More Youth Opportunities Coming Soon to the Wagon Wheel

Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts released their educational programs under a new name, Wagon Wheel Conservatory, in October 2021 with great success. Now, the Wagon Wheel is ready to expand the program to serve more students and provide more diverse program offerings.

“New doors are opening for the Conservatory program,” said Kira Lace Hawkins, Education Director of Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts. The Conservatory currently offers acting classes and voice lessons but the Wagon Wheel plans to expand the program over the next three years to include musical theatre dance classes and more acting classes. With funding, the Wagon Wheel will be able to hire another full time educator. With more teaching staff, the Wagon Wheel will be able to double the educational program offerings and increase enrollment opportunities for students. “Our goal is to hire an educator with professional experience in musical theatre dance, choreography, or acting.” said Hawkins.

On June 2nd, the Dekko Foundation offered a pledge of $90,000 in support of the Wagon Wheel Conservatory program. Funding through this grant will be given in installments over the next three years based on meeting goals agreed upon in the grant.

“The Conservatory is rapidly growing and we are excited to have the Dekko Foundation invest in its growth! This program was birthed out of a need and desire of our community and we are honored to partner with foundations, individuals, and our community to make this work possible,” said Lakesha Green, Executive Director.

Dekko Foundation, Inc. (Foundation) was incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1981, under the laws of the state of Indiana. The mission of the Foundation is to foster economic freedom through education in the areas where its founder, Mr. Chester E. Dekko, had an interest. For that reason, the Foundation focuses its grant making in portions of Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Iowa and Minnesota. Primary sources of revenue for the Foundation are estate contributions and investment income. Mr. Dekko’s intent for his foundation was to give young people the opportunity for high-quality experiences that would lay the groundwork for the development of financial independence. To carry out that mission, the Dekko Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit organizations that promote developmentally appropriate experiences. The Foundation also invests in the capacity of youth and community development organizations to sustain and elevate their work.

Through the Wagon Wheel Conservatory program, the Wagon Wheel invests in youth development through creative arts programming, taught by skilled professionals dedicated to investing in students’ lives and development. Wagon Wheel Conservatory provides the highest quality training in Acting, Voice, and Movement from instructors who are active participants in professional theater in a safe and affirming environment, preparing students of all ages for a lifetime of theater engagement.

Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts was founded in 1956 as a summer stock professional theatre. After becoming a non-profit in 2010, the Wagon Wheel expanded programming to further strengthen Kosciusko County and the region’s accessibility to professional and educational arts programming. Wagon Wheel’s mission is to provide Performing Arts experiences that create community unity, educational opportunity, and economic growth. Donations made to Wagon Wheel Center for the Arts are tax-deductible and individuals, businesses, and foundations interested in investing in the future of the Wagon Wheel or its programs, including the Conservatory, are encouraged to reach out to Lakesha Green, Executive Director, or Elisa Wise, Development Director. More information, including upcoming events, classes, and workshops, can be found at