The Johnny Carson Foundation awarded a $25,000 grant to the Midwest Theater to support and expand the Calibraska Arts Initiative series of classes in art and animation. The grant will be used to purchase equipment, pilot an after-school animation club, accommodate four Los Angeles based animation instructors to teach the summer classes, and provide scholarships for students from low-income households.
In its fifth year of operation, the Calibraska Arts Initiative is a partnership between the Midwest Theater and Calibraska Arts Initiative Director Erica Larsen-Dockray, supported by the West Nebraska Arts Center, Western Nebraska Community College, and Vistabeam Wireless Chief Marketing Officer, Monique Larsen.
Larsen-Dockray, a Los Angeles animation instructor and Scottsbluff/Mitchell native, was connected with the Johnny Carson Foundation by Todd Nelson, Founder & Chairman of the Nebraska Coast Connection, a group of Nebraska and midwest natives working in the LA Entertainment industry. Larsen-Dockray was “over the moon” when she learned of the grant award.
“The Calibraska Arts Initiative has great potential, and this is just the boost we needed to get to the next level. The Johnny Carson Foundation is already supporting so many great opportunities here in my home state so I could not be more grateful to be working with them” she said.
The classes offered this July include introductory animation, two levels of advanced animation for returning Calibraska Arts Initiative students, adults-only “loopy animation” (no artistic talent necessary), and training for educators to learn animation teaching techniques. A reception and red-carpet screening of student work will take place Aug. 1, on National Night Out at the West Nebraska Arts Center and the Midwest Theater.