About Local Arts & Arts Education

We are proud to serve our community across a diverse range of audiences through our Local Arts & Arts Education programs. 

Programs include:

Our local arts programming includes performances by and learning opportunities for local artists in the UIS Studio Theatre and other spaces. 

The Staley Class Acts series is the UIS Performing Arts Center’s flagship education outreach program. For over 30 years, this program has supported the educational goals of area teachers by providing opportunities for students in preschool through high school to experience artistic, educational, and high-quality performances created for young audiences by nationally-touring theater companies.

2022/2023 Staley Class Acts statistics: 

  • 14,203 Staley Class Acts attendees
  • 16 total performances of nine different shows (two of which were sensory friendly)
  • Attendees from 151 unique public, private, and home schools
  • Attendees from 16 different counties in central Illinois
  • 880 Scholarship Seats given to schools with low income students

Youth programming in the Staley Class Acts series is supported in part by the Elizabeth and Robert Staley Class Acts Endowment, the Helen Hamilton Performing Arts Endowment for Youth, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Through the Arts Start program, funded by the PNC Grow Up Great initiative, over 475 students in the Springfield Urban League Head Start program receive arts education experiences. Now completing its ninth year, the program includes ¬field trip performances, pre-show classroom visits, classroom learning materials, professional development for teachers, and an annual family event at the UIS Performing Arts Center.

UIS Performing Arts Services works with Springfield Public Schools as a team in the Partners in Education program, a national program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts with a goal of supporting arts in education by providing teachers with professional development training in arts integration. In 2019/2020, local Head Start teachers and assistant teachers participated in “Lines and Shapes: Integrating Visual Art and Geometry” with Jamin Carter, an artist and educator and nationally-recognized workshop leader with the Kennedy Center.

UIS Performing Arts Center is pleased to offer sensory-friendly events when possible on the performance schedule. These events are designed specifically to be enjoyed by individuals with neurodivergence. 

Community Engagement

Through our Angel Ticket program, local non-profit social service organizations are given tickets they can distribute to the people they serve who would normally be unable to attend our events due to their social or ¬financial situation. 

In 2019/2020, a total of 229 tickets were donated to 13 organizations.

To help support the efforts of non-profit organizations in our community, we regularly give away tickets for use in fundraising activities. 

In 2022/2023 a total of 90 tickets were donated to 40 organizations.

Our Stage / Our Voices is a new program developed and sponsored by the UIS Performing Arts Center in which members of historically underrepresented communities address the issues of inequality in the regional performing arts with a goal of achieving diversity and inclusion. The artist-in-residence position will rotate annually as Our Stage / Our Voices works to amplify voices and stories throughout the community.


Education programming is supported in part by the Elizabeth and Robert Staley Class Acts Endowment, the Helen Hamilton Performing Arts Endowment for Youth, and a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.  


For more information about any of these programs, contact Carly Shank at carmi1@uis.edu.