Welcome to the Award Winning Kaneland Arts Initiative!

We have a fun announcement for you!


What’s up next?

The 19th Annual Kaneland Community Fine Arts Festival!


Admission is FREE!

Parking is FREE!

Need to order a tee shirt or want to volunteer?  Click HERE for more info!


The Board of Directors & Planning Committee of the Kaneland Arts Initiative cordially invite you to the 9th Annual


Come enjoy musical entertainment,


Saturday, March 3, 2018

Open Range Southwest Grill Restaurant

Bliss Creek Golf Course, 1 Golfview Road, Sugar Grove, Illinois 60554

5:00 pm Cash Bar

6:00 pm Dinner & Program

$10 Tickets (per person)

During the evening, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the Kaneland Arts Initiative, bid on amazing auction items, participate in a cork pull for a bottle of wine, and contribute to this important endeavor.

In addition to the entertainment, we will honor students from throughout the school district whose art is specially chosen by the Kaneland Visual Art Faculty.

Your donation to the Kaneland Arts Initiative is 100% tax deductible.

Seating is limited to the first 150 guests ~ FAMILIES WELCOME!

A special thank you to Chef Greg Slager and the Open Range Southwest Grill Restaurant, for sponsorship of this event, providing the facility and meal in exchange for their Premiere Sponsorship of the KAI!


Also from the Kaneland Arts Initiative, raffle tickets are being sold to win 2 tickets to the Monday, March 26th Blackhawks versus the San Jose Sharks game.  Tickets to the 7:30pm game at the United Center includes a parking pass.  The seats are in section 333, row 2, seats 1 & 2 and can be purchased by contacting Maria at kai@kaneland.org.  The tickets are $5 each or $20 for 5 tickets.  The winning ticket will be drawn on Saturday, March 3rd at the Kaneland Arts Initiative Fine Arts Feast fundraiser at the Open Range Southwest Grill Restaurant.

Blackhawks Poster

On Friday, February 16th, KAI will presented “Comedy Knight” featuring the comedy improv of Green Room Improv. Green Room Improv is a comedy show similar in style to the popular television show, Whose Line Is It Anyway? From their website (www.greenroomimprov.com):
GreenRoom takes audience suggestions and true-life audience stories and turns them into hilarious theatre pieces right before your eyes! Our shows include competing improv teams, improvised songs, audience members onstage, tons of energy and an unforgettable evening.
Also during the evening, selected students’ artwork from Kaneland McDole and Kaneland John Shields Elementary School was displayed in the auditorium lobby.

We congratulate these students, honored during the evening. 

Student Artwork Showcase Posters

Just Like Us Poster

Kaneland Arts Initiative’s 5th Winter Play is Thought-Provoking and Timely

January 19th – 21st marks the dates for the Kaneland Arts Intiative’s 5th Annual winter theatre production in the Kaneland High School Black Box Theatre.  This year, the show, Karen Zacareas’ play Just Like Us, directed by Diane McFarlin is a thought-provoking and timely play that addresses the question: “What makes us American?”   The play was originally a bestselling book by Helen Thorpe who followed four Latina girls in Denver, Colorado from the end of high school through college to adulthood.  Since only two of the young adults are documented immigrants, friendships are tested and lives become more and more complicated as the girls are faced with the realities of the changing political world around them.
Diane McFarlin has assembled a diverse cast made up of talented Kaneland High School students and community members who play multiple characters in this staged reading.  As always, she will moderate a talkback session in which the audience members may participate with the Just Like Us company  after the show.  Just Like Us is approximately 2 hours in length including a 15 minute intermission and appropriate for 5th grade and up.
Just Like Us performance dates and times:
Friday, January 19th at 7pm
Saturday, January 20th at 7pm
Sunday, January 21st at 2pm
To enhance this production, Kaneland art teacher Suzanne Farr will be showcasing the artwork of her students from Kaneland Harter Middle School.  We will recognize these students at the opening night performance on Friday, January 19th.
Tickets are available online (CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS NOW) and at the door on the day of the show.  Online tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens, and $5 for students.  Tickets purchased at the door are an additional $2.  Entrance to the Kaneland High School black box theatre is through Door 32 on the north side of the building, just around the corner from the auditorium entrance.  There is plenty of free parking available.

