Partnership with Variety KC Creates New Accessibility Resources
The mission of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts includes a promise to bring artists and audiences together. This is reflected in many ways, including removing barriers and providing access to performing arts experiences for all patrons. A new partnership with Variety Children’s Charity of Kansas City, a nonprofit organization that works to provide adaptive equipment and opportunities for children with developmental disabilities, reinforces that promise.
The partnership has expanded accessibility resources that the Kauffman Center can use to serve its patrons and enhance the lives of people in Kansas City. The support of Variety KC has helped to connect and engage more visitors through new inclusive resources such as dedicated Serenity Rooms, sensory kits and universal changing tables that meet the needs of patrons from infant to adult.
Patrons who don’t want to miss the performance they came to enjoy are invited to step into one of the Kauffman Center’s two Variety KC supported Serenity Rooms. These spaces are just a step outside Muriel Kauffman Theatre and provide a private, relaxing environment for children or adults with sensory sensitivities; patrons experiencing PTSD, migraines or anxiety; a parent needing to nurse or comfort their child; or any patron who needs a break from the performance or event. Each Serenity Room offers comfortable seating, a monitor to view the live performance, dimmable lights and an electrical outlet, plus tactile and sensory items like a moldable art sculpture and fiberoptic color-changing lamp. To use a Serenity Room, patrons may call the box office in advance or speak with a staff member during a performance.
Universal Changing Tables
Guests needing a private place to take medications, deal with a wardrobe change or address a health care need can now use new features in the Mezzanine Level family restroom and First Aid Office, thanks to Variety KC. While family restrooms have always included infant changing tables, the Mezzanine Level family restroom now features a changing table for infants, older children and adults. Patrons needing an additional space to tend to medical needs may ask a volunteer or staff member for directions to a private place outfitted to meet their needs.
Each sensory kit includes noise-muffling headphones, a weighted lap pad and a handheld sensory item, providing comfort for patrons of any age. Sensory kits are available to all patrons for complimentary use and can be checked out at the Coat Check on the Plaza Lobby Level.
“The Kauffman Center currently exceeds ADA standards, but we know that we can always do a better job for patrons who need extra assistance. We are thrilled that Variety Children’s Charity of Kansas City has stepped forward to help us offer new resources that remove barriers for some audience members and provide opportunities for others,” said President and CEO Paul Schofer.
The new accessible amenities were officially revealed during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Oct. 1, 2019. Variety KC families and supporters were in attendance to explore the new resources, participate in the ribbon cutting and attend Jack Hanna’s Into the Wild Live! school matinee performance.
The partnership with Variety KC supports the Kauffman Center’s commitment to provide a welcoming and accessible environment for all patrons. To learn more about the Kauffman Center’s additional accessibility resources, visit kauffmancenter.org/accessibility.
Corporate Sponsor PNC Bank Inspires Great Futures Through Memorable Arts Experiences
Since Oct. 2017, PNC Bank has been the Kauffman Center’s exclusive bank sponsor for the Ensemble business membership program and a key sponsor of the Kauffman Center’s programming series, Kauffman Center Presents.
A unique feature of the sponsorship is the PNC Grow Up Great Gallery, located on the Plaza Level of the Kauffman Center. PNC Bank created the gallery in partnership with the Kauffman Center and four local child development centers to inspire great futures for children through memorable arts experiences. The art installation features more than 300 handprints created by local preschoolers. The wall complements PNC’s signature philanthropic initiative, PNC Grow Up Great, which focuses on early childhood education and school readiness. This year’s partnering child development centers include St. Mark Child and Family Development Center, Metro Early Learning Center, Growing Futures Early Education Center and El Centro Academy for Children.
The gallery is updated each year with additional children’s handprints. The newest batch was unveiled Nov. 12 at the annual PNC Grow Up Great Gallery event. The evening featured a dinner for the children and their families in Brandmeyer Great Hall as well as performances by StoneLion Puppets and Drum Safari. Each child was able to have their photo taken next to their handprint.
For more information about sponsorship opportunities, visit kauffmancenter.org/support-us/corporate-sponsorships.