Aspire! Conservatory of Fine and Performing Art first of its kind in area

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 28, 2015

DeNeil Hartley and a minister at First United Methodist Church in Ashland, started noticing the number of fine and performing arts conservatories at other parishes in Kentucky.

That got them thinking that a good idea like that could be brought home.

So they did.

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What they came up with is Aspire! Conservatory of Fine and Performing Art and to show what the conservatory can offer there will be a variety of summer camps to give a taste of what will be available this fall.

“We are trying very hard to offer something different,” said Hartley.

Hartley said the mission of the Ashland church is “open hearts, open minds, open doors,” a vision shared by Aspire! Conservatory.

Hartley hopes “people will realize we are Christians by the way they are treated,” she said. “We feel we are opening doors to the community.”

Aspire! Conservatory will offer both group and private instruction on instruments from percussion to strings. There will also be art and dance classes as well as the Faithworks Theatre Troupe.

Hartley, who will direct the conservatory, said instruction provided by Aspire! is for “promoting both performance-driven programs and also recreational programs. Aspire! has something for everyone — youth through senior citizens.”

The goal of the conservator is not only to enrich the artistic ability of the attendees but also their emotional and spiritual lives.

Hartley said that the conservatory wants to strengthen participants in their faith and is dedicated to “opening the minds of people. We hope they will grow in their talents.”

Many of the instructors have fine arts degrees and have participated in bands, orchestras, and fine arts organizations.

“Everybody seems to be very excited,” she said.

Aspire! Conservatory participates in Safe Sanctuaries, an organization ensuring staff is qualified to interact with children and poses no safety concerns. Aspire! Instructors are certified through Safe Sanctuaries and are trained to interact with both vulnerable adults and children, she said.

Aspire! Conservatory will operate under a semester system that will start in August.

“We hope this will be a long term program,” Hartley said. “We are excited to see where this goes.”

For more information about Aspire! Conservatory of Fine and Performing Arts summer camps and fall program call 606-324-6159 or visit