Cornish fresh

Written by: Emma Sargeant
Cornish College was founded in Seattle in 1914 by Nellie Cornish, pianist and vocal instructor, with the intention of allowing the arts to be explored liberally and personally with less pressure from the constraints of technicality. Within three years of its commencement, the school had 600 students and was the country’s largest music school west of Chicago. Cornish invited the most avant-garde instructors to experiment their art and share their passion with students. One teacher in particular was Martha Graham who created a new vision for dance. With music being the heart of the curriculum, Cornish expanded with a blossoming repertoire of dancing, theatre, fine arts and design. The school has been consistently supported by the Seattle’s elite, which earlier helped the school to survive the economic crash of World War I and also raise money for a purpose-built venue to expand the school’s possibilities. Schedule a tour at the school’s new main campus on the Denny Triangle. The old warehouse accommodates painting rooms, design studios, Mac labs, springboard floors for theatre, woodshops, and costume shops. The dance and music venues are located at the historical Kerry Hall on Capitol Hill with exposed brick interiors and original glass windows overlooking the cityscape of Seattle. Tours are an hour long and are hosted by administrative staff who are often former students of the school and are fully aware of all aspects of the institution. Prospective students explore the multi-storey building and are made to feel welcome and comfortable to ask questions. Teachers and admissions staff invite interested students for reviews of their work for feedback and advice for a successful admission. Advice is given with the intention of helping students who aim to reach the next step to earn a scholarship and shine as a student at the unique school. To learn more about the school or schedule a visit, go to