The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, Southern Nevada’s leading performing arts center and a nonprofit organization, announced today it has received a $455,700 grant from Windsong Trust, a private foundation dedicated to youth educational opportunities. This grant will fund arts education experiences at The Smith Center for more than 70,000 Southern Nevada students, including student matinees and sensory-friendly performances for audiences on the autism spectrum and with other intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Through Windsong Trust’s grant support, The Smith Center each year presents school-time matinee performances in its theaters for more than 70,000 Southern Nevada students, at no cost to schools. Performed by regional, national and international artists, these productions represent a variety of arts disciplines and are specifically designed for young audiences. Many incorporate educational elements such as math, history, environmentalism and more.
Windsong Trust has remained the original funder of The Smith Center’s student matinee program since the center opened six years ago.
This year’s funding from Windsong Trust will further support The Smith Center’s new Links to Literature program placing teaching artists in local classroom residencies, with a total 1,500 students participating. These artists will conduct workshops tying directly to literature that serves as the source material for student matinee productions.
he Windsong Trust grant will also help fund The Smith Center’s presentation of sensory-friendly performances for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This includes The Smith Center’s first sensory-friendly performance of a Broadway production, “The Lion King,” on November 17.
The Smith Center serves as just one of a few performing arts centers in the United States with a long-term commitment to presenting sensory-friendly performances, designed to accommodate audiences who can be over or under-sensitive to environmental stimuli such as noise and light. The Smith Center works closely with a team of professionals who serve the autism community for guidance and assistance in presenting sensory-friendly performances.
As a nonprofit, The Smith Center relies on continuous public support to fund 25 percent of its overall operations each year. This includes its education and outreach programs, provided for tens of thousands of students and teachers throughout the year at no cost to schools.
The Smith Center welcomes contributions of all sizes from individuals and organizations to make its education and outreach programs possible.