ArtsBuild’s Imagine! Initiative strives to provide arts experiences for all public elementary school students in Hamilton County. Through the Imagine! initiative, all first grade students can attend a Chattanooga Theatre Centre Youth Theatre production, second grade students can attend Chattanooga Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, third graders can attend the Chattanooga Symphony and Opera’s Young People’s concert and fourth graders attend the Southern Lit Alliance’s Drama for Youth theatre presentation. ArtsBuild provides the tickets for students and teachers to attend the performances as well as transportation to and from the events, in addition to curriculum support material (set to State standards).

2016-2017 Imagine! Presentations

1st Grade

Chattanooga Theatre Centre’s Youth Theatre (choose one):
“Jungle Book”
October 18, 19, 20, and 21, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas”
December 6, 7, 8, and 9, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

“The Snow Queen”
January 31, February 1, 2 and 3, 2017 at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

“The BFG”
April 11, 12, and 13, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.

2nd Grade

Chattanooga Ballet’s The Nutcracker
December 7, 8, and 9, 2016 at 10:00 a.m.
The Tivoli Theatre

3rd Grade

Chattanooga Symphony and Opera Young People’s Concert
February 1, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. and Noon and February 2, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.
The Tivoli Theatre

4th Grade

Southern Lit Alliance’s Dramas for Youth: “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
November 3 and 4, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. & 11:30 a.m.
Memorial Auditorium, Walker Theater

The Imagine! Initiative is sponsored in part by:


City of Chattanooga

George R. Johnson Family Foundation

Tennessee Arts Commission

Tucker Foundation


For reservations – 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade teachers:
1. Call ArtsBuild at (423) 756-2787 or email by September 16 to schedule your performance.
2. Schedule your bus. ArtsBuild will reimburse the school for the cost of the bus.

1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th grades only. All other teachers should contact the Chattanooga Ballet, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, CSO and Southern Lit Alliance to make their reservations.


The Imagine! film follows Ooltewah Elementary School classroom teacher Mrs. Lisa Steele, and her class, during the fall of 2014 as they prepare to visit the Tivoli Theatre to see The Nutcracker. Despite a lack of financial resources for arts education at her school, Lisa Steele incorporates what she has learned at ArtsBuild’s Kennedy Center Workshops to successfully integrate arts education into her students’ learning every day.

Countless studies have shown that arts instruction, as well as integrating the arts into all curriculum, strengthens a student’s academic ability. However, visual arts teachers are lacking in many of Hamilton County’s elementary schools. Despite a State mandate that all public elementary schools should employ a visual arts teacher, during the 2014-2015 academic years, only 13 out of 43 HCDE elementary schools have a visual arts instructor.

Now in its sixth year, ArtsBuild’s Imagine! Initiative’s goal is to help bridge this education gap by providing arts and cultural experiences to all first through fourth grade students in Hamilton County, Tennessee. At no cost to the student or school, ArtsBuild provides the opportunity for first graders to see a play at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre, second graders to attend Chattanooga Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker, third graders to attend the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s Young People’s Concert, and fourth graders to see a professional theatre performance in collaboration with the Southern Lit Alliance.

Imagine! is produced by ArtsBuild, a nonprofit organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with the mission of “building a stronger community through the arts.” The film was directed by Leif Ramsey, SVAD Productions.