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New Performing Arts Opportunity For Young People Coming In Wichita

Rosmarie Voegtli
flickr Creative Commons

Young people who are interested in learning performing arts skills will have a new option in Wichita next year.

Mike Garvey, president of Builders, Inc. in Wichita, purchased the building on east Central that's currently home to Mark Arts, a visual arts organization. Garvey is developing the Wichita Center for Performing Arts and will take over the building when Mark Arts moves to its new facility on Rock Road later this year.

The center’s director, Shelli Kadel, was hired in June to develop the performing arts programming and educational activities. Kadel says they will offer classes for preschoolers to teenagers in singing, dancing, acting, instrumental music and everything in between.

"If a child is interested in juggling or hula hooping or sword fighting, any of those things, we want to offer as many different and unique programs as we can," Kadel says.

There will be 10 studios and four performance spaces including the Prairie Vista Theater with more than 480 seats.

Kadel says the center’s mission is to provide kids experience in theater even if they don’t want to be lifelong performers.

"We want to help them be successful," Kadel says. "If they are successful at age 7, and that’s the last they perform but they’ve been successful, that’s a goal for us. So just helping them achieve success at whatever level and age that happens for them. If they move on to become performers, that’s great and a bonus too."

She says their business model will include options that allow children from all economic backgrounds to have access to their programs.

The center is also developing a Wichita Repertory Theater Company to offer kids high-level theater training and performance opportunities.

Remodeling work will begin in February, with the center expected to be open in September 2018.

The Discovery Place preschool will be moving into the Wichita Center for Performing Arts next year.

Garvey also owns the Crown Uptown Theatre in east Wichita, and is in the process of remodeling that venue.

Other performing arts opportunities for children in Wichita include Music Theatre for Young People, Christian Youth Theater and Wichita Children’s Theatre and Dance Center.


Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.