Award Year: 2015

Esther F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts

649 West Jones Street
Savannah, GA, 31401-3157

(912) 395-5975

Mr. James T. Heater, Principal at time of Nomination

Magnet School

Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

School Website

Bell Award Winner


From artistic expression to academic success, Esther F. Garrison will provide a learning environment that engages learners, nurtures creativity, and builds community.

Student Demographics
  • Black/African American: 44%
  • White: 42%
  • Hispanic: 4%
  • Asian: 3%
  • Two or more races: 7%
  • Economically Disadvantaged: %
The Performing Arts of Esther F. Garrison

The Performing Arts of Esther F. Garrison

Nestled within the beautiful historic district of the city of Savannah, Georgia, the Esther F. Garrison School for Visual and Performing Arts takes its place in a city rich in history and cultural acclaim. Named for an accomplished songstress who was also the first African American to sit on the district’s school board. The school honors its namesake’s memory by serving a distinctly diverse community of 769 students in preschool through eighth grade. Garrison’s students hail from every attendance zone within the Savannah Chatham County Public School System district, gaining admission to preschool through fifth grade through a lottery system and securing a coveted seat in grades six through eight through a district-wide, highly competitive audition process.

Garrison’s elementary students receive music, theater, dance, and visual art classes at every grade level. Middle school students audition for Chorus, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Piano, Theater, Visual Art, or Dance. An understanding of and appreciation for Core Fine Arts is woven throughout the school’s curriculum, fostering among students an innate sense of beauty, personal creativity, and unique self-expression.

Abundant tutoring and uncommon support, research-based instruction, and an unwavering focus on student achievement and personal responsibility, has produced award winning results, with Garrison receiving the 2012 Georgia School of Excellence Award, the 2015 National PTA Excellence Award, and numerous academic, artistic, and civic student awards. Simple, but profound, the Garrison community’s philosophy that every student can reach and exceed high expectations for their academic and artistic success is becoming a reality, every day.