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Arts Education
Our Education mission is to encourage innovation and quality by nurturing empathy, respect, and responsibility in an environment for growth.

classicsMTVarts Classics Series honors our cultural and literature heritage with an educational outreach to secondary students. Our productions present (as the author intended) authentic, uncensored works by iconic American playwrights.

Working with the Knox County Education Service Center, secondary students are invited to attend a free performance of works they have read in class.  A cast/crew talk-back session is offered after the performance.

The 21st century student experiencing live theatre in an educational environment has greater tolerance and improved ability to read the emotions of others, has increased understanding of plot and vocabulary, and gains an appreciation for the arts. Measured in the lives engaged, the thoughts provoked, and the experience of seeing literature studied come to life on the stage, this is our most successful endeavor.

The next Classics Series Show will be Thornton Wilder's OUR TOWN.








Shrek JR Pinocchio
artsIQ is a unique program of arts education. Participating in the arts provides young people with a chance to explore their creativity and imagination in a structured and
safe  environment. Musical theatre is specifically remarkable because it is the only art form that combines all areas of the fine arts: acting, singing, dancing, music, and visual arts.

Established programming feature an intensive weeklong summer workshop teaching the fundamentals of theatre and introducing the youth production. Participants will then audition for a role in the show. Once cast the students go into a six week rehearsal period for a full-scale musical on the stage of the Memorial Theater.

Public performances will be offered as well as free performances as part of Knox ESC Youth Enrichment Series.

New programming features a spring show which will once again be part of YES and 4 public performances. The mini-workshop was directors' invitation and offered to artsIQ alum ages 11 and older. 

artsIQ Tech Track was developed around a kinetic curriculum experiencing the behind-the scenes aspects of production.  Field specific experts teach at the beginner level and the workshop culminates with production team positions for each workshop participant. Although not offered in 2021 or 2022, plans call for Tech Track to be available in 2023.

Registration for summer workshop 2023 (July 24-28) will be open in February.

Read more: 2023 (March 10,11,12)  Seussical JR.

Read more: 2023 (September 15,16,17) Matilda JR

Family Matters Parent Guide (English, PDF) | Guía para padres de Family Matters (Spanish, PDF)

Education Handbook (PDF)

Fill out the Summer artsIQ Workshop survey

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Mary Harris updated 781 Mary Harris graduated from The Ohio State University where she earned a B.A. in Arts Management. Mary began her journey in theatre with MTVarts when she auditioned for and was cast in the summer musical in 2008. She eventually discovered a love for not only being on stage, but working behind the scenes as a stage manager, production manager, costumer, or educator. In college, Mary was the assistant stage manager for a production of The Seagull and the stage manager for a production of Grease. Most recently, she stage managed a production of "The Graveyard Shift" with MadLab in Columbus, helped with sewing costumes for "Oliver!" as well as production managing and co-costuming "Shrek JR" with MTVarts, and costuming "A Christmas Carol" for Community Family Players. When she is not managing the arts, Mary enjoys crafting, climbing, and hanging out with her friends.

Christopher earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Musical Theatre from Ohio Northern University. His training includes Chekhov technique, voice and dance. While pursuing his degree he put up 20 shows ranging from one act plays to cabarets, musicals and dance shows.

After graduating from ONU, Christopher performed professionally at Round Barn Theater in Nappanee, Indiana, The Renaissance Theater in Mansfield, Ohio, and MTVarts.

Christopher continues to pursue his education with the Great Lakes Michael Chekhov Consortium in order to immerse himself in Chekhov Technique, and to become a Chekhov Technique certified actor/director/teacher.

Bell Megan
Megan is currently attending Lesley University as a candidate for her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy. She has always been involved in the arts in her local and university communities and is excited to be pursuing a degree that recognizes and celebrates the healing nature that the arts provide. She hopes to pursue a career as a Registered Expressive Arts Therapist in a trauma-informed practice with a focus on providing children and adolescents an outlet to express themselves through all artistic modalities in a safe and inclusive environment. Megan hopes to continue to bring awareness of the expressive arts to local communities and engaging with the youth in these communities through art, music, dance, drama, and poetry.

Megan earned her BFA in Studio Art/Pre-Art Therapy from Ohio Northern University. She was heavily involved in her university's bands and choirs, participated in multiple dance showcases and productions, took part in theatrical productions, and created artwork for campus events, faculty research, studio courses, and professional development.

