About the Mason Gross Extension Division

The Mason Gross Extension Division offers world-class arts education to the entire community, right here in Central Jersey. Our innovative programming allows artists of all ages and ability levels to interact and learn from some of New Jersey's most distinguished teaching artists at the state's premier arts conservatory. Courses of study are available for beginners, enthusiastic amateurs, and those with professional training. 
Forget trekking all the way into Manhattan to experience excellence in arts education. We invite you to join the vibrant cultural community flourishing here at the Mason Gross School of the Arts.

Christopher Kenniff
Director of the Mason Gross Extension Division


The Mason Gross Extension Division's mission is to provide life-changing, educational opportunities to participants of all ages and to build community through the arts. We accomplish our objectives through comprehensive, year-round, educational offerings that advance the highest standards of artistic excellence in practice and instruction, nurture the love and appreciation of the arts, and build community amongst participants. We think of all of our offerings as being gateways to personal excellence for our participants. 


Individuals of all ages and ability levels that join the Mason Gross Extension Division will find themselves part of an educational community where they will . . .
  • Discover and achieve their full potential.
  • Experience artistry at every level of instruction.
  • Gain new tools to communicate/express themselves more fully.
  • Growth in their appreciation of all arts, not only their chosen emphasis.
  • Find themselves a vital part of Mason Gross School of the Arts and Rutgers University, not only the Extension Division.
Additionally, we will aim to provide students of exceptional ability with access to advanced/elite level training suitable to their needs.


We believe that the arts . . .
  • Are central to human experience and key to an individual's personal development.
  • Connect people to one another in profoundly personal, meaningful, and impactful ways, providing a means for individuals, communities to engage with one another across boundaries.
  • Are transformative in their impact upon individuals, communities, and cultures.
  • Enable communion with ideas, concepts, and sensibilities that continue to shape history.
  • Have a collateral impact upon other areas of a person's life—academic accomplishment, social growth, and world-view.
We believe that arts education . . . 
  • Is vital for an individual's emotional, intellectual, and social development.
  • Motivates outstanding artistic achievement, which in turn motivates similar accomplishment in other areas of life and education.
  • Should ideally start at as early an age as possible an continue throughout one's life with the goal of life-long learning, participation, and enjoyment of the arts.
  • Emphasizes learning through knowledge and skill acquisition, while cultivating the imagination and individuality.


  • Inspire outstanding achievement.
  • Offer comprehensive arts education that encourages artistry at every level. Provide people with the opportunity and skills to achieve their full creative/artistic potential.
  • Create opportunities for exceptional learners/achievers  to excel in advanced level classes and ensembles.
  • Prepare students for artistic and educational opportunities beyond the Extension Division.
  • Create lifelong learners, artists, and patrons of the arts.
  • Build community through the arts.
  • Provide access to all regardless of age, ability or economic status/Remove or mitigate economic barriers to participation.
  • Ultimate goal: transform/change lives.


  • Inspired, informed, and responsive student-focused instruction that encourages artistry, cultivates imagination, and inspires achievement at all levels.
  • Focus is on student's artistic and personal potential and development.
  • We respect artistic and pedagogical tradition, while promoting innovation representing new standards in artistic excellence.
  • We create opportunities for our members/participants to share their talents in ways that promote artistic collaboration and interaction (i.e. chamber music, gallery shows, interdisciplinary events featuring music, dance, and visual arts).
  • We will seek to develop artistic and organizational (internal and external) partnerships that enable us to accomplish this aspect of our mission (i.e. partnering with an area youth orchestra to allow our students the opportunity to engage in orchestral training and performance as they continue their private lessons with the Extension Division.)
  • We will show respect for all students, faculty, and staff and embrace diversity in artistry and personality.
  • We strive to create a community around the arts and arts education that celebrates achievement, supports growth, values its members, and is invested in the growth of the Extension Division.
Our faculty, staff, volunteers, and leadership.
  • We are committed to providing a nurturing and professional environment in which individuals are empowered to take ownership of their responsibilities, and to contribute broadly and personally to the growth of the Extension Division.