We describe our mission with two primary objectives: to cultivate support for Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and to enhance educational, professional, and artistic opportunities for current and future students. But what do we mean by that?

First, our fundraising activities are detailed each year in publicly-available 990 forms. Our accounting practices are audited annually to make sure we meet the highest standards of accountability.

How the money gets spent varies year to year, but the vast majority of money raised goes into the categories below. These programs are determined by ongoing conversations HSPVA Friends has with the high school’s leadership, faculty, staff, and where appropriate, the students! If you want to keep up with our latest projects, accomplishments, and initiatives, please follow our blog and subscribe to our email newsletter, which you can sign up for on our home page.

Kinder HSPVA Daytime Rendering

Capital Improvements

Since the successful conclusion of the Capital Campaign, the downtown Kinder HSPVA campus has provided new and exciting resources for students. Some of these are considered “capital improvements:” major, long-term purchases that will serve the campus for years to come. These include – but are far from limited to! — special blinds for Visual Arts classrooms, improved seating in the Black Box Theatre, and a full recording studio. Not only does the studio offer students a chance to record their own tracks and audition tapes, and offer a classroom for music and audio production, but its equipment is wired into every music and theatre classroom from the second through fifth floors of the school. Instructors can record and playback student performances during class, and make ensemble recordings for competition and, as of last year, the sample tracks for sheet music.

Of course, in order to make use of the recording studio, Kinder HSPVA needed a sound engineer. Mr. Kris Wood has been teaching students how to use the studio’s equipment since the campus opened in early 2019. Music Department Chair Dr. Brad Smith says, “Mr. Wood [some really great stuff about the opportunities Kris has created simply by being there and trouble-shooting the fussy recording studio.]”

Consulting Artists and Guests

At Kinder HSPVA, “consultants” are teaching artists whose specialized skills diversify programming and elevate the Fine Arts curriculum. During the 2019-2020 school year, HSPVA Friends paid for more than 150 consultants across all six art areas.

Janie Carothers, Dance Department Chair, says, “[TK – quote re: guest choreographers.]” Similarly, Visual Art Chair David Waddell is able to offer ceramics, photography, and screen-printing electives to students through consultants; similarly, consultants allow the Vocal Music Department to offer Yoga, Acting for Singers, and Opera.

“Guest Artists” visit for shorter periods of time, but can also make a huge difference to students. In January of 2020, the Creative Writing Department was able to host poet and writer Dr. Roger Reeves — a former Hodder Fellow of Princeton University who has won a Whiting Award, an NEA Fellowship, and a Pushcart Prize – for a week-long teaching residency. During fall of 2019, the Theatre Department welcomed alumna Samantha Williams (Theatre ’15), who was recently cast in her second Broadway show, as well as actor Kevin Cahoon (TV: Glow, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Nurse Jackie; Broadway: The Lion King, The Wedding Singer).

Scholarships

In 2020, HSPVA Friends was proud to give away more than $16,000.00 in scholarships – and that’s just for college and summer programming! We also work in concert with the faculty at Kinder HSPVA to help all students with the funding they need to afford field trip and professional opportunities as well as Fine Art Program fees.

One of our summer scholarship recipients in 2020 wrote, “As a result of this reward, I’ll be able to be way more experimental in my artwork […]. This not only lifts the weight off of my shoulders but of my parents as well, as only one of my parents is employed which makes it very difficult to demonstrate my passion and potential for art because I always try to consider our financial struggles when planning or making an art piece.”

We are also grateful to generous donors who create endowed funds, which can be used to provide annual scholarships. If you’re interested in creating a named scholarship fund with HSPVA Friends, please contact our Development Manager.

Technology & Equipment

Separate from Capital Improvements are the technologies needed for specific projects, or to supplement existing supplies. The Set Shop might need a new saw, or additional lights for a production. The Costume Shop might need additional sewing supplies – measuring and cutting tools, or replacement parts for sewing machines. These kinds of purchases tend to be investments that aren’t ongoing expenses for planned curriculums or recurring, annual costs.

Stand-out purchases for the 2019-20 school year include a set of yoga mats for the Vocal Music students, whose curriculum newly incorporated movement training, and specialized shelving to store the Band’s extensive sheet music library.

Sometimes, a new program will crop up mid-year, like the Creative Writing Department’s new 2020 fundraiser, the XOXO Studio. Faculty came up with a pop-up Valentine’s event, one that could travel to high-traffic parts of Houston and serve members of the community with student-written poetry. HSPVA Friends was able to provide both equipment to make the program possible – like a portable printer – and volunteers, community contacts, and rented vehicles to safely move students and décor. The Studio was a roaring success, raising more than $15,000.00 for the Creative Writing Department in a single week! As of the end of February 2020, the XOXO Studio has been fully booked for their week-long fundraiser next year.

Annual Supplies

Some programs at Kinder HSPVA, like the All School Musicals, Theatre and Dance seasons, are self-sustaining through ticket sales. HSPVA Friends administers the box office with the help of a faculty member who acts as “Box Office Manager;” this administration is at the request of Kinder HSPVA, and has been formally approved by HISD. The income from the box office goes to the appropriate Kinder HSPVA department to spend at their discretion.

For other art areas, like Visual Art, annual supplies are specific to students. The Fine Art Program fees are not affordable for every family, and HSPVA Friends works to ensure the supplies are paid for in every art area, regardless of a student’s ability to pay. Similarly, Kinder HSPVA faculty can ask HSPVA Friends to make purchases quickly and flexibly, allowing students to provide input on programming. For instance, the Creative Writing Department requested titles for their semester-long Book Club selections. We are happy to purchase these titles, in addition to sheet music for orchestra, and rights to the plays and musicals performed by the theatre students. Supply expenses also include regular maintenance costs, like dry-cleaning for the elaborate Madrigal costumes (the choral ensemble were named State Champions in 2020), subscriptions for online learning tools like Digital Theatre, and so much more.

Field Trips

From Kinder HSPVA’s downtown campus, some field trips are an easy walk to Houston’s thriving Theatre District. But others – especially to festivals in other states, like the International Thespian Festival in Indiana, or TMEA competitions in San Antonio – require more planning and a bigger budget. HSPVA Friends helps coordinate student registrations for these trips, and work with faculty to make sure every student can attend, regardless of their ability to pay. Field trips are always chosen to supplement the curriculum, whether offering students a chance to see professional productions, exhibits, or readings, to compete for honors that bolster their college applications, or to attend clinics and semiars at nationally-recognized events. Some trips are to help ensembles learn team work and leadership skills, like the 2019 Chorale Retreat to Camp Cho-yeh in Livingston, Texas.

Some field trips are specifically to help students achieve their higher education goals, like the Unified Auditions in Chicago. Each year, HSPVA Friends coordinates a trip for Theatre students to audition for college programs in performance or technical tracks, saving them and their families the cost of traveling to each individual institution in order for their student to apply. In 2020, TK theatre students were offered admission to TK college programs, some with scholarships!