FAA History

The Legacy Lives On


As we remember Jim and Louise Savage, we remember that they were as much about their art as they were about the need to share the arts with others. Mr.Savage was a dedicated advocate for the arts. From the start of the idea of a school of music, Mr. Savage could often be found convening influential people and collaborating with movers and shakers in the broader community promoting the need for spaces for art instruction and performance. Whether he met with people in his home at an informal night of music sharing, chatting with VIP’s over coffee or encouraging someone to host a dinner fundraiser, Jim Savage knew how to make things happen.

Sixty two years later, thanks to the Savages, The Fine Arts Association stands firmly as the pre-eminent all-encompassing community arts center here in Northeast Ohio. In memory of Jim and Louise Savage, the family has started a fund for the continued operation of The Fine Arts Association. Friends and family of the Savages and The Fine Arts Association are welcome to donate to this fund at any time. Once the fund reaches endowed level, the distributions will help to support the organization in perpetuity. We are forever grateful for Mr. Savage’s tenacity and dedication to ensuring that quality arts live on throughout Northeast Ohio. 

Pictured: James Savage (L) Louise Savage (R)


The Fine Arts Association began in the Savage’s home where lessons took place.


The Savages relocated their growing vision to what is now the Homestead House Bed & Breakfast.


Then, they raised enough money to build their forever home for The Fine Arts Association- the current FAA building on Mentor Avenue. 

 The Fine Arts Association’s (FAA) mission is to enhance lives through arts education, therapies, performance, community partnerships and advocacy. Annually, over 60,000 people enjoy classes in art, music, dance, theatre and therapies along with a wide variety theatrical performances and concerts.

FAA offers students – pre-K through senior citizens – an array of enriching arts and educational experiences. While FAA is dedicated to ensuring that all programs are available to any student across ability, some, such as music/art therapies and Theatre for Healthy Living™, are specifically designed for those with behavioral, physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. FAA offers needs-based scholarships, discounted rates for student and senior citizen groups, and free performances and events.

60 years ago, in 1957, FAA of Willoughby, OH was incorporated by co-founders Jim and Louise Savage both of whom were highly talented musicians and music teachers. By 1965, they outgrew their home-based center. Their board and private funders came together and purchased a building in Willoughby. But enrollment grew and in in 1972 a new building was built on Euclid Ave. in Willoughby.

FAA’s service area began expanding throughout the Northeast Ohio community including, but not limited to, Lake, Geauga and Eastern Cuyahoga Counties. A study confirmed that the physical space was reaching maximum capacity and ideas began percolating about building and upgrading to add additional educational and artistic spaces.

From 2013-2017, the FAA board and staff worked diligently on this $3 million Growing Strong campaign fervently believing that art is essential to the vibrancy of a community. Key support for the campaign came from federal, state and local grants, foundations, corporations, board members, and individuals.

On August 26, 2017, the new space was proudly dedicated ensuring that FAA would continue to inspire and transform lives through the arts.