On Feb. 25, internationally-renowned magician Kevin Spencer returns to Edmonds for a five-day residency, centered on an Afterschool Magic Camp for students ages 8-15. The camp is designed to welcome young people of all abilities, including children on the autism spectrum, and will run 4:30-6:30 p.m. daily until March 1. The week culminates in a live magic show for family and friends at ECA.
Spencer is a world-renowned illusionist with dozens of accolades to his credit, including 2015 International Magician of the Year and six-time recipient of Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year. He is also a teaching artist, researcher, consultant and film producer, as well as faculty member in the special education program at Carlow University in Pennsylvania.
Spencer has been at ECA on two previous occasions, with programs ranging from a large-scale illusion performance, to professional development workshops with local physical and occupational therapists, to sensory-friendly magic shows for children at Edmonds Community College. In Afterschool Magic Camp, students will learn magic tricks with ropes, cards, rubber bands, paperclips, money — and even participate in a big illusion. The program integrates storytelling, music, theatre and movement, inviting students to develop their creativity and discover new confidence.
This will be the first time Spencer brings his “Magic Camp” curriculum to Edmonds — and also marks the first after-school program offered by ECA. “As we work to increase access to ECA for community members with disabilities, collaborating with Kevin on this project is a natural, and important, step forward,” said Gillian Jones, ECA director of programming “Kevin has such a special connection with kids, and we couldn’t imagine a better partner for ECA’s first after-school program.”
Spencer’s groundbreaking research on the educational benefits of integrating magic tricks into the classroom for all students, including those with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and intellectual/developmental delays, has been published in national scholarly journals. A feature article in Inside Autism magazine called Spencer “the kid whisperer,” thanks to his keen ability to connect with children with ASD.
Afterschool Magic Camp runs Feb. 25-March 1, 4:30-6:30 p.m. daily at ECA. Tuition is $80 per student, with 100 percent need-based scholarships available. Register online at www.ec4arts.org, by phone at 425-275-9595, or in person at 410 4th Ave. N. Contact Gillian Jones, Director of Programming, at Gillian@ec4arts.org or 425-275-9483 to apply for a scholarship.
In addition to Afterschool Magic Camp, ECA will offer a free screening of Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic (2014) on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. This 60-minute program will include an artist talk by Spencer, the film’s director and star.
ECA’s Kevin Spencer Residency is made possible with generous funding from the Hazel Miller Foundation, Edmonds Arts Commission and Nancy Bittner. ECA is grateful to the Arc of Snohomish County for consultation support with sensory-friendly programming in the 2018/19 season.