For many years, there has been talk of expanding the well-established arts program at Northwestern into a magnet program. Next year’s proposed budget would move a step in that direction. The plan, pending approval, would create a Visual and Performing Arts program for in-boundary students, who must audition for it. Additional staff would be available during expanded hours for individualized instruction, particularly critical for band and orchestra. It is hoped that in future years the program will be available for out-of-boundary students as well. “The ultimate goal isn’t just to be the Suitland of the North end,” says Batenga, “but to create our own mold.” He notes that the Arts District of Hyattsville could provide mutually beneficial town-school connections.