Two years ago, Barstow Unified School District (BUSD) broke ground for Barstow Fine Arts Academy, the second magnet school in their district. It followed shortly after Barstow STEM Academy, which opened in 2014 and established the district’s goal to open magnet schools that enrich the community. A fine arts academy was the clear next step to inspire creativity and artistic expression in the community.  

Barstow Fine Arts Academy opened its doors on August 8, 2019 just in time for the 2019/2020 school year and welcomed 600 students in grades K-6 for their first day. The District celebrated with a ribbon cutting just two days later and invited accomplished alumni to perform. 

The fine arts academy sits on the former site of Barstow Middle School, coincidentally where Superintendent Jeff Malan began his career in education. “My interest in this project began my first day of teaching at Barstow Middle School,” he stated. “I am honored to watch its rebirth into Barstow Fine Arts Academy where students can flourish.”  

This was a mixed project, with renovations and new construction as seen in the site plan below.


The project scope includes: 

  • New admin and kinder building with a covered play area to shield students from the desert sun

  • A repurposed library/media center in the old multi-purpose room

  • A modernized music building for practice and instruction 

  • Three new classroom buildings with indoor and outdoor creative studios. Buildings are organized grade levels:  

  • 1st and 2nd grade 

  • 3rd and 4th grade  

  • 5th and 6th grade 

  • A new multi-purpose room with an adjacent central kitchen serving 6,225 students across the district each day 

  • Outdoor gardens and performance areas around the campus

Barstow Fine Arts Academy will serve as a community resource center where students and community members can explore the arts and ignite their creativity. Creative pathways include: Art, Music, Theater, and Dance.

Founders of VKTRY, Sylvia Ray and Kalan Ray, at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Founders of VKTRY, Sylvia Ray and Kalan Ray, at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

“This is a place for the blue-collar hard work of Barstow and creative initiative to meet,” commented Kalan Ray, Co-Founder of VKTRY Creative Studios and Barstow USD alumnus. “This is the exact combination of things you need to be successful in the creative business. I can’t wait to see what these students do with the skills they learn right here in Barstow.”