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Franklin Vanderbilt Academy of Performing Arts

The Franklin Vanderbilt Academy of Performing Arts  is founded and driven by the passion of professional musician Royalprince Franklin Vanderbilt. A favorite son of Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood, Franklin credits the music programs he experienced as a child with inspiring him and changing the trajectory of his life. His life proves that the spark of interest in a child can create a personal fire and positive mindset that then inspires others. 


Located on the site of Franklin’s former grade school, Nathan Goldblatt Elementary School, the Academy of Performing Arts will provide extracurricular exposure and instruction in performing arts and financial literacy to students ages pre-school through high school.  The extra-curricular programs will put children on the path to more enriching lives and careers, while also giving them the financial awareness and tools to succeed in the performing arts.

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Nathan Goldblatt School, 4257 W. Adams Street, Chicago

This is Franklin’s way of giving back to his beloved hometown of Chicago,  by reimagining this educational institution and its vital role in the community fabric by enhancing children’s lives and futures, while also bringing jobs and valued economic resources to the community. West Garfield Park is one of the most underserved communities in Chicago, and its young residents need and deserve creative and educational outlets to positively impact their self-esteem and development.

Academy of Performing Arts
Quality, Diversity and Inclusion

Franklin will be active and involved, serving as leader of the organization as well as an instructor and an inspirational speaker for the children. The staff will be comprised of dedicated and trained music and performing arts educators with supplemental instruction coming from professional musicians, singers, actors and dancers. 

While the Academy of Performing Arts will nurture the children of Chicago’s West Side, all children are welcome and encouraged to attend.  Franklin feels it is essential to expose children to a diverse group of people to prepare them for success in the world. Children from a variety of Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs will be invited to visit and attend, allowing the Academy of Performing Arts students to learn from and perform with each other.

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Franklin Vanderbilt sharing his musical expertise with students at Whitney Young High School in Chicago

The facility will include professional grade recording studios, a performing arts space and a number of vital businesses like a neighborhood grocery market, gym and restaurants to provide healthy and positive lifestyle choices. These businesses will mean jobs and economic benefits to the community. 

Musicians, actors and others from the Academy, Chicago and around the world will share their skills on the performing arts center stage and bring the arts and audiences to the community.

Academy of Performing Arts as Community Hub

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The Franklin Vanderbilt Academy of Performing Arts  will be a community hub whose impact will reverberate beyond the building itself and will be felt in the hearts and homes of its students, in the local economy and in performing arts world more broadly.


The Academy of Performing Arts will ignite a fire in the spirit of its students and bring much needed change to the city and the world.

The facility will also include a music museum that has both educational value for the students and serves as an attraction for visitors. In addition to featuring Chicago music history and its rich Blues legacy, the museum will also include various exhibits on a range of musical styles and instruments, an array of performing arts contributions from professional performers and donors to the Academy.

Franklin Vanderbilt performing during one of many world tours

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