Photo Recap: Future Stages Festival 2024

A Future Stages Festival Photo Album

2024 marked the start of another decade of youth performances at Kauffman Center’s Future Stages Festival. This year featured 34 performance groups including seven brand new organizations and 22 community partners. Thanks to all who attended and participated.

Future Stages Festival is presented by Premier Partner Saint Luke’s Health System. Additional thanks to our supporters PNC Bank, Richard J. Stern Foundation for the Arts, Marlese and Robert Gourley Children’s Fund, Hearst Foundations, Courtney S. Turner Charitable Trust, John H Mize Jr. & Bank of America, NA Trustees, Neighborhood Tourist Development Fund, Evergy, JE Dunn and Anonymous.

SAVE THE DATE! Future Stages Festival will return next summer on Sunday, June 15, 2025.

Photo by Ellie Fehlig. The 5 Star Jazz Band performs on the Kansas City Symphony’s Mobile Music Box.


Photo by Bernadette Hursh. Guests at Future Stages Festival enjoy activities from community partners, such as StoneLion Puppet Theatre.


Photo by Starra Zweygardt. Guests enjoy the 360 photo booth in Brandmeyer Great Hall.


Photo by Bernadette Hursh. Audiences at the Saint Luke’s Outdoor Stage applaud youth performers.

Photo by Zach Anderson Boland. Guests of all ages enjoy a variety of performances inside and on the lawn of the Kauffman Center.


Photo by Bernadette Hursh. Future Stages festival includes many lawn games and activities.


Photo by Zach Anderson Boland. Starlight Stars’ high school performers present a musical theatre medley.




Kauffman Center Tours: A Q&A with Morgan Prosser, Ticketing Services Supervisor

Morgan Prosser is the Kauffman Center’s Ticketing Services Supervisor. She oversees multiple aspects of ticketing for various events, including the Kauffman Center’s Tour Program. In this post, Morgan answers some basic questions about tour offerings and the tour scheduling process at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Q: How do I schedule tour of the center?  

Photo by Steve Mohlenkamp Photography

A: You can schedule a tour by filling out our Private Tour Request form located on our website, under The Center > Tours and Public Hours:   

Q: When can I schedule a tour?  

A: You can inquire about scheduling a tour year-round. The availability of our tours largely depends on what performances and events calendar. We try not to schedule tours when we can’t offer to show both of our performance halls to a tour group. The winter tends to be the busiest season for us with so many holiday performances taking place, so that is when we are least likely to have tour availability. In the same vein, the spring and summer months typically have more availability, but it still varies week to week.  

Q: How long does a tour last?  

A: Our tours typically last about one hour, though that can vary. We also try to keep tours for children’s groups closer to 45 minutes.  

Q: How many people can be accommodated on one tour?  

A: We can accommodate almost any number of people on a tour; however, we do recommend keeping each tour to about 35 attendees.

Photo by Kenny Johnson

We recommend this because it can be hard for everyone to hear the tour guide(s) with larger groups. If you have more than 35 people in your group, we suggest breaking into different groups and starting the tour in different locations or at different times.  

Q: How far in advance do you have to schedule a tour? 

A: We require at least three weeks’ notice in order to make sure all spaces are open and available, and respective departments are aware of the activity. Due to the ever-changing nature of performances and events, we usually officially confirm each tour about two weeks in advance of the date.  

Q: What aspects of the building are covered on tours? 

A: Each tour covers all front of house spaces in the Kauffman Center. This includes Helzberg Hall, Muriel Kauffman Theatre, Brandmeyer Great Hall and the Plaza Lobby level.

Q: Do tour groups go on stage?  

A: We typically do not bring tour groups on stage. There is often equipment and sets for upcoming rehearsals and performances on our stages.  

Photo by Cody Boston

Q: Are the tours guided?  

A: Yes, our tours are led by our incredibly knowledgeable volunteer tour guides. Many guides have been giving tours since the early stages of construction, so they have a lot of experience and knowledge on the history and architecture of the building.  

