The Cleveland Music School Settlement

The Cleveland Music School Settlement
The Cleveland Music School Settlement

The Cleveland Music School Settlement, situated in Cleveland's University Circle, is nearing a full century of serving local arts students. The Settlement, cast in 1912 in the mold of an earlier facility in New York, originally occupied a location in the inner city, but is now housed on Magnolia Drive near such other fine cultural institutions as The Cleveland Museum of Natural History, The Cleveland Museum of Art and Cleveland's Botanical Gardens.

The Settlement was originally established by Adella Prentiss Hughes and Almeda Adams to offer subsidized training in music to the turn-of-the-century city's growing population of disadvantaged children. From its start, the Settlement relied heavily on volunteer efforts, philanthropy, and donations of citizens.

By the end of World War II, The Cleveland Music School Settlement had acquired the Magnolia Drive mansion of Edmund Burke, Jr. It had also increased its reach to an annual enrollment of nearly 500, taught by more than three dozen faculty members. Further property acquisitions and building additions continued to expand the Settlement.

Throughout the 1950s, the Settlement grew beyond its teaching role to become a promoter of local arts through varied venues. It also extended outreach services to a range of community facilities and institutions. The Settlement was a pioneer in the provision of music therapy to the disabled and to those hospitalized or otherwise institutionalized. The CMSS also played a key role in the 1960s in creating both the annual Cleveland Summer Arts Festival and the Lake Erie Opera Theater.

Branches of the Settlement that had been established in the late 1950s throughout other inner-city and suburban areas had by 2005 been largely abandoned, as the CMSS retrenched to its primary University Circle site. Today, the Settlement continues to stress its core services of musical education, music therapy and early childhood development.

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