Community Kudos: Fox Associates Charitable Foundation
Each month I’ll be highlighting a local cultural organization that exists to serve the community. –Kim Vrooman
Once a year Fox Associates Charitable Foundation invites St. Louis metro area children to attend a one-of-a kind Broadway level performance at the Fabulous Fox Theatre, the second largest venue of its kind in the nation. This year Kids’ Night on Broadway (KNOB), took place on March 25, with the Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy, direct from Broadway, and described by its website as an “exotic encounter inspired by nature’s unpredictable creations that are brought to life by an international cast of 25 soaring aerialists, spine-bending contortionists, acrobats, jugglers and musicians.”
Kids’ Night on Broadway doesn’t just happen here in St. Louis. KNOB is a national group that is “designed to introduce young people to the magic of live theatre and make Broadway accessible to a new generation of theatergoers.” KNOB happens in theatres across the country and culminates in a Broadway celebration in February in New York.
The Fox Associates Charitable Foundation works through KNOB to promote and design its yearly event. But the KNOB event is not the only community effort put forth by this local NFP. The mission of Fox Associates Charitable Foundation lies in “promoting and enriching the performing arts in the St. Louis region.” But more specifically organizers explain that to date they have provided grants in total of over one million dollars to other arts programs in the community. They also fund the St. Louis High School Theater Critic and Award Program, support master classes with Broadway stars, and host the annual St. Louis Performing Arts Night that highlights local schools’ performing arts programs. On May 7, 2009, the 7th Annual St. Louis Performing Arts Night at the Fox Theatre showcased the talent of over 400 St. Louis area students in a two-hour production featuring symphony orchestra, choirs, jazz ensembles, and soloists. Another accomplishment is the Lion King Literacy Project, an interdisciplinary approach to live theater.
Think about the first time you heard one of your favorite songs, be it jazz, blues, or rock & roll. Think about the first time you saw your favorite painting and how the colors and lines made your young soul jump up and take notice. That is what each child deserves to feel: to recognize emotions and connect with the “other” through art. And these experiences must be encouraged and passed on. Organizations such as Kids’ Night on Broadway and the Fox Associates Charitable Foundation are doing just that.