are incredibly honored to have served 1011 students in FY23.


In January 2023 we greeted the inception of our new Tribeca Jazz Institute program, welcoming in the most talented jazz musicians in the world to teach up-and-coming jazz professionals through a new direction in jazz music education. We also saw our Summer Camp program exceed all expectations for enrollment and provide a much-needed creative program for school and preschool aged students who need a safe creative environment while their parents are at work.

Betsy Kerlin, CSSMA Interim Executive Director 

Our outreach efforts allowed us to serve 16,291 people overall in FY23, while also creating performance opportunities for our students and faculty. Through free performances and events at local parks and venues, we brought accessible community music and art to 12,224 people in Downtown NYC & beyond. Learning from the Pandemic, we continued to offer students the option of learning online. Allowing students who moved internationally or went away to college the opportunity to continue studying with their beloved instructors wherever they might be. As we see our enrollment return to pre-pandemic numbers, with over 1,000 students participating in Church Street School programs in FY23, we are excited to find ourselves serving students of all ages spanning all five boroughs of New York City, New Jersey, and in eleven countries internationally.  


Whether you are enrolled in a class or lesson, you join us once a month for Draw, Paint and Sip, or you see us in your local park downtown, this is an exciting time to be part of the CSSMA community.  Stay informed about upcoming creative happenings at your local community school for the arts and join the fun!


Betsy Kerlin, CSSMA Interim Executive Director FY23

“CSSMA is essential to the growth of the arts in Children, Teens and Adults. [...] I love to sing, dance and be creative outside of my everyday work, and Church Street School gives me and my daughter a supportive, accepting and loving space to express ourselves [...] The community environment of creativity, belonging, support, & encouragement lights up our lives.” 

Leyna Madison,

CSSMA Adult Student, Parent, Supporter, & Volunteer 

Administrative Staff

Staff, Board, & Artist Council

*On Staff in FY24 Only

Board & Artist Council

Board of Directors

Anand Agneshwar
Lauri Bailey
Rob Elder

Chair of the Board

Daryl Kleiman 

Governance Committee Chair

Jeanne Madej

Fundraising Committee Chair

Cathleen McLaughlin 

David Silverstein* 
Dwight Yellen 

Finance Committee Chair

*Served in FY24 Only

Artist Council

Z Behl


Eric Bogosian

Obie Award Winning Actor & Writer

Jo Bonney

Obie Award
Winning Director

Winsome Brown

Actor, Writer

Tamra Davis


Mike Diamond

Musician & Founding Member of the Beastie Boys

David Gahan

Lead Singer of Depeche Mode

Lisa Giobbi

Choreographer & Aerial Artist

Paul Guilfoyle

TV & Film Actor

Jessica Grindstaff

Artist, Director, Set Designer,
Founder of Phantom Limb Co.

Des McAnuff

Tony Award Winning Director

Azikiwe Mohammed


Lee Ranaldo

Musician, Writer &
Founding Member of Sonic Youth

David Rockwell

Renowned Architect

Erik Sanko

Musician, Composer, Writer,
& Master Puppeteer

Leah Singer

Photographer & Multi-Media Artist

Paul D. Miller, aka DJ Spooky

DJ & Producer

Jennifer Sklias-Gahan

Actor & Writer

George Steel

Distinguished Musician &
Former Director of NYC Opera

Julia Stiles


Andrew W.K.

Musician & Producer

Lead Singer of Depeche Mode

Notable Stats & Figures

A Year in Numbers

Church Street School's free adult choir 'The Downtown Beats' performing live at the 2023 Happening Block Party

In FY23 Church Street School for Music & Art was proud to have provided accessible music & art education and enrichment to students from all 5 Boroughs of New York City, New Jersey, and 11 foreign countries including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Great Britain, Greece, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, &  Sweden.

“My favorite moment on Mondays and Tuesdays is to come to CSSMA immediately after my school and I even linger there after my drawing and printmaking classes. Everyone should have places like this to do some art [...] We should encourage people to try it, they too will love it. Everyone is an artist. Without CSSMA, they won't discover it in their lives.” ​

Emilee (9),

CSSMA Art Student 

FY23 Financials


Budget Actuals: $1,503,920