Q: How much does a tour cost?  

A: Tours are $100 for a group of up to 35 people, and $150 for groups of more than 35 people. Fees will be paid through the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors program if the group is a student group affiliated with a non-profit organization (must provide Tax ID number). Be sure to mention the school group status on the tour request form so any discounts on tour costs can be applied. 

Saint Luke’s Mother’s Day Organ Concert

Celebrating Mothers, Music and Health: A Recap of the Kauffman Center Mother’s Day Organ Concert 

Photo by Don Ipock

We hope you had the opportunity to join us last month for our Saint Luke’s Mother’s Day Organ Concert. This free event was an incredible celebration of mothers everywhere and the 30th anniversary of Saint Luke’s Muriel I. Kauffman Women’s Heart Center. A concert on the Julia Irene Kauffman Casavant Organ, Opus 3875, the heart of Helzberg Hall, made for a fitting tribute to the care the Heart Center has provided for women’s hearts over the last 30 years. The Kauffman Center is honored to help celebrate the pioneering efforts in addressing women’s cardiovascular health made by the Heart Center.

Grammy-nominated organist Jan Kraybill took center stage, delighting the crowd of mothers, aunts, sisters and the people who love them dearly. Kraybill’s performance, titled “An Around-the-World Musical Adventure,” was a captivating journey through continents and cultures. The program brought a diverse selection of musical pieces, highlighting the versatility and richness of the organ’s sound along with Kraybill’s own mastery. Kraybill’s performance infused a fitting level of passion and elegance fit for the occasion.

Photo by Don Ipock

This amazing performance would not have been possible without the Kauffman Center’s partnership with Saint Luke’s and their generosity in providing this spectacular Mother’s Day gift. The Kauffman Center and Saint Luke’s share the same commitment to promoting the arts as a way to reduce stress and promote overall well-being. Thank you, Saint Luke’s! 

And, of course, to the mothers and mother-figures who joined us last month our hearts are full of gratitude. Thank you for spending this special day with us.

PNC Grow Up Great Gallery – Noble’s Story

Giving Kids a Helping Hand

PNC Grow Up Great Gallery

Photo by David Riffel

Since 2004, PNC has been dedicated to helping children through PNC Grow Up Great, which helps prepare children from birth through age 5 for success in school and life. PNC Grow Up Great supports programs, resources and experiences for young people through partnerships with organizations like the Kauffman Center. Nowhere is this vision more clear than in the PNC Grow Up Great Gallery.

The Kauffman Center is proud to be the home of the PNC Grow Up Great Gallery. Created in 2018, the gallery is a collaboration between the Kauffman Center, PNC and and area early learning centers to inspire a love of the arts in children. By exposing children to the arts, PNC and the Kauffman Center hope to encourage creativity that will last a lifetime. 

Photo courtesy of PNC

The PNC Grow Up Great Gallery leaves a lasting impression on students like Noble. Noble was one of the first to leave his handprint on the wall in 2019 and returned four years later to find his handprint. “I do remember that day you guys took my handprint and put in on here,” said Noble. “We had a field trip coming to the Kauffman Center to see our handprints… I was just full of excitement!” 

“Noble has fond memories of his time experiencing the performing arts at the Kauffman Center and the PNC Grow Up Great volunteers who came to help him make his handprint,” his mom, Tamica, said. Noble is now taking part in the performing arts through music and flexing his creative mind at a French immersion school in Kansas City. 

Check out the video below to learn more about Noble’s story. 

The gallery is currently home to nearly 300 handprints from pre-K students in the Kansas City-area, with more being added to the gallery each year. The handprints also showcase the first name and age of their creator, making the gallery a very personal and heartfelt experience for many families.

Photo by Don Ipock

The gallery is a colorful way to show the lives impacted by the collaboration between PNC and The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. The gallery also serves as a permanent reminder of people impacted by PNC Grow Up Great, with each handprint representing the many lives that have been touched by the arts. 

