SPARK! Extension Provides Fun for the Whole Family 

Written by Claire Schmidt, Community Impact Coordinator
Fox Cities Performing Arts Center

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center was happy to partner with the Building for Kids’ SPARK! program for the recent performance of The Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences on Tour’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (The Musical!).  SPARK! is a cultural program for people with early to mid-stage memory loss and their caregivers and families. This free monthly programing is specially created to engage imagination and creativity. The SPARK! program at the Building for Kids is a great opportunity to spend time with a loved one, meet new friends on a similar journey, create lasting memories and best of all—have fun! 

Participants in the SPARK! program met at the Building for Kids earlier this month and together painted pieces of canvas an array of different colors. Once at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, these pieces of canvas were attached to large 5-foot-tall frames and participants got to determine which side faced up and reorder the canvases however they saw fit. Once they reached a consensus, they found out they were outlining their bus! From there they were able to add windows, stairs, wheels, and even pigeons to their creation. With the assistance of some younger attendees, the participants were able to see their bus come to life; something that brought a smile to everyone’s face. 

What made this performance extra special was that participants were encouraged to bring their families to the event to ensure it was a multi-generational night. This was a sensory-inclusive performance, designed to create a performing arts experience that is welcoming to all families, including those with autism or other sensory sensitivities. At these performances, patrons can take breaks if needed and come back into the theater when they are ready. Lights remain on at a low level to allow for safe movement. This ensures sensory-inclusive performances are a judgement free zone for everyone who wishes to attend. 
To learn more about the SPARK! program through the Building for Kids, please visit:  
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