Lawrence Arts Center (Lawrence, KS)


High school actors - young man and young woman hold hands across a table as another young man approaches from upstage

The Lawrence Arts Center's Summer Youth Theatre production of Les Miserables. Photo by Matt Foerschler

For more than 30 years, the Lawrence Arts Center (LAC) has provided its community with quality arts programming and its artists with support and opportunities for exhibition. Reaching more than 95,000 people through its performing and visual arts programs, LAC provides arts education programs for children, youth, and adults; hosts concerts, local arts groups, fundraisers, and conferences; and is home to the Seem-To-Be-Players and the Prairie Wind Dancers.

In FY 2005, LAC received an NEA Summer Schools in the Arts grant of $34,970 for its Summer Youth Theatre, a challenging, full-immersion arts education experience, serving 300 children, ages 4-18. Theater artists and arts professionals provided two four-week sessions for the students. In line with the Kansas Curricular Standards for Theater, students received instruction in the standard's four major areas of theater skills: script structure and development; skill in acting, dancing, and singing; design and production; and familiarity with dramatic elements and principles. 

Each class culminated with a public performance, allowing students to demonstrate their new skills, knowledge, and understanding of theater. For 2005, a total of 20 performances took place in June and July, all exploring the theme, "A Summer of Social Change and Challenge." The 4- to 8-year-old students performed Lessons from Fairy Tales, the 9- to 13-year-old students performed Cinderella and Free to Be You and Me, and the 14- to 18-year-old students performed Les Miserables and To Kill a Mockingbird.

(From the NEA 2005 Annual Report)