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Columbia nonprofit aims to build equity and inclusion through the arts

Columbia nonprofit aims to build equity and inclusion through the arts

Columbia’s Jabberwocky Studios are located on Grand. Students explore the arts in-depth. This is resident artist Joe Schlottach (left) and Jason Stephens, a CARE intern (September 2022 photo courtesy of Jabberwocky founder Linda Schust)

A popular Columbia nonprofit is now in its eighth year of providing youth and children with high-quality free or low cost programming in art, dance, theatre and STEAM.

Jabberwocky Studios founder Linda Schust tells 939 the Eagle that they were founded with a mission of building equity and inclusion in Columbia through the arts.

“The idea behind it is that the arts are a place where people who have different lived experiences, maybe don’t have a lot in common, can come together to meet each other and build something together,” Schust says.

The aim is to ensure that dancing, painting and performance arts are accessible to all students, no matter their background. Jabberwocky is located in the 1300 block of Grand, near the Business Loop. It teaches and performs ethnic and urban arts to build equity and inclusions in the community.

Ms. Schust recognizes that finances can be a barrier. They’ve implemented a tuition waiver program.

“Which is that anybody in Columbia or Ashland or whoever wants to drive to the studio, if their child qualifies for free or reduced school lunch, they can take any and all of our programs for free,” says Schust.

Jabberwocky receives some funding from the Heart of Missouri United Way, and some Central Bank of Boone County employees volunteer there. Ms. Schust says Jabberwocky’s success is the story of the community coming together to support them.

Ms. Schust also encourages you to consider donating. She says $100 provides a tuition waiver for a dance student, and that $200 funds one visit of the art bus to a low-income neighborhood.