Alabama School of Fine Arts

Public School for the Public Good


  • Communications Strategy
  • Institutional Messaging

A state-funded public school offering specialty-focused education to students in the fine arts and math and science, the Alabama School of Fine Arts engaged Libretto to create a comprehensive messaging platform for the school.

Our work was driven by a need to counter several misconceptions and misunderstandings about the school—notably the inclusion of math and science as a specialty offering, and that the school charges no tuition to Alabama students. Libretto conducted an extensive qualitative discovery, interviewing over 100 stakeholders entirely via Zoom. We also met with members of the Alabama state legislature to better understand how to make the case for ASFA’s funding. Our findings showed the importance of emphasizing the ways in which ASFA graduates are not only prepared for careers in their chosen specialties, but also have a strong foundation that allows them to contribute to the culture and economy of Alabama in a variety of ways.

The resulting platform established four pillars of ASFA’s offering: a deep-dive education in a specialty discipline, a solid foundation in creative habits of mind, a uniquely supportive culture, and exceptional outcomes for graduates. We also created a subset of messages to help advance ASFA’s burgeoning development strategy, including talking points for fundraisers seeking support from both public and private sources.

The platform and subsequent in-person message training sessions were extremely well-received by faculty, staff, and board members. According to ASFA president Dr. Tim Mitchell, “the messaging platform is much more than framing or positioning. It reveals the soul of our institution—and reflects it back in compelling language that’s authentic and precise.”