Arlene Halley Newhouse and Clara Reyes
Founders of the National Institute of Arts - NIA
The National Institute of Arts was born by the merging of two of St. Maarten’s most prestigious and oldest artists training centers.
Founded by Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes NIA was incorporated on April 11, 2013. Since 2018, Ms. Reyes has taken upon the position of head of the culture department. NIA, a vision born in 1991 came to fruition when both Arlene Halley and Clara Reyes respectively acknowledged an intense desire to share with the Country St. Maarten their expertise fused in one institution. With their combined teaching expertise of over 40 years, Ms. Reyes and Ms. Halley have established themselves as the leader in cultural and artistic development.
The National Institute of Arts provides national and international recognized interdisciplinary art education inspired by the principals of nation building. UNESCO guidelines of safe guarding intangible heritage provides Interdisciplinary Art education to highest standard of excellence for amateur and professional pursuit in safe and nurturing environment. The institute engages in research, documentation, preserving and safe guarding the tangible and intangible cultural heritage as well contemporary legacy.
The National Institute of Arts is that place where the student of arts and artistry come together under a bold new vision that celebrates artistry and art making.
NIA is an interdisciplinary institution geared toward babies as young as 2 months old and adults of all ages. NIA offers a wide range of classes and programs in the visual and performing arts. Our doors are open to all who wish to partake in the creative art experience. NIA fosters creativity innovation and explores the full potential of the arts and culture. At NIA we recognize the life sustaining and positive transformative power of the arts, as a catalyst towards fulfilling our full human potential.
Nia offer comprehensive art and cultural education to children teens adult of all ages offers scholarship, professional upgrading programs in the arts and is the one stop shop for all things cultural and artistic on the island.
The flagship housing the artistic vision of NIA is located at located at the John Larmonie Center in Philipsburg.
At NIA we offer varied and complex training in various creative expression techniques geared to develop technical dexterity as well as artistic merits. Our trainings are centered in the classics, but allow space for the innovative. Classes range from classical voice training, classical ballet, and classical Indian dance to Caribbean folk songs, dances and oral traditions. NIA students are well versed in folkloric and traditional dance from St.Maarten and the rest of the Caribbean. As many people of the Caribbean share an African heritage, students also train in traditional dances and drumming skills from Africa. As well as explore African Literature.
Keeping in touch with the latest developments and trends in arts education, NIA teachers regularly attend workshops and conferences to maintain a high standard of excellence.
In addition Imbali students compete in international dance competitions to remain current.
The National Institute of Arts NIA sees upwards of 1500 students weekly.
NIA is affiliated with Charlotte Brookson Academy of the Performance Arts, The community In- and after school program for the Catholic School Board where NIA offers interdisciplinary art education, The Montessori After school Program.
NIA has teachers giving classes at Caribbean International Academy,
And NIA partnered with the Philipsburg Jubilee Library summer program 2014
Most recently 3 of NIA students have been accepted at the Amsterdam Hoge School for the Kunst for the academic year 2015-2016
NIA Participates yearly in the summer program of Art Saves Lives Foundation
The mission of the National Institute of Arts is to provide national and international recognized interdisciplinary art education inspired by the principals of nation building. Serving the community of St. Maarten, NIA’s purpose is providing Art education to highest standard of excellence for amateur and professional pursuit in safe and nurturing environment. The institute will engage in research, documentation, preserving and safe guarding the tangible and intangible cultural heritage as well contemporary legacy.
NIA’s Vision is to continuously strive for artistic excellence in our efforts to establish our position as one of the Caribbean’s finest accredited Institutes of inter-disciplinary arts education. Our vision is rooted in the fundamental principles that sound classical foundation provides the impetus for innovation.
NIA is committed in providing its personnel with professional development, to maintain its high standard of artistic excellence.