Megan has been active in MTVarts productions with her family for years, performing in and choreographing for many shows. Some of her favorite shows to choreograph include Godspell, Once Upon a Mattress, Bye Bye Birdie, The Addams Family, and The Wizard of Oz. She enjoys working with MTVarts and looks forward to continuing sharing her love of dance and choreography with all involved.

Kurt Mueller

Kurt has been a lighting and sound designer in Columbus for several years and has worked with
many companies in the area. His passion for theatre ignited when he returned to college in 2014
and took a theatre class at Columbus State Community College for a gen ed credit. He received
his bachelor’s degree in Theatre from The Ohio State University in 2018
Some of his most notable shows include Secret Garden (Gallery Players,) Silent Sky (Red
Herring Theater Co,) Into the Woods (Imagine Productions,) Sheridan (MadLab,) The Legend of
Georgia McBride (Red Herring Theater Co,) and A Raisin in the Sun (MTVarts.)
Kurt won Theatre Roundtable awards for light design in 2016 (The Diviners Theater Columbus
State) and 2020 (Newsies Gallery Players.)
When he’s not designing lights and sound Kurt DJs corporate events and weddings with his
company D and M DJ Entertainment.

Serra Barrett 2
Serra Barrett has a Master of Arts in Theater and has been involved with theater productions for over 25 years. She has been on the stage and back stage for many shows, including "The Music Man," "Antigone," "The Wizard of Oz," "The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe," and is currently working on an upcoming project with artsIQ. She is thrilled to be working with the talented folks at MTVarts.

HEADSHOT. BIOChristan Sears has been an elementary educator since 2005 and currently teaches at Danville Elementary School. In 2020, she earned a Master’s degree in Literacy from Walden University to add to her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from The University of Akron. She has also had the honor of being awarded the title of a National Board Educator, based on the National Board Professional Teacher Standards (NBPTS). Christan has taught students in multiple grade levels in both North Carolina and Ohio over the past 17 years. She has been involved with the development and implementation of various educational and behavioral programs that foster student’s learning, behavior, and social growth.
“I have always had a love for musicals and theater. When I was younger, I was involved in musicals and school/church choirs. Performing had a positive impact on me growing up, and now I can see it firsthand with my daughter being involved with MTVarts. As a thespian and educator, I can see the benefits of “the arts” on students. Theater and performing helps create a positive and lasting impact on a child’s confidence, social development, and cognitive performance.” ~Christan Sears~

Caroline graduated from Capital University with a BA in Mathematics in 2004. Since then, she has been teaching and is currently at Fredericktown teaching middle school math. In 2012, she earned her MA in Special Education from MVNU. Caroline also earned her Gifted Licensure from the University of Cincinnati in 2018. While in college, she ran track and now shares her love of the sport by coaching.
Caroline has been acting with MTVARTS since 2016 and helping out with artsIQ since her son decided to give Frozen Kids a try. "I always joke that I am in charge of nothing but can help with anything."

Bruce Jacklin


Bruce Jacklin has directed and acted in more than 150 productions over the last 35 years. This includes professional, summer stock, collegian and community theater productions. He has received awards in acting and directing at both regional and state festivals. Bruce has appeared in national and local television films and commercials. He won Best Supporting Actor at the San Francisco Actor's Film Festival for the film “Nietzsche Ate Here”. He is the recipient of the 2014 Red Cross Education Hero Award. PCG Talent and Docherty Casting Agency represent Bruce. He holds a bachelors and a Master’s degree in art education and curriculum instruction. Bruce is the artistic director for MTVarts and the Alcove Dinner Theater.

Corey Strinka


Corey Strinka has been working as a middle and high school music teacher since 2008.  Currently employed at Highland Local Schools, he directs the vocal music program and teaches piano, guitar, history of rock and roll, and middle school general music classes.  He also serves as an accompanist at Kenyon College and has experience as a worship leader and piano instructor. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from Ohio Wesleyan University.

Corey has served as an accompanist for numerous MTVarts summer productions, including The Music Man, Shrek, Mary Poppins, Beauty and the Beast, and Bye Bye Birdie. Corey is excited to be a part of the music team at MTVarts, and is thankful for all of the people who continually support the arts in our community.  He lives in Mount Vernon with his wife, Juliet, and their three sons.