Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands (The Woodlands, TX)

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Shot of a crowd of children and some adults, holding ballons and blowing on kazoos

The Kazoo-dah Parade draws a crowd during the 2004 Children's Festival.   Photo courtesy of Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, owned by the Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands, is an open-air amphitheater founded in 1990. The Pavilion provides a variety of live performing arts as well as educational and outreach programs for children and families. The official summer home of the Houston Symphony and a presenting venue for the Houston Grand Opera and Houston Ballet, the Pavilion also hosts special events such as the annual Children's Festival. Nearly half a million people visit annually.

In FY 2004, the Center for the Performing Arts at The Woodlands received an NEA Challenge America grant of $10,000 to support the 2004 Children's Festival. The festival took place October 21-24, 2004, with weekend performances open to the public and the weekday schedule devoted to school field trips. A total of 14,000 people attended activities during the festival, including students from 38 public and private schools in 14 school districts.

The Children's Festival was designed to educate and entertain elementary and intermediate school children through storytelling, music, and dance, with audience participation. Both professional artists and community groups were showcased on Pavilion stages. Other lively festival components included Arts Alley under the direction of the Art Teachers Network, a group comprised of art teachers from Houston-area school districts; wood sculpting; an instrument “petting zoo”; and booths of interactive games. Showcasing arts and education in a nontraditional setting, the Children's Festival engages children in the performing arts.

(From the NEA 2004 Annual Report)