Creating Opportunities for All to Experience the Performing Arts

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is passionate about providing opportunities for youth and underserved community members to experience high-quality performing arts through the Open Doors program. This program’s three components are aimed at connecting youth, families and adults from throughout the metropolitan area to educational programs and performances at the Kauffman Center.

The Open Doors Spotlight on Youth initiative offers a diverse set of engagements and programs that connect tomorrow’s artists, arts patrons and arts administrators with the Kauffman Center’s staff and stages.

Through the Open Doors Community Tickets program, the Kauffman Center provides about 750 tickets to approximately 15 to 20 local social service agencies throughout the year. The program allows children and families to attend performances at the Kauffman Center by the Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Symphony and Lyric Opera of Kansas City, in addition to offering free tickets for a wide range of Kauffman Center Presents performances.

An additional component of the program is the Open Doors Transportation Fund, which reduces barriers for schools by providing bus transportation allowances to help defray the cost of bringing students to matinee performances.

“I’ve seen firsthand the impact as our community’s youth are inspired, challenged and motivated by unique and memorable performing arts experiences,” said Paul Schofer, President and CEO of the Kauffman Center. “The Kauffman Center is pleased to be able to provide youth and families access to the arts in partnership with our resident companies and community arts groups.”

Since the Kauffman Center opened in 2011, more than 257,000 students have attended school matinees. Approximately half of those young people have been provided transportation through the Open Doors program.

The Kauffman Center continues to expand and offer new Open Doors opportunities for students, teachers and young artists, including student matinees, discounted student tickets and Future Stages Festival.

Student Matinees

The Kauffman Center hosts more than 35 school matinees for 40,000 students annually. Matinees featuring this year’s Kauffman Center Presents talent include:

  • National Geographic Live
    Brian Skerry: Ocean Wild
    Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.
  • National Geographic Live
    Florian Schulz: Into the Arctic Kingdom
    Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.
  • National Geographic Live
    Cristina Mittermeier: Standing at the Water’s Edge
    Tuesday, March 6, 2018 – 10:30 a.m.

Find an up-to-date matinees schedule and see events for the Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City at

Student Rush Tickets

New this year, high school and college students with valid student ID can purchase discounted student rush tickets to Kauffman Center Presents performances for $15 at the Kauffman Center box office one hour prior to start time on the night of the performance.

“The Kauffman Center is dedicated to offering access to Kauffman Center Presents performances to younger audiences and community members. As an expansion of the Open Doors Community Tickets program, the student rush ticket discount will give local high school and college students a chance to experience performances from national and international artists,” said Schofer.

Seating will be based on availability, and there’s a limit of one ticket per valid student ID. To learn more about student ticket pricing, visit or call the box office at (816) 994-7222.

Future Stages Festival

On Sunday, June 25, 2017 the fourth annual Future Stages Festival featured more than 700 local youth performers on three stages. A crowd of nearly 5,000 people enjoyed performances, arts activities, food trucks and more throughout the day. The festival is part of the Open Doors program Spotlight on Youth initiative.

“We are committed to providing young artists opportunities to perform and engage year-round at the Kauffman Center. Future Stages Festival offers young artists the experience of performing at a venue that national and international performers share,” said Schofer. “Opening the Kauffman Center’s doors to visitors of all ages, Future Stages Festival invites all to experience the diversity of the performing arts and shine the spotlight on the talented young performers that are in our community.”

Learn more and find out how to support Open Doors programming at

–Megan Felling

About The Author: Contributing Writer



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