Feel free to come see the gallery with your own eyes! The PNC Grow Up Great Gallery is located in the Level 2 Plaza Lobby of the Kauffman Center. The gallery is open for viewing for ticketholders 90 minutes prior to any performance. It’s also open to the public during box office hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Want to lend a helping hand? Learn more about PNC Grow Up Great at PNC Grow Up Great (

10 Reasons to Support the Arts in Kansas City in 2024

The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, empathy, and beauty. The arts also strengthen our communities socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even during a pandemic that has been devastating to the arts.

The following 10 reasons show why an investment in artists, creative workers and arts organizations is vital to the nation’s post-pandemic healing and recovery.

Photo by Don Ipock

  1. Arts unify communities. 72% of Americans believe “the arts unify our communities regardless of age, race and ethnicity” and 73% agree that the arts “helps me understand other cultures better”—a perspective observed across all demographic and economic categories.
  2. Arts improve individual well-being. 81% of the population says the arts are a “positive experience in a troubled world,” 69% of the population believe the arts “lift me up beyond everyday experiences,” and 73% feel the arts give them “pure pleasure to experience and participate in.”
  3. Arts strengthen the economy. The nation’s arts and culture sector—nonprofit, commercial, education—is a $1.02 trillion industry that supports 4.9 million jobs (2021). That is 4.4% of the nation’s economy. In Missouri, arts and culture is a $11 billion industry—3.1% of the state economy—and supports 89,146 jobs (bigger than utilities, education and agriculture). The arts accelerate economic recovery: a growth in arts employment has a positive and causal effect on overall employment. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis). Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area’s nonprofit arts industry alone generates $615.2 million in economic activity—spending by organizations and their audiences—which supports 8,977 jobs and generates $97.5 million in local, state, and federal government revenue (2022).
  4. Arts drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. The 4.5 million attendees at Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Area’s nonprofit arts and culture events spend an average of $37.06 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission on items such as meals, parking and lodging—vital income for local businesses. 13% of attendees live outside of the five-county region (Clay, Jackson, and Platte Counties in Missouri; Johnson and Wyandotte Counties in Kansas counties); they average $60.37 in event-related spending. Arts travelers are ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more to seek out authentic cultural experiences.
  5. Arts improve academic performance. Students engaged in arts learning have higher GPAs, standardized test scores and college-going rates as well as lower drop-out rates. These academic benefits are reaped by students across all socio-economic strata. Yet the Department of Education reports that access to arts education for students of color is significantly lower than for their white peers. 91% of Americans believe that arts are part of a well-rounded K-12 education.

    Photo by Tyler Cook

  6. Arts spark creativity and innovation. Creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders—per the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report—with 72% saying creativity is of “high importance” when hiring. Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged as an arts maker than other scientists.
  7. Arts have social impact. University of Pennsylvania researchers have demonstrated that a high concentration of the arts in a city leads to higher civic engagement, more social cohesion, higher child welfare, and lower poverty rates.
  8. Arts improve healthcare. Nearly one-half of the nation’s healthcare institutions provide arts programming for patients, families and even staff. 78% deliver these programs because of their healing benefits to patients—shorter hospital stays, better pain management and less medication.
  9. Arts for the health and well-being of our military. The arts heal the mental, physical and moral injuries of war for military servicemembers and Veterans, who rank the creative arts therapies in the top four (out of 40) interventions and treatments. Across the military continuum, the arts promote resilience during pre-deployment, deployment and the reintegration of military servicemembers, Veterans, their families, and caregivers into communities.
  10. Arts Strengthen Mental Health. The arts are an effective resource in reducing depression and anxiety and increasing life satisfaction. Just 30 minutes of active arts activities daily can combat the ill effects of isolation and loneliness associated with COVID-19.

Information provided by ArtsKC and Americans For The Arts in 2024.