Youth StARTS

[ Youth StARTS ]

The artist in residence program is a collaborative effort involving the Ross Ragland Theater, traveling artists, teachers and both school districts in the Basin. The goal of The Youth STARTS Program is to integrate performing arts into the traditional classroom setting. Application of artistic concepts engages students more physically and personally in the learning environment, enriching and improving overall academic performance. Artists instruct in three eight week blocks throughout the schoolyear, grades K-5. Rotating artists and subjects through the schools means that each elementary-aged student in Klamath County Schools will receive at least one session each of drama, movement and music each school year. This collaboration program, which started as a pilot with just four rural schools has proved to be a cost effective, public-private partnership; so much so that it has become a state-wide model!

Benefits of Arts Integration

Children thrive on the study of the arts. The arts open doors to creativity. They nourish critical thinking and innovation. Integrating the arts with other disciplines (core content areas) through instruction and assessment supports the development of these skills and processes.  Arts integration uses teaching practices that have been shown in brain-based research to improve comprehension and long-term retention.  Youth StARTS and Arts integration:

  • Instill greater self-confidence and life-long learning skills
  • Increase socialization among peers
  • Improve overall academic achievement
  • Positively correlate to attendance
  • Increase classroom engagement
  • Give children a more thorough understanding of their bodies and emotions
  • Help students to imbed and retain information they learn in all subjects, including those not traditionally associated with the Arts such as math and science.
  • Allow kids to integrate new information into their own cultural, social, emotional and intellectual needs, increasing their understanding and ownership of new subjects and skills


Brittany Williams headshot

Brittany Williams/ Drama

This is Brittany Williams’ first year working with Youth Starts and she is very excited to enrich student’s lives. She has been acting in theater for over two decades and holds degrees in Theater and English from Humboldt State University where she appeared in mainstage and black box productions with NCRT and Redwood Curtain. After moving to LA shortly after graduating, she discovered her love for voice acting and turned it into her career. She has been in over 35 stage productions, lent her voice to 28 audiobooks, dozens of YouTube videos, 8 video games, and 5 films. Before moving to Klamath Falls, she performed with Riverfront Playhouse and Axiom Repertory Theater. She is incredibly excited to get to share theater with children throughout the Basin!

Willow Mackey headshot

Willow Mackey/ Music

I have over 7 years of percussion experience and with my new role in youth stARTS I plan on sharing the love of music and percussion performance with as many young students in the area as I can. I’ve played roles in symphonics and marching bands, and have knowledge on how to play over a dozen instruments, and though I may not have many instruments to share, I still plan on teaching students how to read notes, rhythms and identify parts of music structure. Hopefully through sharing my knowledge, I can inspire children of all ages to pursue the art of music.

Carrie Wilcox headshot

Carrie Wilcox / Visual Art

Since childhood I have loved creating art. I graduated from the U of O in visual communication. I have worked as a K-8 classroom teacher and substitute. It seems that no matter what I do or where I am I always return to the need of painting and creating. I find inspiration in colors through travel and nature. After living in various places in Oregon and Alaska I returned to the Klamath basin where I grew up. It is now I am excited to be able to share my love of the arts with others.


Sarah Pearlstein / Music

I grew up in Klamath Falls. I have always loved music. I took piano lessons at Sacred Heart Academy. I played trumpet in the school band for four years. During middle school, I taught myself how to play acoustic guitar, using guitar chord books. I accompanied my high school choir on piano. I volunteered to teach music in my children’s elementary classes when music was taken out of the Klamath County schools in the 1990’s. When I taught in public and private schools, I always incorporated music.  I have taught piano and guitar lessons to a few students, including my granddaughter. My husband and I have been on worship teams in three local churches. I have worked for Ross Ragland Youth StARTS for the past four years. I love this program, and enjoy passing my appreciation of music on to the next generation.

Alex Burris/ Dance

Alex has taken dance since she was a young child.  She is in her second year at KCC. Alex has been a part of the Ragland since she was 6 because her dance shows were held at the theater, until a few years ago. She is currently the Ragland’s unofficial stage manager, and she is loving it. She has recently been getting more and more involved with the education programs such as After School Classes, the Summer Camp programs and now Youth StARTS.  She is loving it!


TBA / Dance

Coming soon!


TBA / Drama

Coming soon!