Kaleidoscope - Pitt-Bradford's arts series for youth - is celebrating its 10th year with ballet, educational programs and a Saturday morning series of hands-on workshops.
Pitt-Bradford started Kaleidoscope to fill a community need for young people's art shows. Originally named the New Horizons arts series, the name was changed in 2009 to complement the names of the university's other arts series, Spectrum and Prism.
By either name, the idea was an immediate hit with schools in the region.
“There was a population not being served here,” said Patricia Colosimo, director of arts programming. “Schools were taking their students to Buffalo (N.Y.) just to see a show.”
In its first year, Kaleidoscope brought two stage versions of popular children's books, “Charlotte's Web” and “Nate the Great,” holding two shows of each during the school day.
“They both sold out, so the next year, we added another show,” Colosimo said.
Each year, the series grew a little - adding musicians, artists, and science-related shows - and expanding its offerings to include evening performances that families could attend together at an affordable price.
“We have worked to make the shows accessible to a broad audience and to tie presentations into curricula,” Colosimo said.
Between school groups and families, Kaleidoscope has had 23,000 visits for arts programming in its first decade from school districts in McKean, Potter, Elk, Cameron and Cattaraugus (N.Y.) counties.
The coming year's offerings should also pack the house for “STEM: The Musical” for grades 2 through 6; a one-hour family-friendly production of “The Nutcracker” by the New York Theatre Ballet; giant puppets depicting prehistoric underwater life in “Erth's Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure”; and a return of “Charlotte's Web.”
Prices are kept to a minimum through sponsors such as the Kiwanis Club of Bradford, grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and other gifts and endowments.
This year Bradford United Way Community Impact Grant will underwrite a series of free Saturday morning smART workshops that allow children in preK-4th grade to create as well as observe art. Programs in that series begin in October and will be “Colorful Yoga,” “StoryFaces,” “Family Folk Dance Party” and “Books and Brushes.”
The Kaleidoscope public offerings for 2018-19 are as follows:
Oct. 13 - Colorful Yoga, 10 to 11 a.m., Blaisdell Hall, a smART Workshop for children pre-K through 4th grade and their families. Free.
Nov. 3 - Christopher Agostino's StoryFaces, 10-11 a.m., Blaisdell Hall. Audience volunteers will be brought on stage and face painted to illustrate the stories as Agostino tells them. A smART Workshop for children pre-K through 4th grade and their families. Free.
Dec. 6 - “The Nutcracker,” 7 p.m., Bromeley Family Theater, a family-friendly one-hour performance by the New York Theatre Ballet. $10 for students; $15 for adults.
Jan. 12 - Family Folk Dance Party, 10 a.m., Blaisdell Hall. A smART Workshop for children pre-K through 4th grade and their families. Free.
Feb. 5 - “Erth's Prehistoric Aquarium,” 7 p.m., Bromeley Family Theater. For elementary schoolchildren and their parents. $10 for all seats.
Feb. 9 - Books and Brushes, 10-11 a.m., Blaisdell Hall. A smART Workshop for children pre-K through 4th grade and their families. Free.
May 3 - “Charlotte's Web,” 7 p.m., Bromeley Family Theater. Theatreworks USA's stage production of the beloved classic story for elementary schoolchildren and their families. $10 for all seats. Come at 6 p.m. for a petting zoo.