Circus Mojo, LLC is a youth and adult circus arts program where physical skills such as juggling, balancing, and stilt walking coalesce with creative expression such as improvisation, character development, and group performance. In this multidimensional program, combining artistry with athleticism, students conquer doubt and learn a varied skill set in a collaborative, non-competitive environment. Our mission is to teach and present the circus arts with a fresh perspective and encourage everyone to express their unique mojo—talent, zeal, conﬁdence, drive, and spirit.
The Social Circus Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501c3, raises funds to support programs using circus as tools for social change and in medical settings. Many of the people we serve have limited resources. The fund will serve as a clearinghouse for scholarships and to educate and study the application of circus in non-traditional settings.
History of Community Development
2009 Circus Mojo founder, Paul Miller, purchased a factory converted from a movie theatre and began using circus as a tool to connect with people and revitalize Ludlow, Kentucky. To date, over 35,000 people have come to The Ludlow Theatre ~ Home of Circus Mojo for events such as Playhouse in the Park’s Off the Hill series, ArtsWave Samplers, Blues and Bluegrass concerts, summer camp and more.
2010 Circus Mojo worked with a fiscal sponsor to fund an after-school circus program for 15 students in Ludlow, KY. Twice a week the children participated in Circus Scholastics at The Ludlow Theatre. The program consists of one hour of circus training, one hour of homework help and a healthy snack donated by Remke Markets. The goal is to train teens and engage and inspire marginalized youth. Some students in 2010 had the opportunity to perform with world-class artists at Cirque Devou, an event Miller produced with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.
2011 Toyota Motors of North America funded Circus Scholastics with a fiscal sponsor. Circus Mojo hosted the Macy’s ArtsWave Sampler in Ludlow; this event featured all the students in Circus Scholastics and served as a debut for The Ludlow Theatre. Received $35,000 grant for vocational training at Hillcrest Training School, the Hamilton Co. Juvenile Detention Center, and hired seven participants upon probation.
2012 Circus Mojo hosted an event with Jerry Springer as Celebrity Ringmaster which funded Circus Scholastics. During the summer of 2012, students from the Circus Scholastics toured with Circus Mojo for three weeks in Germany. The tour to Germany provided a cultural exchange and even served as the first airplane ride for many of the students. This trip also served as inspiration for Jesse (see the Kickstarter video here), who is now a first-generation college student at NKU. Miller also purchased the former Duro Bag Headquarters, a converted Church of the Nazarene, from the City of Ludlow. Duke Energy supplied a $10,000 pre-development grant to secure the site.
2013 Circus Mojo began to work with Kicks for Kids, a charity that funded 30 children for Circus Mojo’s summer camp. The Social Circus Foundation, Inc., Circus Mojo’s non-profit arm, applied for 501c3 status. The Social Circus Foundation, Inc. and Circus Mojo created the International College Circus Festival (see ABC 9 coverage) and hosted performers from around the world: Indonesia, Mexico, Republic of Congo and Illinois State University’s 85-year-old Gamma Phi Circus, the oldest collegiate circus in the USA.
2014 The Social Circus Foundation, Inc. secured 501c3 status from the IRS. A successful Kickstarter campaign and the German government funded another three- week tour to Germany. The Social Circus Foundation, Inc. and Circus Mojo hosted the 2nd International College Circus Festival with college circus groups from around the country and performers from around the world in attendance. (See NBC 5 coverage.) The International College Circus Festival offers inspiration for young people with limited opportunities as well as a platform to recruit vocational trainees.
• Four days a week Circus Mojo is at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. We see an average of 125 kids and parents/day. We are paid by a grant two days and by contract two days.
• Children in Ludlow have never paid for programming from 2010-present. Summer camp revenue offsets the local children’s participation. Weekly, four to eight children from Ludlow participate free in Saturday programs.
• Boys from the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky have participated in programming for four years. Working with the Children’s Home has led to circus being published as a modality of treatment in the book Behavioral Health Protocols and Treatment Plans for Recreational Therapy, Second Edition, included for your review.
• For the past three years, Circus Mojo has been hired to deliver programming at Ockerman Elementary in Boone County. (See NBC 5 coverage.) The demand for programming exceeds funding from this school.
The balancing of earning revenue, partnering with key non-profit organizations and providing free programming for the Ludlow community has not been easy. We have created the Social Circus Foundation 501c3 with a dedicated Board of Directors to grow programming, provide opportunities for youth, create vocational training and develop our evidence-based practice.