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CSSMA was founded in 1990, in a small loft at 311 Church Street, (right around the corner from our current home on 41 White Street), by Lauri Bailey and Dr. Lisa Ecklund-Flores. Lauri & Lisa brought deep knowledge of education, musicianship, child-development and music therapy to their venture. The school was founded on the deep belief in the transformative power of the arts.

Their goal was to offer a safe space for students of ALL ages, no matter their background or abilities, to experience high quality arts programming that focused on individual students’ hands-on experience.

With great community response, the student body, teaching faculty and program offerings grew and grew over the years, requiring a move, an expansion and eventually a relocation to our current 41 White St. location. ​

CSSMA remains the only not-for-profit community school for the arts in Lower Manhattan. Through the years, over 20,000 students have come through our doors. With all of the extreme complexities life is throwing our way, it is of the utmost importance that resources for self expression and development through the arts are preserved and strengthened. Thank you for being a part of our CSSMA Community that continues to grow!

Take a look at these wonderful memories from CSSMA’s 32 years (and counting)! We are so grateful to have such a rich history of creative exploration and collaboration in our community.  We will be adding to this page often, so check might just recognize some faces. If you would like to add to our growing archives, please do so below. 


Do you have any old photos or videos from classes or events at CSSMA from over the years? We would LOVE to see them! 

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