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Sponsored Programs & Events

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Jackie Ward Virtual Talent Showcase

The Jackie Ward Foundation was proud to present our first ever Virtual Talent Showcase! We believe that our kids in Cherokee, Clay, and surrounding counties have incredible talent and we wanted to celebrate it! The event was open to all students K-12 and was live-streamed on December 10, 2020.   The event feature student-submitted videos of their performances and was hosted by Ryan Bender and Brian Gatti.  We hosted our second Virtual Talent Showcase in January 2022.

The Learning Center Grow Zone Players

The Jackie Ward Foundation has long been a benefactor of The Learning Center’s Drama program. When the school first decided to launch a serious program and perform a musical, JWF was instrumental in moving things forward. Assisting the school by purchasing the rights to scripts, providing funds for lighting, scenery and costumes  was a major boost to the first three years of this fledgling program. The Foundation has continued to support the Learning Center’s drama program by providing volunteers  to work the box office and sell snacks at shows, as well as promote the performances within the wider community.

Author Peter Jenkins Comes to Murphy

The Jackie Ward Foundation joined with the The Learning Center! Charter School to host best­selling author of Walk Across America, Peter Jenkins. Jenkins wrote extensively about Murphy, NC in his book, and the Foundation was instrumental in helping the school to bring him back to tell his story at the Henn Theater. Foundation members helped sell tickets and worked with local cafe The Daily Grind to provide pre­show appetizers and a meet-­and-­greet with Jenkins.

The Learning Center! Monster Mash

For 14 years, The Learning Center hosted a fall, open-to-the community event at the school called Monster Mash. This Halloween carnival and renowned Maze brought Learning Center and other area families out to celebrate the season. The arts

were a crucial part of the event. Featured were pumpkin carving contests, costume contests, music and dancing, and an annual life size maze filled with thematic performers. The Foundation provided crucial support during the events, including

volunteering to run fun booths and emcee the event.

The "Legend Has It" History Walk

In October of 2014, The Jackie Ward Foundation worked with  Cherokee County Paranormal Society to provide the Legend Has It History Tour, a walking tour of downtown Murphy that featured live performers in period dress.

The foundation brought in dramatic arts professional Ryan Bender to direct the History Walk performances and be

its main actor. The Foundation coordinated ticket sales and event promotion and Foundation volunteers were integral parts of the History Walk performance.

The Brasstown Concert Association 

The Brasstown Concert Association has brought some amazing performances to our area, from professional string quartets to brassworks ensembles. The Jackie Ward Foundation has helped secure funding for the BCA to pay performers and promote concerts. The Foundation has helped the BCA establish Music for Young Minds, offering free tickets to BCA shows to area students. The Foundation has also booked some performers to play live on The Learning Center and other area school campuses, so all students can be exposed to the incredible musicians BCA brings in.

Check out the BCA Facebook page to see upcoming shows!

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