The FAIRMOUNT FINE ARTS CENTER offers instruction in dance, theater, music, crafts and visual arts, and gymnastics in its main campus at 8400 Fairmount Rd. in Russell Twp. It originated in a dance studio added to the home of businessman Ron Kumen for the use of his wife, Jan, a professional dancer, who began giving lessons there. Incorporating in 1971 as the nonprofit Fairmount Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, the Kumens built a 3-story Tudor-style building nearby to function as a multi-art center. Kumen had sold his auto-parts business to enable him to become the full-time director. In 1975, with a $60,000 grant from the CLEVELAND FOUNDATION, the center opened a 2nd campus in the former Coventry Library of the Cleveland Hts.-Univ. Hts. Library system. There it spawned the Fairmount Theatre of the Deaf (see CLEVELAND SIGNSTAGE THEATRE), which later assumed an independent existence. Meanwhile, Kumen retired as director due to ill health, and financial difficulties forced the divestment of the Coventry center in 1979. Operating under its present name since 1991, the Fairmount Fine Arts Center serves around 2,000 students annually in its North Russell facility and several satellite locations, including the Fairmount Music Annex, also in Russell Twp., as well as the Fairmount Gymnastics Center in Bainbridge. Governed by a Board of Trustees, the center is funded from tuition and fees, grants, special events, and individual contributions. In 1994-95 the annual operating budget was $300,000. The center was the home of the Fairmount Spanish Dancers, the Fairmount Dancin' Jazz Co., the Fairmount Singers, and the Chagrin Valley Chamber Orchestra. Marsha Carl has served as executive director since 1981. In 1996 the center celebrated its 25th anniversary.

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