Midwest Trust Center Celebrates Innovation and Collaboration Through Arts Education

123 Andrés Actívate (photo by Dominick Williams)

As the ground begins to thaw and flowers bloom, the Midwest Trust Center Arts Education (MTCAE) at Johnson County Community College invites educators and families to take part in one of their many fun and enriching programs. MTCAE programs include school performances at the Midwest Trust Center and engagement activities with artists performing in schools and virtually. There are also several professional development opportunities for educators. This spring, the Midwest Trust Center welcomes learners of all ages to experience the powerful impact of arts education.

StoneLion Puppet Theatre Shows Audiences How Our World is Connected
On March 2 and 3 join StoneLion Puppet Theatre in “The Lost Treasure.” Follow giant puppets, Nathan Ready and a Quetzal bird, as they spelunk into a mysterious cave in search of ancient Aztec treasure. Along the way, they encounter spotted salamanders, turkey vultures, bats and more. Discover how our world is connected above and below ground and how the footprints we leave can have far-reaching effects.

For nearly 30 years, StoneLion Puppet Theatre has presented entertaining and thought-provoking arts experiences to families, and using puppetry, posed real-world actions on how to lessen our impact on the planet and make our community a better place to live.

StoneLion Puppet Theatre, “The Lost Treasure”

Embark on a Journey of Intergalactic Proportions
“Secrets of Space” comes to Yardley Hall for two shows on Thursday, March 10. Using special effects, original music, live vocals, magical illusions and state-of-the-art digital LED screens, the wonders of the galaxy are explored in dazzling detail while unpacking key ideas in science, technology, engineering and math in a creative and interactive way. This spectacular show is from Cahoots NI (Northern Ireland), a Belfast-based theatre company that produces boldly innovative work for children and their families.

Mesner Puppet Theater Explores Social Emotional Learning with Humor and Heart
For the first time, MTCAE has announced an Arts Education Artist-In-Residence for the 2021-2022 Season. “It has been inspiring to collaborate with the artists and educators at Mesner Puppet Theater,” says Kara Armstrong, MTCAE Program Director. “This residency allows both organizations to provide high quality arts experiences and reach young arts enthusiasts.” Over the past three decades, Mesner Puppet Theater (MPT) has captivated nearly two million people through their productions and educational programming.
As part of their residency, MPT performed “The Snowy Day” last fall and will premiere “In the Workshop Live” May 14-15, 2022. They will continue to offer their educator resource, “In the Workshop,” featuring webisodes for students, arts integrated lesson plans for educators, and much more, empowering educators to cultivate social-emotional skills through art, storytelling and puppetry. MPT’s artist educators will also work with staff and students at the Hiersteiner Center at JCCC to support social-emotional learning.

For their May production, “In the Workshop Live” allows participants to use their imagination to become space cadets, traveling through space and time to help save the workshop that’s been invaded by aliens! But this challenge must be met with a set of skills: Space cadets will learn ways to focus their minds and bodies and use their senses to help keep themselves safe. “In the Workshop Live” is more than just a puppet show or workshop; it’s imaginative, it’s interactive, it’s for everyone, and it’s out of this world! 

MTC Kids Jam Features Top Children’s Musicians From Around the World
In collaboration with the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, this brand-new series for the 2021-2022 season features acclaimed children’s musicians from around the world and around the corner. “We are thrilled that families in our community have joined us for these free concerts and arts activities,” Armstrong noted. “With a variety of award-winning local, national, and international children’s artists, our goal is to provide fun and engaging activities to our youngest audience members, that sparks a love of the arts for years to come.”

On March 26, Latin Grammy winner 123 Andrés presents a special show, “Actívate,” which was nominated for Best Children’s Album at the 2021 Grammys. Their catchy songs and lively concerts get the whole family dancing and learning in Spanish and English. The full-band show brings to MTC the spirit of música, energía, familia y comunidad.

Closing out the series this year, the award-winning kid rocker and local favorite Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove will perform on May 21. Jim and his band, The Hiccups, will throw a family dance jamboree! During the show, dozens of little rockers are selected from the audience to perform with the band on stage. Adults get their turn, too, during the fist-pumpin’ finale.

Kennedy Center Partners in Education Supports Local Teachers
Beginning in 2014, MTCAE partnered with Shawnee Mission School District to be named Kennedy Center Partners in Education site, a national partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Since then, the partnership has expanded to include Liberty Schools and Kansas City Young Audiences, making it one of two cross-state Kennedy Center Partnerships in the U.S. Aaron Money, Director of Fine Arts for Liberty Public Schools comments “We are excited to have teaching artists, trained by Kennedy Center artists, working alongside our highly qualified staff intertwining the arts with core subject areas.”

With the goal of teaching the teacher, the partnership provides educators with innovative tools to help them in their teaching. K-12 educators are invited to participate in a variety of in-person and virtual professional development workshops in arts integration, including a recent workshop with Teaching Artist and Consultant, Harlan Brownlee. Regarding his recent workshop, Brownlee notes, “This session gives teachers a number of simple and scaffolded dance activities that are easy to facilitate and integrate into their daily lesson plans.”

“The Midwest Trust Center is proud to bring acclaimed artists and educators from near and far to enrich the lives of our community, and we invite you to attend a performance or workshop with us this spring,” said Armstrong.

–Midwest Trust Center

StoneLion Puppet Theatre The Lost Treasure (March 2-3)
Secrets of Space (March 10)
Mesner Puppet Theater In the Workshop LIVE! (May 14-15)

MTC Kids Jam – FREE family events!
123 Andrés Actívate (March 26)
Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove (May 21)

Mon. – Fri., 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
(913) 469-4445

Plans can change depending on local health recommendations; stay updated at jccc.edu/MidwestTrust Center.

KS/MO Kennedy Center Partners in Education
To learn more about upcoming educator workshops or the 2022 Arts Integration Symposium, visit ksmopartnersineducation.org.

CategoriesArts Consortium

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