Education & Community Engagement 

Society for the Performing Arts' Education & Community Engagement Department creates affordable opportunities for the discovery, development and celebration of creativity on and off stage by engaging all people in the Houston area through diverse programs and cultural partnerships. From professional development for teachers to pre-performance activities for the whole family, SPA's education and community engagement programs offer something for everyone!

Arts Talks are pre-performance discussions and demonstrations led by touring artists, artistic directors or local experts. These short lectures provide context and insight prior to each main stage presentation.

Performance Preludes highlight local performing arts groups within the Houston community by offering performance opportunities in front of SPA audiences prior to each main stage presentation. Sponsored by HEB.

Master Classes provide local dancers and musicians the rare opportunity to learn from SPA’s world class touring artists and are held in community centers and schools all over the Houston area.

Student Matinees introduce thousands of students to the performing arts through discounted daytime performances geared specifically for K-8 audiences. TEKS-aligned study guides that focus on STEM and arts integration are provided for each matinee performance.

Teacher Workshops are professional development opportunities for K through 12 educators. Whether a dance teacher is looking for new techniques or a science teacher wants to integrate the arts into the core curriculum, SPA provides workshops with teaching tools and strategies that work. Sponsored by Conoco Phillips.

The Wells Fargo Student Art Contest, now in its 18th year, aligns with one of SPA’s main stage presentations, which serves as inspiration for the contest. Hundreds of students submit their artwork to SPA each season; winning entries are showcased in exhibits all around the Houston area.

Artist Residencies give students personal access to SPA’s touring artists from around the globe. Artists visiting Houston as a part of an extended residency engage students through master classes, demonstrations and conversations over several days.

Movement Toward Literacy is a partnership with Writers in the Schools that explores the connections between the written and spoken word and dance to support learning and creativity in the classroom. Sponsored by Phillips 66.

Education Discounts like the Student Series and Teacher Club offer discounts to students and teachers for evening main stage performances.  

If you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please email

Volunteer Houston sponsors SPA's Education & Community Engagement Intern through the 
2016 Shell Nonprofit Internship Program

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Arts Talk for Charlie Albright

Arts Talk for Charlie Albright

7:05 PM - 7:25 PM Saturday, May 7, 2016

Cullen Theater, Wortham Center
Join us for a free pre-performance discussion with Carl Cunningham.

Carl Cunningham is in his 50th season as a performing arts critic, commentator, historian, and educator in Houston. He counts 29 seasons as Performing Arts Critic of the former Houston Post, more than 20 years as a music faculty member at the University of St. Thomas and University of Houston, and 20 years as program annotator for Society for the Performing Arts and 25 other performing arts organizations throughout Houston, and elsewhere in Texas, and North America. He is the lead author of Houston Symphony: Celebrating a Century and co-author of Houston Grand Opera at Fifty, both published by Herring Press.
H-E-B Performance Prelude for Charlie Albright

H-E-B Performance Prelude for Charlie Albright

Performance Preludes
7:30 PM - 7:50 PM Saturday, May 7, 2016

Grand Foyer, Wortham Center
Join us in the lobby prior to the show for a free performance by the International Music Academy!

Students of International Music Academy have performed throughout the world, including performances in Moscow, Russia, at the American Embassy and the Igumnov State Music School, as well as recent performances throughout China, including concerts in Dalian and at ChuZhou University. Students have also won competitions and performed throughout the United States including National Finalists in the MTNA competition, with performances in Chicago and Las Vegas, and First Prize in the Sonata and Sonatina Competition, with a subsequent performance in Carnegie Hall.
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