latest news & announcements

The Wiz/Oxford Acting Co. Auditions

Auditions for OAC/"The Wiz" will be held Sunday, August 12 from 2-5 PM at Porter Performing Arts Center (140 Ram Drive, 30014). This audition is for upcoming 8th graders, new auditionees and returning OAC members who have been asked to re-audition. 

-Bring headshot or 8x10 photo and resume

-Sing prepared song from The Wiz 


Sponsor a Camper!

Each year our summer camps bring in students from Newton and surrounding counties. Many of the students that attend rely on partial or full scholarships.

Last year, we received over 30 scholarship applications. Help us send 30 students to camp this summer. It will be an experience that they will never forget!
$30 can send a student to camp for one day
$150 can send a student to camp for one week.
$600 can send a student to camp for one month
Creative Kids Camp:
June 4th-8th
Princess Camp:
June 4th-8th & July 9th-13th
Superhero Camp:
June 4th-8th
Music & Movement Camp:
June 11th-15th
Junior Acting Camp:
June 25th-29th
Acting Camp:
June 25th-29th
Musical Theatre Camp:
July 9th- 20th

VoyageATL Article

Article, VoyageATL

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ms. Buncie Hay Lanners.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ms. Buncie Hay. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As a sixth generation Newton Countian, I have been in many ways a “home grown” business leader, having lived most of my life in the county. I was valedictorian of the 1979 Class of Newton County High School, where I served as Co-President of the Student Body, a Soprano in the chorus and in All-State Chorus, as well as a winner in Literary Meet competitions and a national winner in public speaking in the 4H Club. I am a 1983 Phi Beta Kappa Magna Cum Laude graduate of Davidson College. My experiences growing up in Newton County, going to public schools, and being a part of a real community gave me the passion for using the arts to raise the exposure level of the community’s children, impact the quality of life, and be a part of economic and community development.

After moving back to Covington from my college years and a brief hiatus working for AT&T and Bank South in Atlanta, I replaced my mom on the board of the then Concert Association of Newton County. After serving for five years, I was asked to become the Executive Director in 2001. With the substantial growth in the Young Artists Programs, especially in dance with the founding of Covington Regional Ballet, in 2002, the name of the organization changed to The Arts Association in Newton County, establishing the organization as the umbrella arts organization for the community. I have served as Executive Director for 17 1/2 years, growing the business from approximately $150,000 to $1M during those 17 years, and growing the geographic service area from Newton County to an 8 county area.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Small-town non-profit work is especially challenging. Our organization receives no county or city operational funding and is entirely dependent on individual, foundation, and corporate donations. Being in the outer loop of Atlanta is a challenge, often making us ineligible for grants from Atlanta area businesses. The recession was especially difficult in 2007-08 on our area with 70% of our school students still qualifying for free and reduced lunch. Given this milieu, the organization realized that to stay alive, diversification of revenue was key; parents wanted the programs for their children and could and would pay subsidized fees (not on the level of fees in Atlanta for the same services). Therefore, we grew our classes and performing groups through our Young Artists programs exponentially. Given the financial climate, our scholarships soared past the $30,000 mark. With these challenges, the broader community realized what a gem the programs are and have rallied to support them. Funding, however, is still the constant struggle.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
The Arts Association in Newton County is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization dependent on corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide quality arts programming and education. Serving Newton County for over 30 years, the organization now serves 8 counties and over 60 schools through its adult and Young Artists Programs and concerts, becoming a regional provider of the arts. Annually the Association brings the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra to its Porter Performing Arts Center; in 2018, they will celebrate their 19th performance in Covington. Programs and performances featured include The Covington Regional Ballet Company and School, offering a pre-professional, professional and recreational dance curricula and summer intensives, Oxford Singers, three auditioned choirs for 1st-12th grades, Oxford Acting Company for 8th-12th grades, Newton County Community Band, Newton County Youth Strings with violin, viola and cello private and group Suzuki lessons, Creative Kids Camp, Musical Theatre Camp, Acting Camps and Classes, Dance Intensives, Music and Movement, Princess and Super-Hero camps for young children, a full arts series of events and performances including luncheon & summer evening concerts on the square, and True Colours Youth Art Exhibit.

We are best known for the artistic integrity of our training programs and performances. When parents drive from 30 plus miles away for the training, you know you are successful. In addition, we truly set ourselves apart with our partnership with the Newton County School System providing five in-school performances of three shows each for 7500 students a year; many of these students would never get the opportunity to get this kind of exposure to cultural events.

What were you like growing up?
I was always a leader, a teacher, a singer, a lover of the arts! I was Maria in the Sound of Music my senior year of high school which made me enamored with musical theater. I get to relive my childhood fantasies through our young artists programs–the annual musicals through our auditioned choirs and acting company, the ballets and contemporary dances, the strings recitals, the acting classes, the fall choral performances!



Live at Lunch Concerts on the Square 2018

Article by Chris Starrs, The Citizen 

COVINGTON — Just like Covington’s downtown Square is a community foundation, the popular Concerts on the Square – co-hosted by the Arts Association in Newton County and Main Street Covington – have also achieved institution status.

And even though the free concerts – which are held at noon each Thursday in May – have been around for close to three decades, they remain as popular as ever, perhaps even more popular.

“I have been booking them for going on 20 years and they were going strong before I got here,” said Ric Chiapetta, the Arts Association’s artistic and technical director. “If anything, the concerts are better attended now than when I started doing them.”

