The cARTwheels program provides high quality stage performances and residency experiences to students across the state. cARTwheels engagements typically include:  

  • A teacher workshop (two to three hours): to help teachers create entry ways for their students to the performance.
  • Live performances: two 50-minute, high quality, age-appropriate performances that engage students’ imaginations. These performances will be presented at local performance venues.
  • Residency activities in schools and in community.
  • Study guides to introduce students to the performance. Guides include activities and resources that make curricular connections and facilitate extensions in the classroom.

Roster for the 2015 – 2016 School Year


A Tour of Jazz, performed by the John Brown Big Band
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $9,000
Technical Rider: PDF
Contact: or 919-616-9500
Recommended for grades 3 through 12

This rousing Big Band performance features music that shows the big reach of jazz music and takes students on a "tour" of jazz. During this interactive concert, the band first performs selections to introduce students to the different sounds instruments and styles within the genre of jazz music. Students will get a taste of swing, latin jazz, bebop, and traditional jazz, and they will hear how jazz musicians transform tunes to turn them into jazz pieces. They will groove along the whole time, and they even get to sing along and dance! The high-energy performance will highlight the music of at least one of the legendary North Carolina native jazz musicians (i.e. John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Nina Simone, Max Roach, etc.) and will help students realize how they are all a part of the price of Carolina when it comes to jazz!  

This performance also highlights music from artists like Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Chick Corea, and Duke Ellington's music inspired by Shakespeare and his adaptations of the Nutcracker Suite. Brand new versions of some classic standards and the band's own arrangements of some of today's popular and contemporary music will help bridge the musical gap, while showing similarities through the generations. This concert experience will be one the students will remember! The John Brown Big Band packs a punch that will show the power of a jazz ensemble and will be a finger-snapping, toe-tapping good time for everyone!

Bailes de Ida y Vuelta (Dances of Comings and Goings), performed by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $9,000 
Technical Rider: PDF
Contact: or 919-479-9940
Recommended for grades 4 through 12

Bailes de Ida y Vuelta shows the lightheartedness of Latino inspired flamenco dances reflecting centuries of cultural exchange between Spain and Latin America. Although flamenco is known for its zapateado (footwork), the dance was introduced by the people of Mexico and taken back to Spain where the Spanish claimed it their own. In this show, the Mexican dance La Bamba, performed with fans, illustrates the blending of Spanish, indigenous, and African cultures. The Colombianas highlight the cumbia’s flowing colorful skirts and swaying turns of the body. The Milonga / Vidalita shows the strong pride of the Argentinian Tango, and the Guajiras transport you to warm days in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Performance-Based Community Residencies

Animalia, performed by Hobey Ford
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $6,500
Technical Rider: PDF
Contact: Susan Lounsbury - or 518-647-5916
Recommended for grades Pre-K through 6th
Website 1  /  Website 2

Hobey Ford’s Animalia explores the magical world of animals. This performance features Hobey’s original “foamies” puppets carved from large blocks of foam with intricate mechanical design that gives each puppet realistic movements. Hobey breaks out of the traditional puppet theater booth turning the whole theater into his performance stage. “Animalia” introduces students to the metamorphosis of a butterfly and a tadpole, various ecological systems and endangered animals. Includes a three-hour teacher workshop two matinee student performances and four days of student workshops for students in grades 3rd through 6th.

Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart, performed by Mike Wiley
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $7,000
Techincal Rider: PDF
Stephen Barefoot - or 919-489-1541
Recommended for grades 3rd through 12th

Experience a powerful lesson of courage through the dedication and leadership of African-American athletes who pushed the color barrier to its breaking point. Meet role models from the outfield, the backcourt, the track, the ring and the blacktop. Feel the mud rising from the blood, sweat and tears of a bygone era of separate, unequal locker rooms and whites-only hotels and restaurants with only a back door through which colored athletes could enter. This play intrigues, educates and sets one’s thirst for success on fire. Includes a three-hour teacher workshop, two matinee student performances and four days of student workshops for students in grades 3rd through 12th. 

Community Residencies

Beat-Making Lab, with Pierce Freelon
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $15,000
Technical Rider: PDF
Recommended for grades 9-12
Contact: or 919-697-7728

Music is a tool to build dialogue, amplify voice and strengthen solidarity. As hip-hop and electronic music have developed into global culture, there is a growing need for resources, education and software to help youth express themselves in these genres. Beat Making Lab does just that: teach song writing and beat making to youth around the world. Collaborating with communities using mobile studios (laptops, microphones, midi-controllers and music production software) the group (a minimum of 3 artists) conducts a 30-hour, in-depth residency with 10-12 youth and up to 20 hours of workshops with up to another 20 youth in the community.

