Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 12, 1998)
ists to schools
Today s story is the second in a three-part series
examining the history' and mle of the Lied Center
for Performing Arts as a cultural centerpiece for
the state of Nebraska.
By Liza Holtmeier
The students of Fremont High School remem
ber their first encounter with a world-class musi
It involved 19-year-old Makota Nakura and his
700-pound marimba, a percussive instrument sim
ilar to a xylophone.
Nakura, a native of Japan, visited Fremont
FFigh School three years ago as part of the outreach
program conducted by the Lied Center for
While there, he participated in workshops and
mini-performances, introducing many students to
the music of the manmba for the first time.
Last year, the Lied Center participated in 44
such activities, ali geared at getting artists off of the
stage and into the community.
For the past seven years, the Lied Center has
used its artists to present master classes, work
shops, lecture/demonstrations and mini-perfor
mances across the state.
The program, which reached 6,525 Nebraska
students last year, sen es two purposes: building
audiences for the Lied Center and providing the
public with a broad perspective of the arts.
By introducing artists into the community, the
Lied Center generates interest not only in the art
form, but in
the artist sch
eduled to per
of the Lied
am, said that
when a com
an artist, ticket
ams are about
more than just
miuig scaii. i ucy aie ueuicaieu 10 me promotion
of arts appreciation.
“It opens doors for people. They're introduced
to art forms and ideas that they have never experi
enced before,” McNair said.
That exposure can translate into a greater sense
of fulfillment and appreciation for diversity, which
helps people realize that fine art encompasses
more than just ancient Shakespeare and lofty
Tito Puente, who hails from the Puerto Rican
quarter of New York, revealed a brave new world of
jazz to high school students through a series of
workshops in January'. The cast of the touring pro
duction ol “The Secret Garden” shared private
thoughts with students about life in a professional
acting company. And James Sewell, the artistic
director of the James Sewell Ballet, introduced
area dancers to a modem, lyrical sty le influenced
by George Balanchine and Hliot Feld.
To achieve its ends, the Lied Center aims most
of its outreach programming at youth. Llementary
schools, high schools and colleges top the list of
Its inspiring for
the kids to see a
has been playing
the violin since
she was 4.”
Lied Center outreach program
r: 11: . -r-i i
The sooner people incorporate the arts into
their lives, McNair said, the more likely they are to
continue the practice. To aid in the process, the
Lied Center asks all artists to work with its out
reach program but expects only about half to actu
The artists generally make their decisions after
considering their performance schedules and, less
glamorously, their need for exposure.
This means that artists such as violinist Isaac
Stern or actor Hal Holbrook rarely participate
because of hectic performance schedules.
However, McNair assures that most artists incor
porate outreach programs into their performance
schedules as a matter of course.
Outreach programs as a form of publicity have
become a necessity in an era where money for the
arts is scarce, she said.
Once an artist agrees to participate, the Lied
Center decides where to send him or her based on
the artist s target audience.
“We try to match the younger artists with the
younger audiences. It’s inspiring for the kids to see
a 20-year-old who has been playing the violin since
she was 4. It gives them someone to look up to and
emulate," McNair said.
Richard Scott, the supervisor of music for
Lincoln Public Schools, said Nebraska students
would never be exposed to high-caliber arts perfor
mances if it weren't for the Lied Center.
Scott, who w'orked in the New' Jersey public
school system for 1 7 years, said students there
never could see artists through public outreach like
"Lincoln students have seen some outstanding
professionals without cost to us,” he said. Scott is
responsible for distributing the Lied Center out
reach programs among the Lincoln public schools.
Since LPS began participating in the program,
students have been exposed to a variety of musical
styles. Saxophonist Joshua Redman acquainted
students with the sounds of New York jazz. Miles
Hoffman and the American Chamber Players
showcased classical chamber music. The Turtle
ed a mix of blues,
jazz and blue
In addition to
the Lincoln Pub
lic Schools, the
Lied Center pre
to the University
coln and outside
unities that have
include Omaha. York, Grand Island, Fairbury,
Columbus, Tecumseh and Kearney.
Though the Lied Center’s efforts for communi
ty outreach are unique to Nebraska, most compa
rable organizations boast similar programs.
Neighbor in need
The Lied Center for Performing Arts in
Lawrence. Kan., which presented its first season in
1993, presents education programs across the state
Unfortunately, the Lawrence Lied Center may
not be able to continue to provide the programs free
Financial matters are a constant source of con
cern for the performing arts centers since both the
Lincoln and Lawrence programs are solely sup
ported by private donations and free to partici
However, the unsteady state of arts funding in
America may jeopardize the Lied Center’s vision
Lots ot other institutions
are charging for their residen
cy activities,” said Lane
Czaplinski, director of educa
tion at the Lawrence Lied
Center. “The time may come
when we may have to do the
If schools and organiza
tions have to begin paying for
these programs, the popularity
is almost certain to decline.
Success at home
“Right now, we can barely
keep up with all of the
"When the Houston Ballet sponsored a master
class. I could have filled up three classes, but 1 only
Luckily, the Friends of the Lied, a group that
gives money to the Lincoln Lied Center, provides
the majority of the funding for the outreach pro
grams that extend throughout the state.
And with Friends like this, the young people of
Nebraska will continue to meet artists like Makota
Nakura - artists who illuminate classrooms with
the world of the arts.
- -l2 _- * -' ^T^OSiSasmSmmSMmSSS.
James Sewell, the founder of James Sewell Ballet, took time out of his scheduled performances at the Lied Center last October to teach a les
son for the dance department master class at the Johnny Carson Theatre.
Lots of other institutions
are charging for their resi
dency activities...The time
may come when we may
have to do the same
Lawrence Lied Center director of education
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