Cast List in order of appearance

Narrator – Logan Gresser

Helen Thorpe – Laura Lagreid

Marisela – Brianna Silva

Yadira – Alex Herbert

Clara – Lydia Kasap

Elissa – Lyndsay Mach

Fabian – Leo Espinosa

Josefa – Trisha Mills

Yolanda – Maria Dripps-Paulson

Announcer – Logan Gresser

Mrs. Smith – Trisha Mills

Julio – Leo Espinosa

Ana – Maria Dripps-Paulson

Tom Johnson – Zack Eckhardt

Tom Tancredo – Zack Eckhardt

Cynthia Poundstone – Maria Dripps-Paulson

Principal – Logan Gresser

Cezar Mequita – Zack Eckhardt

Lucy – Maria Dripps-Paulson

Ramiro – Leo Espinosa

Carlos – Zack Eckhardt

Zulema – Lyndsay Mach

Alma – Maria Dripps-Paulson

Mike McGarry – Leo Espinosa

Local Business Lady – Lyndsay Mach

Carol Vizzi – Trisha Mills

Lisa Martinez – Trisha Mills

Frederico Pena – Leo Espinosa

Cop – Leo Espinosa

Production Team

Producer – Maria Dripps-Paulson

Director – Diane McFarlin

Stage Manager – Nicole Loske

Backstage Crew – Hannah Cormier, Emily Murphy

House Manager – Katherine Bettinghaus, Val Massa

Lighting Design – Sean Jaster




Lee Murdock’s Annual Hometown Concert returned on Saturday, January 6, 2018 and was a wonderful kick off to the New Year for the Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI).
Lee Murdock is and internationally recognized touring artist, with 21 recordings to date, and he is a long time resident of Kaneville. His speciality is songs of Illinois and the Great Lakes, so it’s fun to invite people to the rural farm community that he calls home, for this annual concert.  Each year, Murdock invites a guest performer to share the evening concert. For 2018, Lee was very pleased to invite Michael Peter Smith of Chicago. One of the most captivating songwriters in the folk arena, celebrated musician Michael Peter Smith has toured the United States and Canada for nearly five decades.  His song, “The Dutchman” was a signature piece for the late Steve Goodman, as well for Liam Clancy, and dozens of others, and is considered a classic.  In the 1980s, Michael composed the music for the Steppenwolf Theatre’s award-winning adaptation of “The Grapes of Wrath.” For nearly five years, Michael performed in that production, moving from Steppenwolf Chicago to off-Broadway New York, London, and La Jolla, California, before returning to his storied career of songwriting and performing. He continues to tread in both folk music and songwriting worlds along with the Chicago Theater scene, working with the puppeteer Blair Thomas, and more.
“Michael Smith stands out as one of the few undisputed geniuses among singer-songwriters.” Sing Out! Magazine
“Hearing the songs of Michael Smith in this day and age is like reading an anthology of Hemingway’s short stories after decades of only comic books. It’s a realization that songs can hold a whole lot more than they’re usually expected to hold, they can possess a genuine sense of place and time as evocative and magical as the  best literature.” Paul Zollo, SongTalk Magazine

Congratulations to the Company of “The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street” on their world premiere performances this weekend at Naper Settlement’s All Hallows Eve event this weekend!!  What an amazing experience working with Lindsay Currie and performing over 60 performances for approximately 4,000 audiences members.

Peculiar Company List Color

Cover Art

The Kaneland Arts Initiative to Partner with a Chicago Author for a Haunting Event
The Kaneland Arts Initiative (KAI) is partnering with Chicago author, Lindsay Currie (https://www.lindsaycurrie.com/) who has written The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street. This middle grade book is about Tessa who moves from Florida to Chicago with her family to discover that her house is haunted.  In order to promote her book which will be available nationwide on October 10th, Lindsay is partnering with the Naper Settlement’s annual Halloween event on October 20th & 21st, “All Hallow’s Eve.”  One of the haunted houses at the event will portray a dramatization of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street.  Ms. Currie and Barnes and Noble will be outside of the house selling (and signing) her book.
Through a connection made with the author and Kaneland 4th grade Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School, Katie Reilley, KAI was asked to produce the dramatization of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street House (now affectionately called “The Peculiar House”) at the All Hallow’s Eve event at Naper Settlement for Ms. Currie.  Under the direction of Katherine Bettinghaus, cast members will perform for approximately 5000 guests during 60 performances held during the two evening event. 
A special literary treat will be given to three schools within the Kaneland school district as Ms. Currie is visiting Kaneland Blackberry Creek, McDole, and John Stewart Elementary Schools the week her book is available to the public.  Ms. Currie is a Simeon & Schuster author who has published young adult books.  This is her first middle grade book.  She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.
Tickets are available for Naper Settlement’s All Hallow’s Eve event on their website: http://napersettlement.org

KAI Tree


We believe in encouraging people’s involvement in, appreciation of, and support for artistic endeavors and fostering the development of artistic abilities.

Our Goals

  • Bring professional artists to the Festival in order to expose our communities to the fine arts
  • Stimulate higher quality art education in our schools
  • Inspire fine art educators to promote, plan, and host an annual fine arts festival
  • Act as a means for students and their families to come to a better understanding and appreciation of a fine arts education
  • Encourage local business to provide financial support for the arts in the communities

Kaneland Arts Initiative Organizational Structure

The Kaneland Arts Initiative is an organization of the Kaneland Community Unit School District No. 302 under the office of the superintendent of schools and the Kaneland Foundation.  It is governed by a board of directors which hires a staff including an executive director, artistic director, an artist and faculty liaison, and a volunteer coordinator.  Please contact us if you have any questions or comments about our organization!