Pointing to the many shops and restaurants that make the Square a popular destination, Chiapetta says the free concerts are a way of encouraging community and a way for the Arts Association to show its appreciation for citizens’ patronage.

“The Square is so vibrant now,” he said. “People come and they buy lunch and listen to the free music. We have several hundred people there at every concert… We want to help keep the Square vibrant and to give something back to the community, which has given so much to us.”

This year’s lineup includes blues and pop with the Jon Browne Quartet (May 10), popular songs with a classical patina from Premier Brass (May 17), Americana from Benson, Leinweber and Gewin (May 24) and straight-up rock from Fields (May 31).

With the exception of Fields, all the artists on the May schedule have previously performed on the Square, which Chiapetta says is a testament to the artists’ popularity in the area. He adds that since a number of the businesses on the Square are now hiring musicians, the noontime concerts can also serve as auditions for certain acts.

“Some of the local restaurants are hiring bands, so some artists want to come out and be heard so they can pick up on some work that might be available here,” he said. “It’s become a win-win for everybody. They’re coming out and playing and they know they’ll be heard by the people who make decisions about who to bring to their establishments.”

When asked how he finds new groups to perform, Chiapetta said, “I check out what’s playing in the Atlanta area and try to find bands that I think will present something that’s different from what I’ve already booked. And if I see that a band that’s playing a lot, I’ll give them a listen to see if it’s something that works.”

And, as has been the case with the outdoor concerts since they began, Chiapetta tries to bring a wide range of musical styles to the Square.

“That’s the one thing, since I took over booking it years ago; I’ve really tried to make it as eclectic as possible, to introduce a lot of different sounds and styles and genres for the people who come to the concerts,” he said.

The Maddox Building (known by many as the old Belk Building) on Monticello Street will serve as the rain location for the concerts. For more information on the Concerts on the Square, call 770-786-8188 or visit

Arts Association in Newton County Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant

Arts Association in Newton County Receives National Endowment for the Arts Grant
Grant to support LEAP (Learning Enrichment through the Arts Project)
 Covington, Georgia — The Arts Association in Newton County has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support LEAP - Learning Enrichment through the Arts Project.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support the excellence and diversity of arts programs across the country, including organizations like the Arts Association, that make the arts accessible to people in Newton County and further enhances the vitality of their community,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu.
“We were so excited when we were notified that we received this grant,” said Abigail Coggin, Operations Director of the Arts Association.  “The funds will go towards LEAP.  Annually the Arts Association partners with the Newton County School System to provide opportunities for students to attend world-class artistic productions.  For example, all NCSS 4th graders are transported by bus to Porter Performing Arts Center every December where they watch members of the Covington Regional Ballet and guests perform Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker”.  With over 70% of NCSS students qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program, this is the first time many of these students have attended a ballet.  It is so heartwarming to listen to the students’ amazement as they enter the auditorium for the first time and then to see the glimmer of hope in their eyes as snow begins to drift across the theater. “
“Not only are the students learning about the artform itself, but they are also gaining the ever, important background knowledge that helps a child learn and understand what is being taught in school,” added Coggin.  “Curriculum guides are shared with the teachers so the students will be prepared before they attend plus they will understand how the artform and the performance are linked across the subject areas they study in school.”
During the 2017 – 2018 school year the following LEAP events have taken place or will take place:
2nd Graders        October, 2017                  Celli – Atlanta’s own professional cello group
4th Graders         December, 2017              Covington Regional Ballet’s Nutcracker
3rd Graders         January, 2018                  Andy Irwin – Singer, Songwriter, Storyteller
1st Graders         March, 2018                     Oxford Acting Co and Youth Singers’ Mary Poppins the Musical
Kindergartners  April, 2018                        Oxford Singing Children’s Little Mermaid Musical
5th Graders         May, 2018                        Covington Regional Ballet’s Beauty and the Beast
“We always want to try to add a little bit of magic to our productions,” said Coggin.  “This grant is helping us to do just that. Not only would I like to take this opportunity to thank the NEA selection committee for helping us make the arts accessible to our community but I also want to thank the continued support from the corporations, foundations and individuals that donate to the Arts Association every year.  Our organization is funded solely by donations.  We could not begin to provide opportunities like LEAP for our community and the students in the Newton County School System without the support of our generous supporters.”
 The NEA is the federal agency that supports and funds the arts to give all Americans the opportunity to experience creativity and participate in the arts. NEA programs and funding support thousands of activities in communities large and small across the country. To learn more about the National Endowment for the Arts, please visit Follow the conversation about this and other NEA‐funded projects on Twitter at @NEAarts.
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Cellobration- Cancelled

Today's Cellobration performance has been cancelled due to illness.
We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause!


Grapevine- ON THE SQUARE!

Tonight's concert will be held on the square.

Tonight's concert featuring The Grapevine Band will be held on the square! We look forward to a great time, see you at 7pm! 

Sister Act Auditions

Sunday July 16th & Monday July 17th at Porter Performing Arts Center
Ages 16 to Adult
Headshot & resume preferred
Dress comfortably (for dance audition)
Prepare 16 bars of an up-tempo musical theatre piece
Bring sheet music; accompanist provided
Cold readings from script

Performance dates: September 14, 15, 16 & 17

Location: Porter Performing Arts Center, 140 Ram Drive, Covington, GA 30014

Sign up for an audition here!