Anderson School District Five is located in the county of Anderson and serves over 13,000 students with over 900 teachers at 17 campuses. Southwood Academy of the Arts is an Arts Centered public magnet school for the Visual and Performing Arts in Anderson Five. In addition to a full academic and arts middle level program of up to 360 students, 500 high school students travel from home schools to SAA for content specific arts classes. Students at both levels have opportunities in dance, music, theatre, and visual art. The mission of Southwood Academy of the Arts is to provide a nurturing and challenging learning environment that empowers artist-scholars to reach their full artistic and academic potential.
In the fall of 2012, after just one year of operation, Southwood Academy of the Arts received a $3,500 arts strategic planning grant from the State Department of Education. In 2013, SAA was recognized as an ABC site and Distinguished Arts Program with grants from the South Carolina Arts Commission and the State Department of Education. In 2015, the school was once again awarded a Distinguished Arts Program Grant, and in 2016, was again recognized as an Arts in Basic Curriculum site for the next three years.
Southwood Academy also hosts an Artistically Gifted and Talented program for rising 7-9th graders each summer called the Anderson Five Arts Consortium. Beginning in the summer of 2014, the program offers students two weeks of rigorous instruction in the students’ identified arts area as well as master classes from college professors and artist-in-residencies.