Artists like the late Hattie McDaniel and Gordon Parks got their start here in Kansas and an organization in Northeast Wichita may help produce more performers like those greats.

The Northeast Wichita Performing Arts Conservatory or NEWPAC is looking to grow and expand the minds of the youth, and to preserve the dignity of the classical arts; and they are doing it all at an affordable rate.

With summer gearing up, NEWPAC offers a great opportunity to keep youth engaged and productive.

NEWPAC, located inside the Urban Preparatory Academy at 2821 E. 24th St. N., offers lessons in piano, voice, dance, drama, even percussion and strings. Depending on the program, children as young as age three are able to participate. Adults are also welcome. Percussion and piano lessons start at $20 per lesson and are billed monthly in advance. Dance and drama lessons begin at $45 for the month with several weekly rehearsals included.

NEWPAC is open for instruction on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

NEWPAC, which opened last year, is led by one of Wichita’s very own renaissance women, Sharon Ingram. Her career and knowledge spans 54 years, and she is continuing with her purpose of having a positive impact on youth. A team of experienced instructors and performers joins her. Teaching dance is Kimberly Davis, who ran Karar Dance for several years prior to joining the team. Sheila Kinnard, a USD 259 drama instructor and talented actor, teaches drama. Adrienne DeGraftenreed teaches both drama and dance, and William Lynch teaches percussions. With a team of high quality instructors, students will be prepared to compete at the collegiate level.

Ingram is quick to point out the benefits of the arts. Correlation has shown that participating in the arts helps students master other subjects like reading, math and social studies. Participation even garners higher assessment scores in standardized test like the ACT and SAT.

“I don’t even know how you can live without the arts,” said Ingram.

The nonprofit organizations website and Facebook page are full of helpful information, and the administrative staff is friendly and able to assist with all inquiries.

More info here or call 316-619-5436

Contact NEWPAC for more information on how you and the community can support this rich endeavor.

Plans are in motion to showcase student talent very soon.

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