Arts / Performing Arts

The Woodlands’ Big Name Concerts Help Create an Arts Education Wonderland — How Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Is All About the Kids

Where the Arts Remain a Priority — and Always Have Been

BY // 03.10.23

The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion outdoor amphitheater is known for bringing some of the biggest names in music to The Woodlands. It consistently ranks first or second among the Top 100 amphitheaters in the world based on the number of tickets sold for good reason in the annual analysis of Pollstar magazine, the concert industry’s leading trade publication. (Cynthia Woods ranked second in America in 2022.)

However, the Pavilion is doing much more for The Woodlands region than just offering topnotch concerts and other performances. Those major concerts (Dave Matthews Band, Janet Jackson and Shania Twain are all coming this season) help fund the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Art Education programs. That means training, events and scholarships for kids.

And this emphasis goes back to the very beginning.

Cynthia Woods Mitchell, wife of The Woodlands’ legendary developer George Mitchell, was an ardent lover of the arts, particularly the performing arts. Mitchell had a true passion for bringing people closer to art and tearing down the walls of unfamiliarity many people often experience with classical music.

Getting kids involved is a great way to do that — and foster a love of the arts for a lifetime.

“Studies show that a student involved in the arts is four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement,” Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion director of marketing and education Cameron Klepac says. “Additionally, low-income students who are highly engaged in the arts are twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.”

“This means that communities with access to the arts have lower crime and poverty rates.”

The Pavilion’s programs strive to meet the needs of local schools and students, ensuring as many young people as possible experience enriching arts education.

“So often arts programs are cut first at schools and The Pavilion is thrilled to bridge the gap and provide the necessary training and outreach events to ensure all have access to the arts,” Klepac tells PaperCity The Woodlands.

Funds for the programs are raised a few different ways. With Cynthia Woods being a nonprofit, revenues raised through the Pavilion’s Live Nation concerts are funneled back into the arts programming and educational outreach. The Pavilion also relies on donors, sponsorships and grant funding to expand its reach.

The Woodlands’ Arts Training Land

The arts training programs also connect rising stars with world-class musicians and performance opportunities, building the next generation of artists through programs such as Chamberfest, Arts on the Go, Holly Jolly Jingle, Arts in Action Awards, professional development grants for arts educators and more.

“More than anything, we want to make sure the arts are accessible to everyone,” Klepac says. “To us, that means putting on awesome shows that people want to come to, giving young artists the opportunity to hone their talents and perform in front of live audiences, introducing new audiences to classical art forms for free and educating the next generation about the arts.”

Young boys attend an art event at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell as part of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Art Education programs.
Young boys attend an art event at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell as part of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Art Education programs.

The Pavilion Partners raise funds annually to provide area students with arts scholarships. Since its inception, more than $1.8 million has been awarded through The Pavilion Partners Fine Arts Scholarship program. To many of the students these scholarships allow them to get a degree in a fine arts discipline. Without the scholarship that path wouldn’t be available to them.

“All of our programs have a common goal of making the arts accessible to all,” Klepac notes. “Whether that is a family attending their first Symphony performance together or a junior high trumpet player being recognized for outstanding achievement in their craft, the arts are an integral part of what we do and what we provide for the community.”

Arts Education In The Woodlands

The Pavilion also puts on several different kid-specific art events giving kids the chance to experience shows tailored just for them, free of charge. Events include Musical Scores, Fine Arts Education Days, School Days, Hats Off to Reading, Mini Maestros and Scout Day.

It’s all about removing barriers to the arts and making them more accessible for all. Especially kids.

When Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion hosts fine arts education days, it has brought in almost 10,000 students from Conroe and Spring ISD in just one day. And this programming continues throughout the year.

“Almost all of these events are completely free to utilize,” Klepac says. “For field trips, The Pavilion also reimburses Title I schools for their transportation to get to the venue. We do not want there to be any obstacle, especially financial to prevent schools from attending our outreach events.”

Cynthia Woods Mitchell believed arts could lift an entire community, a philosophy she brought to The Woodlands from the moment the community started to come to life. That tradition — and commitment to the arts — continues today. If anything, it’s even stronger.

In a world where arts funding is routinely being cut, The Woodlands is one place that stands apart.

“Simply put, these programs provide access at little to no cost for students and the community,” Klepac says. “We believe the arts are a consistent light into the best part of the human experience and utilize this as a way to champion what we do at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.”

Sometimes a concert is more than just a concert. Sometimes it’s helping strengthen the foundation of an entire community too.

PaperCity The Woodlands is coming soon, bringing an elevated look at one of the most dynamic communities in all of Texas. This will be a hub that makes you feel like an insider without having to do the hard work to gain access. You’ll be the friend that knows the best place to grab great Thai food, the perfect spot to get a pedicure and where to grab dessert after a wonderful concert at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

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