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

  • A teacher workshop (required, 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 2018 – 2019 School Year

A Tour of Jazz, performed by the John Brown Little 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 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.

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

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.

Migration, 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 5th

Migration is Hobey Ford’s sequel to “Animalia”. It is the story of Beatriz, a girl who journeys with her family from her home near Mexico City to the US. Hobey Ford turns to the natural world of animals to explore the wonders of migration as they are learned through the eyes of a child making her own migratory journey. Hobey’s animal “foamies” are performed behind a projection of original animated scenes, taking the audience along on the journey of these incredible creatures. Hobey performs in full view as storyteller, puppeteer and animator with a story that addresses environmental and multicultural issues as it integrates the Literary Arts, Storytelling, Theater, Visual Arts, and Science. Includes a teacher workshop “From Larvae to Butterfly: Metamorphosis through Shadow Puppetry”, student workshops and two student matinees.

Sea Song, performed by Hobey Ford
cARTwheels Artist Fees: $6,500
Technical Rider: PDF
Contact: Susan Lounsbury - or 518-647-5916
For audiences sized 250 or under
Video // Study Guide

Sea Song is the story of a boy discovering nature for the first time through a fascination with the life cycle of the sea turtle.  When a city boy comes to spend his summer at the coast he is suddenly cut off from his digital world and turns his attention to the natural world of a remote coastal beach. Hobey tells the story without words, performing his own hand crafted foam puppets in full view of the audience to the enchanting hang drum music of David Kuckhermann. Following in the style of his classic production Animalia, Sea Song will inspire and delight the audience with the story of the animals that live in the environment where the land meets the sea, where sea turtles, herons, gulls and terns all come to life in the hands of master puppeteer Hobey Ford.

World Tales, 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 5th

World Tales is a collection of stories and puppetry techniques from around the world, including an Aesop fable, a Native American story and an African story. The puppetry techniques include Bunraku from Japan, rod puppetry from Indonesia, and Hobey’s own Foamies and Peepers puppets. Through fine storytelling and his masterfully created puppets, Hobey spins a web of tales with three classic bug stories from around the world that take students from Africa to Greece and enter the Cherokee world of folklore. World Tales deals with multicultural contributions to literature (folk tales) and the visual arts and addresses arts integration in Literary Arts, Storytelling, Theater, Visual Arts and Science. Includes a three-hour teacher workshop (Telling Folktales Through Shadow Puppetry), two matinee student performances, and four days of student shadow puppetry workshops.

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. Based on guest artists’ availability, the teacher workshop and the student residency events may also include participation by NC award winning playwright/poet Howard Craft and choreographer Aya Shabu.

cARTwheels Artist Fees: $7,000
Techincal Rider: PDF
Contact: Stephen Barefoot - or 919-489-1541
Recommended for grades 3rd through 12th

A true story of three slaves who overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to gain a life of freedom. Wiley becomes Henry "Box" Brown a black slave who sees no alternative but to mail himself to freedom in a small crate. Brown's life unfolds like a Mark Twain adventure, perilous and somber at times while humorous and heroic throughout. Audience members join Wiley on stage, quickly becoming characters helping propel the historic action. 

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: $7,000 for partial company, $12,500 for full company
Technical Rider: PDF
Contact: or 919-345-1202
This residency is scalable dependent on space
Recommended for grades K-12

Dance that MOVES! connects students to movement as a means for understanding their experiences and the world around them. Black Box Dance Theatre is a Raleigh-based company with expertise in making dance relevant, inspirational and natural for all bodies and persons. Michelle Pearson, 20 year veteran with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, is joined by a diverse troupe (including a hip hop artist, a ballerina, an engineer and an army veteran/wounded warrior) who brings dance to the classroom and stage.

Work directly with the artistic director to design the residency that is just right for your group. Residencies focus on creating community, creating meaning through our bodies, and connecting and deepening understanding in ELA, social studies, science or math through movement. Each residency/performance is tailored to the unique needs of the participants.

During the residency, a minimum of two artists can conduct up to four workshops a day for a total of 40 to 60 residency hours. Days do not have to be consecutive and may comprise a combination of school day, after school and evening community event programming. The residency will conclude with a full-length, full company, live performance of Black Box Dance Theatre and community performers. Resources, materials, lesson plans and virtual collaborations will be shared online through a network of teachers, community members and artists.

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

The 2018-19 deadline is Thursday, March 1, 2018. The application will be available online on January 8, 2018.  Applicants will submit the form electronically through the GO-Smart portal ( 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 2016–2017.
  3. Explain how cARTwheels fits into the overall plan for professional development for school personnel in the coming year. Include information about how you will promote and encourage attendance at the teacher workshop. 
  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.

NOTE: Applicants cannot submit proposals in both AIE grant categories. They must choose either cARTwheels or Artist Residencies

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