The atmosphere was festive inside Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts’ Denney Theatre on Feb. 4, 2019. Amid cheers, Dr. R. Scott Allen, the school’s principal, formally opened the new $88 million facility with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
“Today is a very special day for our students, faculty, and alumni as we celebrate the opening of our long-awaited Kinder HSPVA,” said Allen. “We couldn’t be more thankful for this high-caliber arts facility that will continue to support our school’s longstanding tradition of excellence.”
The ceremony featured performances and presentations by students from the school’s Theatre, Creative Writing, Instrumental and Vocal Music Departments. In attendance were hundreds of supporters, including Houston Independent School District Interim Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan and members of the HISD Board of Trustees, the HSPVA Friends Board of Directors, project partners Gensler and McCarthy, and Nancy and Rich Kinder of the Kinder Foundation, as well as the students and faculty who now call the building home. Check out photos from the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Decades in the making, Kinder HSPVA’s groundbreaking was in December 2014. The school officially opened its doors on Jan. 7, 2019. The 168,000 sq. ft. campus was one of 40 HISD schools being renovated or rebuilt as part of the district’s 2012 Bond Program. Kinder HSPVA was specially designed to include all of the features needed by students to excel in their crafts, including soundproof music rooms, an orchestra pit lift, and sprung dance floors.
Efforts to build the school were aided by a $10 million capital campaign to bridge the gap between bond funding and the school’s specific needs. The Kinder Foundation, a long-time supporter, stepped in with a lead gift of $7.5 million. In addition to raising funds to complete the school, the campaign will allow for the creation of a repair and replacement fund to maintain the building, equipment, and technology for generations of students to come. It’s not too late to contribute to the campaign and see your name on one of sculptor Patrick Renner’s (Visual ’00) stunning installations.
“Looking around, it’s easy to see how this beautiful, state-of-the-art building will impact our student artists,” HISD Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan told those assembled in the 800-seat Denney Theatre, named in honor of Ruth Denney, the school’s founder. “This is a special day for our students, for our district, and for our city.”
The following week, on Feb. 11, 2019, HSPVA Friends hosted the 13th Annual Encore Luncheon, The Downtown Debut, in the Kinder HSPVA campus. Luncheon Chairs Kimberly Hickson and David Spaw, Community Honoree Bob Eury, and more than 400 guests celebrated the new campus with an unforgettable housewarming party. Check out photos from the luncheon, and coverage in PaperCity and CultureMap.
Designed not only to celebrate the contributions of Kinder HSPVA supporters, the luncheon also showcased the work of the school’s talented students. Guests were greeted at the front door by the rousing Mariachi Los Pasajeros ensemble. A string quartet guided guests up the grand staircase to the second floor, where the Black Box, Studio Theatre, Recital Hall, and Art Galleries were alive with student installations, classical piano and vocal performances, and jazz combos. After a show-stopping musical performance by students in every art area, including a 40-piece big band, guests lunched in the Commons, just like decades of students before them.
HSPVA Friends Board of Directors Chair Bob Boblitt said, “As the parent of two alumni, I know firsthand the profound effect that Kinder HSPVA has on budding artists, as do my fellow board members and many of our generous partners. I appreciate their unwavering commitment to a school that gives students the opportunity to excel at the highest level.”
The event raised more than $250,000 towards art area supplies, state-of-the-art technology, guest artist masterclasses and residencies, and other needs at Kinder HSPVA.
Ribbon Cutting photos by David DeHoyos. Encore Luncheon photos by Katy Anderson.