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The Barbara Ingram School for the Arts opened its doors for its first students in August 2009.

The development of the school began in 2001 when a study group commissioned by Washington County Public Schools’ Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Morgan proposed a school for the arts as a priority. The elected School Board formally accepted the recommendation in 2002. In 2003, Mr. Vincent Groh donated the former Henry’s Theatre on South Potomac Street in Hagerstown to WCPS in memory of his late wife. The Washington County Chamber of Commerce contributed funds for a feasibility study in 2004 and in the following two years community partnerships were formed and program and capital planning ensued. The Washington County Public Schools secured funding in 2007 for restoration and renovation of the building which serves as the center of the arts programs. Students benefit from a unique collaboration between the school system and downtown Hagerstown institutions. Students take their academic classes at the University of Maryland Hagerstown Center. The Maryland Theatre is home for many of the students’ performances.

In 2011, two years after opening, BISFA was named one of the New and Emerging Arts Schools in the nation by Arts Schools Network. Barbara Ingram, like other small programmatic schools in the county, offers an alternative educational pathway to match student need and passion to strive for success. US News and World Report has selected BISFA as one of the top schools in the country for the past several years. Students attend Barbara Ingram School for the Arts based on an application and audition process. The school offers rigorous arts instruction and training in 8 areas of concentration:


Our Mission and Vision

The Mission of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is to provide every student with a rigorous, comprehensive, college preparatory curriculum rooted in intense, pre-professional training in the arts that encourages excellence and success in their personal development as students, artists and cultural leaders.

The Vision of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts is to provide a world class academic and arts education as the first arts magnet high school in Washington County and Western Maryland. The superior teaching and learning environment will enable students to study the arts for their intrinsic, aesthetic, cognitive, and cultural value. Through a program of individualized attention and personalization, students will be motivated to achieve in a challenging and supportive atmosphere that emphasizes a disciplined attitude and personal responsibility. Supportive parents, distinguished faculty, cultural institutions and university partnerships will collaborate to ensure that, upon graduation, students will possess the necessary skills to choose a career in any field.

Culture of Excellence

  • Rigorous, comprehensive, college preparatory curriculum

  • Intense, pre-professional training in the arts

  • Personal development

  • Disciplined attitude

  • Personal responsibility

10 Year Celebration

In 2019 we celebrated 10 years strong and growing!

10 year

BISFA building

Photo Courtesy of Cho Benn Holback

School Statistics

For annually updated facility and enrollment information about this, and all WCPS facilities, please click here.

BISFA Foundation

The mission of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation is to advance exceptional arts education by providing resources and funding that supports the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts High School and arts education in our community.