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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.


MTVarts 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 2023 Classics Series Show presented 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
  • performance based workshop with hands-on learning the process to launch a full-scale musical on the stage of the Memorial Theater. Summer weeklong workshop a prequisite.
  • after school classes at warehouse14 
  • spring performance based workshop
  • summer weeklong morning workshop (Footlights) is designed for ages 7 - 9 and those new to artsIQ.
  • workshop for C.R.E.W.S where participants learn the behind the scene jobs to create a production.

Fall and spring performance-based workshops will perform as part of Knox ESC Youth Enrichment Series.

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, this workshop is offered in 2023 as C.R.E.W.S.


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

Education Handbook (PDF)

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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.

Dingle Diane

Diane Dingler has a degree in music with certification in education from Capital University Conservatory of Music, a Masters Degree in Vocal Pedagogy from The Ohio State University, post graduate work at OSU and Ashland University. She is an adjunct instructor of voice at Kenyon College, teaches voice and piano in her home studio, and is the Director of Music at Saint Paul's Episcopal Church. Diane is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and the American Choral Directors Association. She has been the vocal director for MTV Arts since its inception. 

Ruth Frady head shot

Ruth Frady's passion of the arts goes back to her childhood where she sang, wrote and performed for elementary school and church activities. She developed a love for landscape, still life, and portraiture in her teens and had studied under American professional artist, Robert Warren in her young adult life. Ruth also directed an award winning teen drama ministry through The Church of the Nazarene for ten years, and has enjoyed artistic interests such as calligraphy, clay head sculpture, and jazz singing. Given the opportunity to work with MTVarts, Ruth was given the opportunity to work with makeup and hair, as she had been a Mary Kay beauty consultant and local school hair stylist in the theater program. This evolved in honing her diverse art background into the area of coiffure and wig design. Self taught, Ruth now oversees a four hundred piece inventory of wigs, hairpieces and supplements for a very active theater schedule. She is continually challenged by character interpretations, quick change conflicts, and even gravity constraints in her designs. Inspired by media accessibility to Broadway-caliber creativity and quality tutorials, Ruth's education continues.

Susan Brown

Susan S B Brown has been doing theatre since she was a little girl and although she started college as a Pre-Med major, by the end of her Freshman year she was spending all her spare time at the theatre. She went on to achieve an MA, most of a PhD and an MFA in theatre. She worked at a Non-Equity summer theatre company for two summers and at the New York Renaissance Festival for 3 summers. She taught Costume and Make-up design, directed several plays and taught Intro to Theatre at Ashland University for 15 years. She is currently the curator of the Costume collection at MtVArts in Mt Vernon, Ohio, for which she has designed costumes for Wizard of Oz (twice), Addams Family, the Musical., She has also designed costumes for Mt Vernon Nazarene University, and Fredericktown High School, the Alcove dinner theatre, and some period costumes for members of Historical Reenactment groups.

Christa Brady

Christa has been a piano accompanist for MTVarts since their inception. She accompanies musicians from local high schools and Kenyon College. A graduate of Mount Vernon High School, she has always had a passion for all things musical and is thrilled to share her gift- not only with the community, but with her own children who look forward to being a part of each theater season.

Sample of her work: 

Lalo Cello Concerto Prelude with Caleb Zak

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.

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."

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.