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Artists in Residence Programs at MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts and Creativity at Wharton Center

The Artists-in-Residence programs provide a nurturing environment for students to engage in the creative process and to discover the fundamental value of performing arts.  There are several permanent residencies including:

  • Take It From The Top brings top Broadway performers to teach musical theatre skills to pre-teens and teens in East Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City.
  • Kennedy Center Partners in Education is a collaboration between the MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts & Creativity and the Ingham ISD. Teachers and administrators are invited to participate in a 3-day summer institute and yearlong instruction in integrating arts into the classroom.
  • Act One School Series provides curriculum-linked, performing arts enrichment activities for students in grades K-12.  The students are then invited to Wharton Center to experience nationally touring companies perform special one-hour school-day matinees.
  • The Docent Program  appeals mainly to retired educators who offer their skills, love for the performing arts, and time to engage Act One teachers and students in arts-integrated activities that pertain to a particular performance (at no cost to participants).
  • Eye for Broadway is a program created by visual artist Eric Staib that provides an opportunity for area students to study a Broadway show and create artwork around the show’s theme.  The art is then displayed at Wharton Center.
  • The Happendance Residency is an eight- week dance immersion residency in an inner city school.
  • The Stuart Pimsler Dance and Theatre Residency with the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine brings a dance and theatre-company together with medical students and faculty to explore the doctor–patient relationship using the tools of movement and theatre exercises.
  • The Stratford Festival--Shakespeare Immersion Project invites the internationally renowned Stratford Festival to MSU as part of an Artist-in-Residence program teaching their unique approach to Shakespeare.
  • ĭmáGen is a three-year series of artist residencies and unique performance education programs designed to benefit the MSU Department of Theatre students.  The program helps to build MSU enrollment by extending unique learning opportunities to select high school students, and ultimately to co-develop and support a flourishing Musical Theatre minor at MSU.
  • The Young Playwrights Festival is a showcase of six original works, written by high school students, produced by students from MSU’s Department of Theatre, and performed on the Pasant Theatre stage.
  • The Ovation Awards is Michigan’s chapter of the National High School Musical Theater Awards.  High schools throughout the state are invited to submit the name of a student performer who plays the leading male and/or leading female character in the school musical.  A panel of Broadway professionals reviews the applications and selects 50 students to take part in a two-day long program held at Wharton Center.  The program culminates with a performance and the naming of the top female and male performers. The Ovation Award winners are given a $1,000 cash prize and a scholarship to Wharton Center’s Take It From The Top Summer Broadway Intensive. In addition, the students receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City where they represent Michigan in the National High School Musical Theater Awards.
  • The MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts & Creativity at Wharton Center has been awarded a $100,000 grant from Disney to help bring the Disney Musicals in Schools program to mid-Michigan. This program is an outreach initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Group to create ongoing theater programs in local elementary schools. Wharton Center is in the process of selecting four mid-Michigan public elementary schools to participate. The after-school programs are completely free to participating schools.  Disney Musicals in Schools helps to keep the arts in schools and utilizes the unique world of musical theater to build positive relationships between students, faculty, staff, parents, and the community. Students work in teams to develop or restore self-confidence, strengthen communication and collaboration skills, all while learning and enjoying the process of creating a Disney musical theater production.

    The four selected schools will participate in a 17-week musical theater residency. Wharton Center and Disney Theatrical Group will train and assign Center teaching artists in the after-school sessions. At no cost to them, the schools will receive performance rights, educational support materials and guidance from the teaching artists. The programs will culminate in 30-minute Disney musicals at each school site. Wharton Center will also host a Student Share Celebration, where each school will have the extraordinary opportunity to perform a selection from its show on the Center’s stage for an audience of fellow students, family members and neighbors.


Bert Goldstein

Director, MSU Federal Credit Union Institute for Arts & Creativity, Wharton Center for Performing Arts

Wharton Center for Performing Arts