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Community Partnerships

African American Children's Theatre

AACT provides a safe and constructive environment to children who otherwise would not get the opportunity to engage in such a creative and productive experience. AACT offers programming to a total of four Milwaukee-based schools. Students from three Milwaukee Public Schools come to the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center: Oliver Wendell Holmes, Carver Academy, and LaFollette School. In addition, staff will travel to Lloyd Barbee Montessori and provide a Be Art Smart! Program to students there in 2014.

Arts @ Large

Arts @ Large is a nonprofit organization that connects arts to academics through meaningful arts experiences for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS) students.  Arts @ Large was created in 2001 as an MPS district program with funds from the US Department of Education. To maximize resources for MPS students, Arts @ Large became a nonprofit in 2005, engaging the funding community as partners in arts education for K-12 students.


Outreach programming at schools in Milwaukee and its surrounding communities, programming for underserved older adults, and accessible performance opportunities are some of the ways we strive to enhance the joy, health, and creativity of our community.

First Stage

Designed to “open doors for Milwaukee youth to learn life skills through stage skills,” the program includes all First Stage programming that serves at-risk and underserved city of Milwaukee young people. The Community Partnership Program uses the power of theater arts to nurture the positive personal development and academic advancement of City of Milwaukee children.

The Community Partnership Program reaches more than 6,800 children and their families annually. The program budget has grown from $400,667 in 2004-2005 to $911,722 in 2011-2012. Approximately 90% of the Community Partnership Program is funded by generous contributions, indicating the widespread community support for this critically important and highly valued education initiative.

First Stage programs available through the support of the Community Partnership Program include the following:

  • Family Partnership Program: Provides scholarships and individualized support to students who would not otherwise be able to attend the Theater Academy. In addition to tuition assistance, First Stage provides lunch and snacks, safe and reliable transportation, and other aid as needed for the students to achieve success.
  • Connections: An arts-integrated Theater in Education program providing curricular and theatrical experiences to City of Milwaukee classrooms, with the goal of supporting students and teachers in City of Milwaukee schools who have minimal access to arts education.
  • Literacy Residency programs: These programs help develop critical English literacy skills and improve state standardized text scores in low-income City of Milwaukee schools.

Florentine Opera Company

The Florentine Opera Company offers in-school programs for kindergarten through 12th grade students. Learn more about:

Milwaukee Ballet

The Relevé Program

Relevé  (reh-luh-VAY: “to rise” or “raised”) is Milwaukee Ballet’s inner-city dance program. This program provides high-quality ballet for more than 200 students at threeMilwaukee Public Schools. Students in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades began a three-year ballet training program with a weekly class in the Milwaukee Ballet studios downtown.

The young dancers observe Milwaukee Ballet Company dancers in class and rehearsal, giving them the chance to see what a professional dancer’s day is like while they take class in a real studio. Community Outreach Coordinator Lori Flanigan, who herself trained at Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy and is a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts, is the main instructor for this program. Victoria Zures, a recent graduate of the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program, also teaches for the program.

All students are given their own pair of ballet shoes to keep, and students in 4th and 5th grades are loaned proper ballet clothes to wear. The program includes additional enrichment activities such as free tickets to "The Nutcracker" and "Mirror Mirror," an in-school Ballet-in-a-Box performance, and an end-of-year recital at their schools featuring dancers from the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program. Dedicated, focused, and talented students are awarded a scholarship to the Relevé Summer Program, to Milwaukee Ballet School's summer maintenance program, and upon graduation from 5th grade, students have the opportunity to receive a full scholarship to Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy.

Milwaukee Children’s Choir

Milwaukee Children's Choir offers a variety of programs for children ages 4 through 18. Classes and rehearsals are child-centered, educational, and age appropriate. MCC educates the whole child and works to teach beyond music by incorporating important life skills such as poise, self-confidence, focus, problem solving, and teamwork into its curriculum. Experts say that singing in a choir has a remarkably positive impact on children. Choir parents agree with the experts, and our choristers simply say how much fun it is to be a part of the choir!