Beat Making Lab does not require students to read standard music notation or play a traditional instrument. Participants learn the techniques of beat making through composition, sampling, and songwriting on the most powerful instrument of the 21st century: a laptop. The results are computer-based electronic dance music and hip-hop beats, which will be unveiled during a community wide beat battle and hip hop performance. To ensure continuity, students will be connected to a global network of beat makers, including producers from as far as Suva, Fiji, to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. After the residency, the beat making work can continue as long as there are passionate students interested in learning. 

Dance that Moves, with Michelle Pearson
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $12,500
Technical Rider: PDF
Contact: or 919-345-1202
Recommended for grades K-12

Dance that MOVES! connects students to people of all ages, abilities, and life experiences in their community. Together, they create dances that elicit and nurture multiple dimensions of health and wellness, gain dance and choreography skills, and develop deep community connections.

This residency is tailored to the unique needs of communities and participants it will serve. Ideas for residencies include connecting students with: students and families with special needs; employees at a local company interested in nurturing innovation and creativity; military personnel and their spouses to explore the challenges of current deployment; elders, to merge memories from the past with passions of today; caregivers and health care professionals to nurture their wellness; and teachers seeking to include the arts in lesson plans for authentic learning experiences.

During the 10 days, a minimum of two artists will conduct up to four workshops a day for a total of 40-60 residency hours.  Days do not have to be consecutive and might comprise a combination of school day, after school, and evening community event programming.  The residency will conclude with a live performance that includes 6-8 Black Box dancers. Resources, materials, lesson plans, and virtual collaborations will be shared online through a network of teachers, health care providers, and artists.  

View from Above, with Belle Boggs and Ken Abbott
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $15,000
Contact: or 828-301-1657
Recommended for grades 4-12
Ken Abbott Website  /  Belle Boggs Website

This 30-40 hour collaborative residency between writer Belle Boggs and photographer Ken Abbott focuses on photography, writing and documentary creation. Over two weeks, the artists work with students using aerial, landscape, and portrait photography, along with interviews of local residents, to gather information about the students’ community. In the process, students gain experience with photography, cartography, digital audio recording and interviewing skills while assembling and collecting data. Through interactions with the artists, community members, and fellow students, they also learn to communicate with a larger audience about the processes, genres, and objectives of their artistic work.

After learning about the history of photography and ethnography and the documentary processes of the visiting artists, students will work in teams to assemble a low-elevation aerial photography system using a tethered weather balloon to lift a small digital camera. Using this system, they will make a photomap mosaic and oblique aerial views of selected locations in their community, chosen by the students after discussing relevant geographical issues. From these images, students will determine areas within these locations to focus further investigation using photography and interviews. The work will be documented on a student-maintained website/blog and introduced to the school community through an interactive celebration facilitated by the visiting artists and their students. This event will include opportunities for younger students and their families to learn and practice low elevation aerial photography and to collect interviews in a Storycorps-like recording booth. 

Allowable Expenses
Grant funds can only be used for cARTwheels artist fees as noted.  These fees include all artist expenses (artistic fees, travel, lodging, meals and supply costs). Each host site team will enter contracts directly with companies. To fulfill the matching requirement, applicants will cover: 1) all venue expenses, including items on the technical rider and 2) student transportation. Please indicate these costs in your project budget. The total grant request cannot exceed the cARTwheels artist fee listed. 

How We Make Funding Decisions

Host site teams will be selected based on the following criteria. Additionally, priority will be given to applicants in Tier 1 counties.  

  • A record of strong partnership between a venue and the schools.
  • School and/or district commitment to professional development for teachers.
  • Commitment of the host site team to participate in all aspects of the program.
  • Financial commitment for program costs not covered by the Arts Council grant, including venue costs and student transportation to performances.
  • Ability to take on local responsibility for the program.
  • Efficiency of routing and tour scheduling.  

How to Apply

Applications will be available in early 2016 for the 2016-2017 application cycle. Applicants will submit the form electronically through North Carolina Arts Grants Online (AGO).  Applicants will be asked to provide the following information on the application form.  Information must address the funding criteria. 

  1. Identify the host team (school representatives, a venue partner and/or a sponsor such as a local arts council). Include the names of organizations and the primary staff that will organize the cARTwheels program in your community.
  2. Describe the working history between the various host team members, including the planning process to ensure that the team will host a successful cARTwheels program in 2015–2016.
  3. Explain how cARTwheels fits into the overall plan for professional development for school personnel in the coming year.
  4. Indicate your preference between the artistic companies and why you have made that choice. Please be aware that the Arts Council will make every effort to honor your choice; however, we award grants based on many factors, including efficiency and scheduling. Indicating a preference does not guarantee award of that specific company. 

Support Materials

Upload signed letters of intent from all partner organizations in the host team. Letters of intent must include: 1) the names of the schools participating in the program and their commitment to participate in all program components; 2) an estimated number of students who will participate in the program; and 3) partners’ commitments to cover the additional expenses associated with the program activities, such as venue costs and student transportation to a performance.

Staff Contact

Sharon Hill
Arts-in-Education Director
(919) 807-6502