By JaSaun Buckner
Dancing is an expression that comes from the mind, body, and soul. For children, dance instruction and performance provide an artistic outlet, stability and lessons that last a lifetime. For just over 50 years Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts has provided a place where black children and adults in Chicago can learn the fundamentals of dance and performance within their community.
Ms. Peggy Sutton is the owner and director of Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts. Mayfair was founded in 1957 by renowned Tap Master, Mr. Tommy Sutton with the goal of developing dance as a cultural and physical asset for the children on the south side of Chicago. He passed on his legacy to his daughter, Peggy Sutton who has successfully operated Mayfair since 1978. Today Mayfair is one of the largest privately owned schools of its type with an enrollment of over 900 students and two locations. Ms. Sutton nurtures her student and her factually who are all like one big family. Most of the teachers at Mayfair were once students. Distinguished alumni include First Lady Michelle Obama, Common and Tempest Bledsoe. Each year Ms. Sutton produces the annual Mayfair dance recital, entertaining audiences up to 5000 while exposing her students to historical and theatrical venues throughout Chicago.
In addition to her administrative and artistic duties at Mayfair she also does choreography for many local civic and charitable organizations and oversees the Mayfair Performing Company. Ms. Sutton is a graduate of Southern Illinois University with a degree in accounting.
Ms. Sutton is also the recipient of the Chocolate Chip Theater Co. “Smart Cookie” award, the Alpha Kappa Alpha “Pearls of Excellence” award, the Chicago Defender’s “Women of Excellence” award, Zeta Phi Beta’s 2008 Women of the Year award and the 2008 Ruth Page Award.
Ms. Sutton understands that her purpose is to continue the legacy her Father left before her, which is to educate, expose, empower and employ our children in the Fine Arts. It is Ms. Sutton’s hope that her legacy will be to show by example the business of the arts as a thriving African American and female owned and operated business, which has been a positive fixture and cultural institution in the same community for the past 50 years.