About Durham School of the Arts

  • Mr. James Key

    Interim Principal
    : James Key
    Address400 North Duke Street Durham NC 27701
    Phone : 919-560-3926
    Hours of Operation : 9:15AM - 4:15PM
    Enrollment : 1,750

     Best High Schools US News Gold 2016 Arts Schools Network Member 2017

    Durham School of the Arts first opened in 1995 and is housed in the former Durham High School building, which opened in 1922 and closed as a traditional high school in 1993.  Our campus is expansive, covering three city blocks and includes eight separate buildings.  Approximately 1,655 students from all parts of Durham County are enrolled in grades 6 thru 12.  All students enroll through a lottery application system since DSA has no specific attendance zone and over 2,000 students apply for open positions yearly. Since both students and staff have elected to be at DSA, we feel it is both an honor and a privilege for all of us to be a part of this learning community.  That is one of the reasons that DSA is the most successful school in our district both academically and artistically.    


    School Facts

    • Enrollment: 1,835
    • Grades 6 - 12
    • 130+ teachers
    • 6 school counselors


    What is unique?

    DSA is an active and dynamic center for arts and academic education.  School life at DSA is based on our shared culture of success and an emphasis on tolerance, diversity, personal responsibility, and respect for individual differences. 

    We are a school like no other. Durham School of the Arts (DSA) is a magnet school founded on the premise of providing our students with an education focused on excellence in the visual and performing arts and rigorous academics.  We believe that since our students are both participants and consumers of the arts, they will be better educated and more informed citizens.  As a result, we expect our students to be the leaders and intellectuals of tomorrow. 

    DSA partners with top tier institutions, such as the Durham Performing Arts Center, Duke University and the American Dance Festival, to expose our students to high-caliber guest artists who provide workshops and master classes. 


    Concentration Areas: 

    •  Chorus

    •  Strings

    •  Band

    •  Guitar

    •  Piano

    •  Dance

    •  Theater (Acting & Technical Theater) 

    •  Visual Arts (Draw, Painting, Clay, Sculpture & Photography)

    •  Game Art Design

    •  Creative Writing

    • Film




    After DSA:

    DSA has launched students for full-time study in the visual and performing arts at the following schools and programs in North Carolina and all over the United States: 

    American University

    Rhode Island School of Design

    Berklee College of Music

    Rochester Institute of Technology

    Duke University

    Ryder University

    Elon University

    Savannah College of Art and Design

    Georgetown University

    The Pratt Institute

    Howard University

    The University of Chicago

    Maryland Institute College of Art

    UNC - School of the Arts

    Meredith College

    UNC-Chapel Hill

    Michigan State University


    NC State University

    University of Nebraska - Lincoln

    New York University

    University of Kentucky

    New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts

    University of Maryland - College Park

    North Carolina A & T State University

    University of Michigan

    North Carolina Central University

    University of Pennsylvania

    Northwestern University

    Westminister Choir College

    Oberlin Music Conservatory

    Wingate University




    Ntianu Nkenge, Magnet Coordinator
    919-560-3926; ext. 23229