KidsTix Program to Bring Power of Performing Arts to Flint Families
KidsTix is a program designed to open the door to the power of live performing arts for everyone. A benefit concert on Sept. 16 featured K.C. and the Sunshine Band and was generously sponsored by the United Way of Genesee County. This successful collaborative event raised $15,000 for KidsTix.
The impetus of KidsTix goes back to a Flint School of Performing Arts Student Advisory Committee, whose members discussed how students could gain more access to programming at FIM. Measures were put in place for students to attend Flint Symphony Orchestra concerts. When FIM assumed management operations of FIM Whiting Auditorium and FIM Capitol Theatre, programming was greatly expanded.
“The conversations shifted toward expanding access for all these great new performance opportunities FIM had to offer,” said Ann Marie Van Duyne, vice president of external relations.
She began to engage stakeholders and community members about existing barriers, and how to enable full participation and engagement across FIM programming. Through these conversations, KidsTix was born.
Van Duyne has spearheaded KidsTix since the beginning, with the program slated to pilot this fall. The fundraising process began during the FIM September Spectacular celebration in 2022 with a goal to raise $100,000, which was met and exceeded. The program aims to serve 500 families in its first year.
The funds raised help expand access to the arts by covering the cost of tickets for economically challenged kids and their families.
“We’ve been blessed with funding that has allowed us to offer free and reduced tickets to organizations and schools,” Van Duyne said.
“We’ve never had the opportunity to make that same offer to a family to choose from all of our offerings. This program is about reaching families and inviting them into the experience of live performing arts, including the experience of selecting the show they really want to attend,” she said.
“They’ll have the opportunity to look through the season catalogue and discover what is a good fit for their family,” said Van Duyne.
KidsTix will make programming accessible to families who would not otherwise be able to attend. Families who already work with FIM programs and partner organizations will be invited to register for the program this fall.
Starting a new program comes with a learning curve. As the registration process opens this fall, efforts will be made to communicate with KidsTix families and learn about what worked well for them throughout the experience.
“We’ll be seeking feedback on how welcoming our venues were, how easy it was to get there, whether there were transportation or parking issues. This is an important newcomer audience for us, and we want them to have the best experience we can deliver,” said Van Duyne.
A key part of FIM’s mission is to bring the performing arts to life in its exceptional venues, through its inspirational programs and across the community. These experiences are invaluable for youth to engage with the arts and grow.
“Art should be accessible for everyone, regardless of income,” said FIM President & CEO Rodney Lontine. “We are incredibly thankful to our KidsTix donors. Our audiences know the importance of arts education and one of the best ways to educate and inspire anyone is to take them to a performance.”
Van Duyne strongly believes in the mission of the KidsTix program and the transformative, community-building power of the performing arts.
“It’s such a unique opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with people who are no longer strangers. You share joy, laughter and the awe of what you’ve seen, the challenge of what you’ve heard,” she said.
“It’s not just the individual experience– it really does contribute to building a thriving community. It can be life-changing in that it expands someone’s idea of what is possible in the world. Each live performance provides an entirely unique shared experience that can never be duplicated.”
There are several ways to support KidsTix. Every patron has the opportunity to add a donation when they purchase a ticket. A new free performance series at the Capitol Theatre called Flint Under the Stars, which showcases local talent, also has a donation opportunity at the time of registration. Additionally, patrons can support KidsTix through the year-end appeal, which starts with Giving Tuesday on Nov. 28. Donations can also be made online at donate.thefim.org.
To learn more, contact Emily Clark at 810-237-3110