Invested in Sharing Art with Youth
What It Is
Now in its 133rd season, University Musical Society (UMS) ranks among the top performing arts presenters in the U.S. In addition to featuring musical artists from all over the world, UMS performances include internationally touring dance and theater artists. Closely affiliated with the University of Michigan, UMS is a separate non-profit organization supported by funding from individual donors, foundations, corporations and ticket sales.
With the help of its Education and Community Engagement Department, UMS is sharing the arts with area youth and cultivating the next generation of artists and art lovers by partnering with area organizations and schools, bringing arts into the classroom and making it easier for youth to attend UMS performances. “The arts are very important in the development of young people,” says UMS Education Manager Omari Rush, who believes that introducing youth to the arts not only provides them with an opportunity to relax and have fun, but will help to shape them as youth and adults.
Rush oversees UMS’ K-12 program, which makes it possible for students to attend subsidized daytime UMS Youth Performances, partners with southeast Michigan schools to facilitate in-class artist-student interactions and develops a curriculum for teachers to help students connect what they are learning in the classroom with a performance they attended or an art form they were introduced to. Rush and the department are continuously building on this program and as part of a new initiative are looking forward to partnering with local artists who can continue to teach and expand on an art form introduced to students in a performance long after the touring artist has left Michigan.
Why You Should Know
In addition to its outreach with area schools, UMS also creates opportunities for youth of all ages in the community to enjoy the arts. UMS specifically programs 2-3 special performances each season for families. UMS Family Performances are typically one hour long and are usually a little playful and highly engaging. “During many family performances, audience members (mostly parents and their children) are up dancing in the aisles or singing along with the performers from their seats and kids are often invited on stage to perform side-by-side with the artists too,” explains Rush.
For families with children and teens in grades 3-12, UMS offers the Kids Club. This discount program, which is free of charge and requires no advanced registration, allows up to two children and an accompanying adult to purchase tickets to any UMS evening performances at a greatly reduced rate. “We wanted to make the ticket prices as low as possible for a child or children and an accompanying adult to be able to see these performances that would normally cost $30 to $60,” says Rush.
Look for “family friendly” performances on the UMS website and printed material. These are the regular evening performances that UMS believes families with children age three and up will be able to enjoy together.
For a list of upcoming UMS performances, visit: www.ums.umich.edu/s_current_season/default.asp