Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 26, 2012.


Stretching for $40,000 to tell the remarkable story of the children of ALL abilities who came together ... with show-stopping results.

This film tells the story of remarkable children that forged a new path of human connection in the arts... with show-stopping results.

If we reach our $40,000 STRETCH goal, we will be able to cover the costs of:

  • Captioning the film (open captioning for viewing, closed captioning for potential broadcast) to ensure it is inclusive of the deaf/hard-of-hearing community
  • Color correction and sound mastering to ensure a final product that is as beautifully inspiring as the program itself
  • Creation of eye-catching, environmentally conscious packaging for the DVDs
  • Duplication of the discs
  • Entry fees for film festivals

Also, we’ll enhance the rewards offered to backers by:

  • Allowing those receiving a DVD to also access an HD version of the film
  • Listing all donors $100 and up in the disc packaging
  • All donors, no matter what level, will receive a 5x7 of the “Speaking Feet” canvas created live during the show

So please continue to tell your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to go watch the video at and back this film!  Together, we’ll keep this moving toward full funding!

On Monday, Sept. 10, at 9:41 a.m., we crossed $20,000!  If we had confetti cannons, we’d have set them off in the SPARC Office!  By reaching our initial goal, it ensures that SPARC will receive all contributions pledged to the campaign.

But $20,000 covers only a portion of the entire documentary project.  We anticipated having to raise an additional $15,000-20,000 from private donors to cover the rest, but with 15 days to go, we think we may be able to get it done on Kickstarter!

By raising the funds through Kickstarter, this project will be completely “crowdfunded” (the hip name for what Kickstarter does), and no private donations will be needed for the film.  This means SPARC will be able to dedicate all private donations directly to the students’ experience in the LIVE ART program!

So please continue to tell your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to go watch the video at and back this film!  Together, we’ll keep this moving toward full funding!

In January 2012, documentary film makers Martin Montgomery (Martin Montgomery Films) and Bill Gaff (Humanstory Films) began recording footage of what was to become one of the most profound examples of performing arts education anyone has every witnessed... LIVE ART.

LIVE ART is a groundbreaking educational program and concert event, created and led by the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC), in Richmond, Virginia. In its first ever implementation, LIVE ART created a 20-week inclusive performing arts educational experience for children with and without developmental disabilities and hearing impairment, and then culminated with these students performing on stage alongside some of Virginia’s best professional musicians.

On Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 5:00pm, LIVE ART students and performers took the stage in the historic Carpenter Theatre and changed the lives not only of themselves, but of more than 1,200 people in the audience. 

With literally hundreds of hours of documentary film footage -- including moving interviews with students, parents, faculty, and celebrity musicians -- we have the building blocks to tell a story that will warm your heart and help change our world. This film will show you the moving story of students overcoming challenges finding new forms of communication, on their way to creating something that shocked even themselves. It is about self-discovery and the formation of a community, breaking down walls and stereotypes. This film will make opportunities like this possible in other communities across the country and possibly around the world.

Documentary film makers Martin Montgomery and Bill Gaff have filmed the entire LIVE ART process and are developing a documentary to show the world the profound impact the LIVE ART project had on its students, teachers, musicians, donors and audience members, broadening the impact of performing arts education on children with disabilities. The documentary film will be used to inspire citizens nationwide (or even worldwide) to appreciate and support the use of the arts in special education and the inclusion of students with disabilities in mainstream arts programs.

The concert featured all 125 participating students, plus soulful singer-songwriters Steve Bassett, Susan Greenbaum, and Jesse Harper; conductor/arranger Samson Trinh and his Upper East Side Big Band; jazz vocalists Terri Simpson and Allyson Mills-Steele; stellar singer and banjoist Josh Small; Independent Music Award winner Robbin Thompson; and a surprise appearance by singer-songwriter and Grammy Award winner Jason Mraz — a SPARC alumnus.

To say that the LIVE ART concert experience was life-changing is an understatement. Months later, the community is still buzzing about it. But for SPARC and its community partners, the concert was just the icing on the cake -- the real accomplishment came in the classroom in the weeks preceding, and our documentary film crew was there to capture it all.

For 20 weeks, students with a range of developmental disabilities (Autism, Williams syndrome, Down syndrome) and hearing impairment participated in performing arts classes alongside typically developing students. More than 30 professional staff — teaching artists, arts educators, special education instructors, choreographers, and musicians — led classes in multiple disciplines of arts education: singing, sign language, painting with hands and feet, spoken poetry, musical instrumentation, acting, and more. Educational assessment data indicates that all students experienced transformational growth in empathy, social understanding, confidence, and teamwork.

Participating community partners included The Faison School of Autism, Richmond City Public Schools, Henrico County Public Schools, Chesterfield County Public Schools, the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion, JAMinc., Collegiate School, Northstar Academy and Dreamers Theater.  A partnership of this magnitude — with nonprofits across multiple sectors, public schools, and government — is rare and a testament to the power of the project.

LIVE ART is at the leading edge of arts education, integrating performing arts curriculum with special education to create a major performance event.  Only a handful of such programs are believed to have been piloted worldwide, and none on such a scale.  LIVE ART has positioned SPARC, its partners, and the Richmond community as leaders in performing arts education nationwide.

The video at the top of this page is just a 4-minute example of the inspiring footage that will tell this story.  If it brought a tear to your eye and a smile to your face, then PLEASE join us with a pledge today!  If we reach the initial goal of $20,000, we'll respond with stretch goals to add to the incentives and move the creation of this documentary to an even grander level!  So please contribute today, and tell your friends!


  • Per Kickstarter's standard procedures, all of our backers' credit card charges will be run on the project's funding deadline, which in our case is Sept. 26, 2012.

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  • Simply put: no! The only risk on Kickstarter is if a project doesn't reach its initial goal. Now that the LIVE ART Documentary has surpassed the initial goal of $20,000, we will receive all of the funds pledged to the campaign, regardless of the final tally of contributions.

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    36 backers

    Our sincerest thanks and a shout-out on our website, Facebook and Twitter!

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    40 backers

    The above, plus a beautiful 5x7 print of the LIVE ART cast on stage at the show!

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    20 backers

    The above, plus a set of three (3) beautiful 8x10 prints of the LIVE ART show!

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    9 backers Limited (241 left of 250)

    All of the above, plus a LIVE ART Compilation CD - Featuring songs donated by LIVE ART's featured musicians: Steve Bassett, Robbin Thompson, Jesse Harper, Susan Greenbaum, Samson Trinh and his Upper East Side Band, Josh Small, Marc Langelier, and JASON MRAZ (recorded live with SPARC students in Dec. 2011).

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    69 backers

    All of the above, plus a DVD copy of the LIVE ART Documentary.

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    9 backers

    All of the above, plus a collection of our favorite 10 beautiful 5x7 prints of professional photos from the show.

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    8 backers

    All of the above, plus a DVD copy of the LIVE ART Documentary, signed by filmmakers Martin Montgomery and Bill Gaff and LIVE ART creator Erin Thomas-Foley.

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    7 backers

    All of the above, plus credit as an "ASSOCIATE PRODUCER" in the LIVE ART Documentary, and an invitation for 2 to the exclusive advance screening and talk-back of the completed film (if local to Richmond, VA) or access to view the full film online before its official release date!

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    3 backers

    All of the above, plus a high-quality gallery-size print of the signature "Speaking Feet" canvas created live in the show!

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Funding period

- (30 days)