Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Rolls Out Open Doors Program

Community Initiative Connects Young People to the Kauffman Center, Encourages School Participation in Arts Programming

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, a new center for music, opera, theater, and dance, opening in downtown Kansas City, Missouri in September 2011 announces the launch of the Open Doors program, a community initiative that will connect kids from throughout the metropolitan area to educational programs and performances at the Kauffman Center.

The Open Doors program is designed to give opportunities for young people, especially those with limited experience of the arts, to attend performances at the Kauffman Center, as well as perform on the stages of the Center’s two performance spaces, the Muriel Kauffman Theatre and Helzberg Hall.

“Nurturing a love of the arts for present and future generations is at the core of our vision for the Kauffman Center.  One of the ways we realize that vision is by bridging gaps between the arts and the needs of individuals, families, organizations, and communities,” states Julia Kauffman, Chairman of the Kauffman Center.

Open Doors, the first of its major educational programs, will connect young people to the Kauffman Center through three major components:
• The Open Doors Transportation Fund will offer funding to schools in the metropolitan area so that bringing students to the Kauffman Center for school matinee performances is more affordable.
• The Open Doors Ticket Fund will offer access to programming at the Kauffman Center for youth and families through reduced price or free tickets.
• The Open Doors Spotlight on Youth program will inspire and nurture the next generation of artists by giving young performers the opportunity to perform on the stages of the Kauffman Center.

The Transportation Fund will be rolled out this summer so teachers will have the opportunity to receive funding for performances during the upcoming school year.

“We have experienced such enthusiasm and support from young people and families in the community, and are eager to close the accessibility gap that is key to connecting kids to the Kauffman Center and sharing this beautiful facility and the extraordinary performances we have planned,” said Jane Chu, President and CEO of the Kauffman Center.

The Transportation Fund

As the first element of the Open Doors Program, the Open Doors Transportation Fund will help minimize barriers to participation by providing bus transportation allowances for more than 15,000 students each year. Eliminating or reducing this common cost barrier for most schools will allow more students to attend school matinee performances at the Kauffman Center.

During the 2011-12 school year, the Kansas City Ballet, the Kansas City Symphony, and the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, the Kauffman Center’s resident organizations, will offer twenty school matinee performances for young people.  An additional two school performances of the internationally-acclaimed Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater will be presented by Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey.

Through the Open Doors Transportation Fund, any school in the five-county metropolitan Kansas City area transporting at least twenty students to a school matinee at the Kauffman Center can apply for a bus transportation allowance.  The following guidelines will determine the amount of funding available:
• All public schools with 40% or more of their students participating in the free and reduced lunch program (commonly called Title 1 schools) will be guaranteed to receive a 100% bus transportation allowance.
• All public schools with 20 – 39% of their students participating in the free and reduced lunch program will be guaranteed to receive a 50% Open Doors bus transportation allowance and can request consideration for the remaining 50%.
• All other public schools as well as private and non-traditional schools can apply for a full or partial Open Doors bus transportation allowance.
• Bus transportation allowances are based on a per student basis.

Applications for funding will be accepted starting in July for the upcoming school year.

Educators interested in learning more about Open Doors and other high quality arts education experiences at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, are encouraged to sign up for the Kauffman Center’s education email list at www.kauffmancenter.org/community/open-doors/.  All educators who register before June 30th will be eligible to win one of four exclusive backstage tours for their class that will be awarded in a drawing in July. Details about the Ticket Fund and the Spotlight on Youth will be announced in upcoming months.

For those interested in supporting the Kauffman Center’s Open Doors program with a charitable contribution, contact .