About the ELSFA

The Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts (ELSFA) was founded by Elma Ina Lewis in 1950, and later expanded the vision to include the NCAAA in 1968.

Through its curriculum that featured courses for youth and adults in dance, music, art, drama and sewing and costuming, ELSFA has produced many successful artists.

Always believing in the importance of the arts, ELSFA taught inmates in Norfolk Correctional Institution to search for their voices, and Little Brown Publishers released a book of essays, poems and short stories by these often-silenced men entitled “Who Took the Weight”.


For more than a decade, ELSFA and NCAAA delighted summer audiences in Boston’s Franklin Park where, amid the ruins of an old stone building, the Elma Lewis Playhouse-in-the-Park presented nightly programs from the Fourth of July until Labor Day. The Playhouse featured local talents as well as luminaries such as Duke Ellington and folk singer Odetta.

The ELSFA operated from 1950 to the mid-1980s when it lost the use of its facilities on Elm Hill Avenue to fire. The work of the ELSFA has remained part of our vision and mission, and we are poised once again to bring this creative force back to our community.