PNC’s Gift to the UIS Performing Arts Center

Grow Up Great
Above: Carly Shank, Director of Audience Development and Communication, prepares Head Start children for Fancy Nancy, a Sangamon Auditorium Class Acts performance.

PNC’S Gift to Auditorium’s Arts Start Continues to Yield Impressive Results

In May, 2018, as part of its Grow Up Great initiative, the PNC Foundation provided funding to Sangamon Auditorium for a sixth year of Arts Start, which allows local Head Start children experience the performing arts.

Attending shows at Sangamon Auditorium

Twice a year, approximately 600 Head Start children attend a show at the auditorium. Some of the shows have been Skippyjon Jones; Aesop’s Fables; Treasured Stories by Eric Carle; Fancy Nancy and Other Storybooks; If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and Other Story Books; Harry the Dirty Dog; We’re Going on a Bear Hunt; The Ugly Duckling & The Tortoise and the Hare; The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle; Harry and Mudge; Leo Lionni’s Swimming, Frederick, & Inch by Inch; and Five Little Monkeys.

  1. For each performance Amy Zepp designs preschool-appropriate learning materials .
  2. Carly Shank designs a pre-show lesson plan to prepare the students for attending each live performance.
  3. As part of the pre-show experience for students, each classroom receives a copy of a storybook related to the performance they will attend.

Teachers have offered their thanks to PNC, including the following: “We are very thankful to PNC for choosing to give to youth in such a grand fashion while teaching the children about the arts! Thank you!,” “We want to come back,” and “This was a great experience for the Head Start children.”

Urban League Head Start families attend UIS Family Series Events

Urban League families also receive an invitation to an evening family event at the Auditorium including an on-site meal and pre-show activities.

Head Start Teachers Participate in Professional Development

Each year, Head Start teachers participate in a professional development workshop, part of the Auditorium’s “Partners in Education” program from the nationally recognized John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  Comments from the teachers in the past have included “I learn better with hands-on. Excellent!”, “Great audience participation along with education,” and “We really enjoyed the activities.”

Learn more about the program and view more pictures.