Blackbird Academy will close at the end of July after nine years, Executive Director Jennie Strange announced.

“Back in 2009, Blackbird Academy opened our doors with the goal of providing arts education and opportunities to Conway and the surrounding areas and to do so in a way that it was accessible to anyone regardless of their financial status,” Strange said in a video announcement. “For nine wonderful years, we have been able to do just that with the help of our friends and supporters.”

Strange said that after several months of her and the staff trying to find any way to avoid closing, it became clear that the goal of staying open was “not achievable without greater financial support and grants.”

“At some point, something has got to change or give,” she said.

She thanked the faculty, staff, volunteers and donors in the video.

“To our donors, both past and present, please know that your contributions have made it possible for almost a decade of impactful arts programming,” she said. “Your generosity has affected thousands of local students and even more local audiences.”

Lastly, near tears, Strange addressed the students.

“You were the reason for Blackbird and you have been worth every minute of it,” she said. “I believe each and every one of you has the power to change the world around you.”

The Log Cabin Democrat reached out to Strange for more information but the message was not returned by press time Tuesday.

Since it opened in 2009, Blackbird Academy has:

• Awarded more than $180,000 in scholarships for students to take part in arts education.

• Hosted nearly 100 family-friendly arts events and productions.

• Taught more than 3,000 local kids in performing and visual arts classes, workshops and camps.

• Hosted seven free field trip performances, giving arts access to thousands of area school children

• Provided more than 20 local jobs.

• Partnered with 15 different local nonprofits and human service agencies.