Minnesota's Legacy

Arts Activities Support

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Watertown-Mayer Community Education
Recipient Type
K-12 Education
Start Date
January 2016
End Date
August 2016
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Legal Citation / Subdivision
Laws of Minnesota 2015 Special Session, chapter 2, article 4, section 2, subdivision 3
Appropriation Language

ACHF Arts Access

2016 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Other Funds Leveraged
Direct expenses
Administration costs
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

We hope to have over 40 youth participating and over 600 community members attend the shows. Participants will be engaged in a hands on learning environment in a well-rounded theater experience. The professionals and artists involved with the program will evaluate the outcomes and at the end of the project. Financial success is measured by meeting two goals of keeping the participants and audiences fees low, so it is accessible to everyone in the community. The second goal we stay within our project budget expenses. Additionally this year we will ask parents to complete an anonymous online survey with five basic questions to help improve our program. One question asked parents is to rate their satisfaction 1 to 5 (1 = extremely dissatisfied; 5=extremely satisfied with Summer Youth Theater as a program. We are also hoping to receive some practical suggestions to help improve the program. We plan to continue the online survey in future years.

Measurable Outcome(s)

Parents were to complete a survey with 5 questions. Out of 32 families, 16 surveys were completed. One question asked was to rate satisfaction 1 to 5 with Summer Youth Theatre. 15 chose 5 (extremely satisfied), and 1 chose 4 (satisfied.) We received praise and practical suggestions. We planned on 40 youth involved in this year’s show, we ended up with 39. We estimated an audience of 500 and our actual audience was 780! We achieved all 4 articulated goals, and we consider this year’s show a success. We provided a place for youth to explore their creativity and learn about theatre. 39 youth were involved. Our original script allowed students to be creative and add their own touches. Cast members had a blast diving into their unique character, building background stories, and turning a rough draft into a polished show. One obvious strength in this year’s program was the opportunity for our participants to develop leadership, self-esteem, discipline, and cooperation in working together to produce a show in 6 weeks. This year’s cast was especially young, and it encouraged a group of eighth graders to really step up into that leadership role when our leaders are traditionally closer to tenth grade. This group served as a model to others for teamwork and positive attitude despite a large age difference. Another strength of this year’s show was the script’s theme. Each year we strive for a theme or moral that encourages global consciousness and/or critical thinking. This year’s script was certainly educational and timely. Kids for President taught our cast members about the electoral process and challenged the audience to consider the desired qualities in leader of this country. One young mother told me that after seeing the show, her conversation in a fifteen minute car ride with her 5-year-old went from definition of a good and bad leader to exploring different government systems! We certainly met our goal of challenging audience members to reflect. One challenge this year to the artistic process was changes in the personal lives of directors. For the past five years, Hannah and Jake (script authors and directors), Lauren (music composer and director), and Kyle (tech director) have worked very well together and developed an easy rhythm. This summer all had big changes such a new baby, graduate school classes during rehearsal, and a new job. This demanded some creativity at rehearsal bringing in past participants to help with rehearsals. Additionally, our student directors had to be absent for a couple weeks here and there. The inconsistency of adults at rehearsal created a challenge in developing a routine-based environment for young learners. If a similar situation occurred in future years, we would work hard to have at least two or three adults who can be at rehearsal every day rather than just one consistent adult. We feel that we served the diversity of our community well. The program is designed to be open and accessible to all who want to participate. The registration information clearly states that all youth who completed grades 3 through 12, had an equal opportunity to be involved in the production. All households in the district receive the registration information in the Summer Community Education brochure. Those who were involved in the administrative, artistic, and volunteer groups who worked on the project represented the diversity of our community. We believe the community is always affected for the better by Summer Theatre performances. We see positive reactions from the actors, their families, and their friends. We also hear testimonials from current and past participants that Summer Theatre is or was one of the best experiences. We have seen many Summer Youth Theatre participants continue their theatrical involvement in the high school plays, often landing large roles because of their abilities and experience. Students testify that they not only grew theatrically, but also personally. Strong friendships are formed in Summer Youth Theatre, and it is the goal of the directors to be mentors in all aspects of life. The majority of the participants are involved in their early teens. It is such a crucial time in developing their morals and ethics. Summer Youth Theatre fosters a positive, safe environment in which students are able to grow. Summer Youth Theatre provides an opportunity for individuals to shine on stage. Every student is given at least two lines, and everyone participates in several songs with choreography. Participants are encouraged to stay after rehearsal and contribute to set work and finding/creating costumes. Students are given the opportunity to be involved in whichever way they wish, resulting in learned teamwork skills, technical skills, and self-esteem. They then carry those skills out into the community in a variety of ways: involvement in their church, 4-H, jobs, sports, teams, and volunteerism. Because our program design is flexible and inclusive, we are able to readily accommodate participants with special needs. Participants can indicate special needs on the registration form. An American with Disabilities Act statement is printed in the Community Education brochure. A number of participants this year were diagnosed with anxiety. With the help of directors communicating with parents, they were able to participate without barriers. Students do not need to audition to be in the show. Registration alone guarantees them a spot on stage – auditions simply dictate which part they get. This makes theatre accessible to students who may be shy initially and allows them to grow in confidence. We were able to accommodate several limited-mobility persons at our performances by use of our easily accessible, state-of-the-art performance space. Many people utilized the elevator and reserved handicapped seating.

Description of Funds
Source of Additional Funds

Other, local or private

Recipient Board Members
Rachel Bender, Laurie Heid, Rhonda Maas, Joyce Peterson, Lori Seiling, Sara Soley, Lynn Younglove
Project Overview
Arts Activities Support
Project Details
Funding for a seven-week Youth Summer Theater program featuring an original script and musical score. The program will take place at the Watertown-Mayer Performing Arts Center and will culminate with three public performances in July 2016.
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Watertown-Mayer Community Education
Street Address
313 Angel Ave NW
Zip Code
(952) 955-0285
Competitive Grant Making Body
Board Members and Qualifications
Julie Andersen: Eagan Art House Executive Director; Jill Anfang: Roseville Parks and Recreation Program Director; Bethany Brunsell: Music Teacher and Performer; Shelly Chamberlain: Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Operations Director; Marisol Chiclana-Ayla: Artist, Board Chair of El Arco Iris; Anthony Galloway: Actor, storyteller, West Metro Education Program; Jamil Jude: Theatre artist; Tricia Khutoretsky: Public Functionary Curator and Co-Director; Peter Leggett: Walker West Music Academy Executive Director; Dayna Martinez: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts; Coleen McLaughlin: Arts Midwest Director of External Relations; Tom Moffatt: Silverwood Park Supervisor; Kathy Mouacheupao: Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation Cultural Corridor Coordinator; Adam Napoli-Rangel: Artist; Heather Rutledge: ArtReach Saint Croix Executive Director; Andrea Sjogren: Hopkins Public Schools Youth Programs Coordinator; Dameun Strange: Composer and Performer; Melissa Wright: Twin Cities Public Television.
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications
Bethany Hansen: Administration, youth programming, artistic; Mary Smith: Organizational development, volunteerism, education; Daniel Peltzman: Administration, organizational development; Bill Venne: Fundraising; Sarah Jordet: Organizational development, administration, artistic; Kate Roarty: Audience development, administration, volunteerism; Craig Harris: Organizational development, administration, artistic; Mohamed Samatar: Artistic, community service, fundraising; Rosemary Nevils: Artistic, Community Education, fundraising.
Conflict of Interest Disclosed