MCC has rehearsal sites throughout the Milwaukee metropolitan area. Choristers sing in five divisions: Songbirds (non-performance class for K4 and K5); Prelude Choir (beginning choir grades 1-2); Boychoir and Girlchoir (training choirs of intermediate choristers grades 3-4); Resident Choir (secondary training choir grades 5-8); Concert Choir (advanced treble choir grades 6-9); and Milwaukee Youth Chorale (experienced mixed ensemble grades 9-12). Singers in grades K4-K5 need not audition. Auditions allow singers (grades 1-12) and directors to get to know each other and are used to place singers in the appropriate ensemble.

Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra

Arts in Community Education (ACE) Program

  • ACE integrates music and arts into daily core subjects, giving students a comprehensive learning experience
  • Nationally recognized as a model in arts education
  • ACE is celebrating its 28th year during the 2017-18 school year
  • 22 public and private schools, comprising nine districts
  • 7,600+ students and 500 faculty and staff
  • 26 cultural partners – local arts organizations, including Milwaukee Ballet, Skylight Music Theatre, and American Indian Center
  • Primarily grades K-5, also a middle school component
  • Half of participating students are minorities and half come from low-income families
  • 10 ACE schools are in the Milwaukee Public Schools district

MSO Concerts for Schools

Experience the wonder of live orchestral music with your students at these daytime concerts designed to fit state educational standards.

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center

The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, a contemporary, cutting-edge performing arts education and rehearsal facility for the young people of southeastern Wisconsin, houses performing arts training and education programs from a variety of Milwaukee’s finest performing arts organizations. At the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, young people participate in programming in a fun, creative, multicultural environment in a setting that offers well-designed, educationally appropriate rehearsal halls, classrooms, and other training spaces as well as a theater resource center, music library, costume shop, and administrative offices.

The Milwaukee Youth Arts Center is home to programs of First Stage children’s theater, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Children’s Choir, Festival City Symphony, African American Children’s Theatre, and Danceworks. In addition, a number of additional arts and youth-serving organizations hold programs and events at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.

Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra

Celebrating 61 years of excellence, Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra (MYSO) has been instrumental in changing the lives of young people since 1956 when it began as a single orchestra of 30 musicians. Since its early beginnings, it has grown to become, by several measures, the largest and most extensive youth orchestra program in the country. Serving 1,000 talented young musicians from as many as 215 schools, 60 communities, and 14 counties in southeastern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, this award-winning program offers the highest level of training in ensemble musicianship to motivated young people from diverse backgrounds.

Skylight Music Theatre

Skylight Music Theatre is taking an active role in bringing arts education into the schools. It has an especially strong relationship with itsMPS Partner Schools, providing programming that includes touring shows, workshops and residencies to more than 25 MPS schools.

The Skylight works with teachers at eight MPS Partner Schools to bring multiple programs for different age groups throughout the school year. Partner schools are chosen by Skylight Education Department staff based on need, level of commitment and effectiveness of previous programming.

Skylight Partner Schools

  • 95th Street Elementary School
  • Bay View Middle and High School
  • Hawley Environmental School
  • Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Manitoba School
  • Milwaukee High School of the Arts
  • Morgandale Elementary School
  • Vieau School

Wisconsin Conservatory of Music

Conservatory Connections delivers music programs, curriculum, and classroom support to many schools and community-based service organizations throughout greater Milwaukee. The faculty travel to classrooms with workshops, clinics, and full academic-year music programming. The full-service approach pledges success, administrative support, and instrument loan programs for a learning experience that helps teachers, administrators, or music program directors.

Conservatory Connections offers programming in the following areas:

  • Early childhood
  • Comprehensive school music programs
  • Beginning band and orchestra
  • Band, orchestra, and choir supplemental support for established programs
  • Choral ensembles
  • Artist residencies in strings, winds, percussion, Latin music, chamber, and jazz ensembles
  • Drum troupe instruction: drumline and world drumming
  • Group guitar instruction
  • Classroom concerts and educational performances


Anthony Soyak, Music Curriculum Specialist
Phone: 414-475-8175

Sarah Zawadiwsky, Instrument Specialist
Phone: 414-475-8177

Theresa Harmon, Secretary
Phone: 414-773-9887
Fax: 414-475-8277

© Milwaukee Public Schools 2018
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