Arsht Center’s STEAM-focused program soars into its third year

Arsht Center’s STEAM-focused program soars into its third year
Arsht Center’s STEAM-focused program soars into its third year
The cast of Kitty Hawk
(Photo by Justin Namon, ra-haus)

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@arshtcenter) has announced the third season of Kitty Hawk, an Arsht Center Learning Through the Arts initiative that aims to fuel students’ interest in pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, arts or mathematics –- collectively known as STEAM.

The program bridges the STEM gap through the arts with a musical performance, an accompanying curriculum and a series of hands-on workshops for seventh graders in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The Kitty Hawk structure seeks to inspire, motivate and encourage students through the support of South Florida aviation partners.

Kitty Hawk took flight on Oct. 7 with a two-week musical performance produced by the center that brings to life the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s historic first flight at Kitty Hawk, NC in 1903.

The original, Broadway-style production created by the center is a musical adventure with themes of ingenuity and persistence. It is written by playwright Tom Bryant, with music and lyrics by Erik Della Penna and artistic direction by Nathan Allen, founder of The House Theatre of Chicago.

“By integrating the arts into STEM education, the Arsht Center has designed a STEAM initiative that has the power to unleash imagination in young students,” said Johann Zietsman, Arsht Center president and CEO. “Exposure to artistic experiences opens young minds to infinite possibilities and, in the long run, leads to a more inclusive, diverse and creative workforce.”

Prior to the performances, a professional development workshop for M-DCPS middle school teachers equips them with lesson plans to carry enthusiasm from the show back into their classrooms for continued learning. In spring 2020, following the musical performance, 100 seventh graders will participate in a series of hands-on STEAM workshops and aviation-themed field trips. Students will learn to build and code drones in the after-school programs at South Miami Middle, Hialeah Gardens Middle and Georgia Jones-Ayers Middle School before culminating with a drone aerial ballet competition at the Arsht Center.

During the 13-week series of workshops, students will be guided by aviation professionals, multi-disciplined artists and STEM educators. Through a partnership with Florida International University, college-age assistants will help man the workshops and serve as mentors.

Kitty Hawk relies on the collective generosity of foundations, individuals and corporations that support the Arsht Center’s vision for strengthening education through the integration of the arts. The program is supported in 2019-20 by Betsy and George Sherman; Mary Spencer; The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation; The Boeing Company; Green Family Foundation; Airbus; World Fuel Services; Peacock Foundation; The Kirk Foundation; Spirit Airlines; Greenspoon Marder; ATR; Wells Fargo; The Ansin Foundation; 630 Aerospace; Alaris; AAR; South Florida Aviation Maintenance Council; Greater Miami Aviation Association; Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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  1. It was my third year bringing my Social Studies class to see “Kitty Hawk” and once again, the cast was FABULOUS! Thank you all for entertaining us as many of my students may not have had the opportunity to attend a live musical and learn the importance of inventions at the same time.


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