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Theater

Mission Imagination sparks kids’ love of the arts at Raue Center in Crystal Lake, IL

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With more and more schools eliminating classes in the arts, the Raue Center for the Arts, in Crystal Lake, is picking up the slack.

The Raue’s Mission Imagination, a program aimed at bringing the finest arts education programming to school-age kids, both on the stage and in the classroom, is flourishing.  

“Mission Imagination is really the cornerstone of our entire Raue programming base, said the Raue’s Executive Director Richard Kuranda. “Nothing serves the arts institution more than generating interest in the arts and education of the arts at a younger age in the population.”  

Mission Imagination serves almost every school in McHenry County and many from other collar counties. For 13 years it’s brought the performing arts to up to 25,000 children annually, from preschool through high school.  

“For many of them it’s the first time they’ve seen a theatrical event,” Kuranda said. “We also send out artists into the schools for school residencies, and we’re so grateful to an incredible education system in the county. We have not only school members and principals on our board, we also have a really vibrant committee that helps us get the word out.”  

Kate Wilford, the Raue’s general manager, spearheads Mission Imagination.  

“Because of the switch to Common Core (a new state education initiative) we’ve found that more literature-based plays for artist residencies are the way to go because they encompass a lot of the Common Core standards,” Wilford said.  

“We’ve never had a show where the kids didn’t leave really excited about it,” Wilford said. “For some this is their only opportunity to come to the theater.”  

Raue Center | 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake, IL 60014 | 815.356.9212 | rauecenter.org

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