Blake Plummer, left, performs a guitar piece with his instructor, James Miller, during one of Woodlawn Arts Academy’s spring music recitals at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Sterling.

It Was A Busy Spring At Woodlawn Arts Academy

Woodlawn Arts Academy offers a wide variety of activities for all ages.
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Submitted by Janel Stahr, WAA


Woodlawn Preschool Academy, a program of Woodlawn Arts Academy, hosted its annual graduation ceremony in early May. Ten students were promoted to kindergarten. Registration for the 2023-24 school year is now open. Call 815-626-4278 or stop in the Woodlawn office to register or for a tour of the DCFS-licensed preschool.

Woodlawn Preschool Academy graduates pose with Assistant Teacher Victoria Bowers (left) and Lead Teacher Amy Hook (right) during their 2023 graduation ceremony.
Visitors to Woodlawn Arts Academy’s Summer Art Exhibit, “Through the Lens,” view the artwork, which is on display at Woodlawn Arts Academy through Aug. 11.


Woodlawn Arts Academy recently opened its Summer Art Exhibit, “Through the Lens,” which is on display at Woodlawn through Aug. 11. There is no fee to view the exhibit. The exhibit features digital and film photography by area artists age 14-adult. During the opening reception, Woodlawn visual arts students also displayed their artwork from the school year.

Remington Collins, left, poses with her instructor, Mardi Huffstutler, after Woodlawn Arts Academy’s spring vocal recital. A long-time student of Huffstutler and Woodlawn Arts Academy, Collins has been accepted to Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan for her senior year of high school.


Woodlawn Arts Academy music students performed more than 60 numbers in late May in two recitals at St. Paul Lutheran Church, Sterling, and one at Woodlawn Arts Academy. The students take private lessons from Nadine Appel, Erin Hartman, Mardi Huffstutler, James Miller and Nicole Oberg. Woodlawn’s private music lesson program runs year-round and is open to children and adults. Financial assistance is available to those who qualify. Call 815-626-4278 or stop in the Woodlawn office to register or apply for financial assistance.


Woodlawn Dance Academy hosted its annual dance recitals, “On Broadway,” at the beginning of June. The recitals are the annual conclusion of the Academy’s school-year dance program, and feature a wide variety of dance styles including creative movement, ballet, tap, hip hop, jazz, lyrical, pointe and musical theatre. Registration for the 2023-24 dance year opens with Dance Registration Day on July 29. Families may continue to register until the start of classes right after Labor Day, but classes fill quickly, so families are encouraged to register early to ensure openings in their preferred classes. Woodlawn Arts Academy’s fall program guide will hit mailboxes soon, and the program guide and class information can be viewed online at

Members of Woodlawn Dance Academy’s 2022-23 Competition and Performance Team perform “On Broadway” during the Academy’s 2023 dance recitals.


Woodlawn Arts Academy presented its summer musical theatre production, Ian Fleming’s “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” in late April at Sterling High School’s Centennial Auditorium. More than 40 fourth- through eighth-grade students from Sterling, Rock Falls, Dixon, Franklin Grove and Rochelle performed under the direction of Faith Morrison, Mardi Huffstutler, Dawn Arndt and Ashley Aurand. Woodlawn’s summer theatre production will feature fourth- through eighth-grade students in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” The show runs the weekend of June 23 at Centennial Auditorium. Tickets go on sale June 12 at

Cast members from Woodlawn Arts Academy’s production of “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” perform on stage at Centennial Auditorium, Sterling High School.

Woodlawn Arts Academy is an agency of United Way of Whiteside and Lee counties, and financial assistance is available to those who qualify. Details on the Academy’s programming and financial assistance applications are available in the Academy office or on the website at www.woodlawnartsacademy.comThe Academy’s programs are partially funded by grants from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and The Chicago Community Foundation.

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