Artist & Educator
Kevin Spencer is an award-winning performing artist who, along with his wife and partner Cindy, toured the world for more than 25 years, with one of the largest and most successful theatrical illusion productions in the U.S. They left behind a trail of accolades in their wake including 2009 International Illusionists of the Year, 2015 International Magicians of the Year, and six-time recipients of Performing Arts Entertainer of the Year.
At the pinnacle of their career, Spencer stepped away from the big stage and into classrooms and hospitals. As an artist, educator, speaker, and researcher, he now works to create communities where everyone experiences an authentic sense of belonging and no one – for any reason – is relegated to the margins.
His work focuses on using the art of magic to impact change in the lives of children with autism, developmental disabilities, intellectual challenges, emotional disturbance, and those who have experienced trauma. He has earned a Master’s degree (M.Ed.) in Arts & Academic Interdisciplinary Education and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Education.
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Spencer’s therapeutic program – Magic Therapy™ – is a 2023 Gold recipient for “Best Innovation” in the category of Health awarded at the Anthem Awards in February 2023 in New York City. His education program – Hocus Focus™ – was a 2022 Silver recipient for “Best Innovation” and Spencer himself is a Gold recipient for “Leader of the Year” awarded in May 2022, both in the category of Education, Art, and Culture. Spencer was also a 2022 finalist for the international Zero Project Award (based in Austria) which recognizes innovative persons, practices, and models that improve the daily lives of persons with disabilities.
In 2016, he produced a short documentary – Powerful Medicine: Simply Magic – that showcases individuals of varying abilities who, through the art of magic, have overcome physical, developmental, and intellectual challenges. The short has earned 18 international film festival awards including “Best Short Documentary” at the Hollywood Short Film Festival and the LA Movie Awards. It was also recognized with the International Humanitarian Platinum Award sponsored by the United Nations. It continues to inspire audiences around the world.
Dr. Spencer is faculty with Harvard Medical Teaching Hospital and Boston Children’s Hospital’s “Pediatric Sedation Outside the Operating Room” conference; adjunct faculty and a research consultant for the School of Health Professions Department of Occupational Therapy and Institute for Arts in Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; faculty in the department of education at Carlow University in Pittsburgh; a Fulbright Specialist on arts integration for special populations for the U.S. Department of State; and an Approved Provider of Continuing Education for the American Occupational Therapy Association.
As both an academic and an artist, Dr. Spencer offers sensory inclusive performances to reach underserved communities and speaks at conferences and universities around the world on the active and passive benefits of magic tricks in educational and therapeutic settings.
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What people are saying about Kevin Spencer
Kevin Spencer has more academic and professional experience and connections in the broad area of disabilities than anyone I have known in my 35 years in this field. He is such a humble and unassuming individual – you cannot imagine the depths of his knowledge, skill, and heart until you see him at work. Those who spend their lives struggling with their disability, no matter their capabilities, were pushing the limits of their concentration as well as their motor skills because he brought forth the motivation to do so. As our week together progressed, it was clear to me that he was not only gifted but, indeed, a gift.
It is with great enthusiasm that I share my experience in having Kevin Spencer provide riveting professional development sessions to educational researchers, administrators, teachers and parents. His interdisciplinary approach to designing arts-based curriculum values a holistic philosophy so essential to effective educational experiences that are generalizable for children with disabilities. But the real magic is how he inspires educators to move beyond their preconceptions of instruction and learning and to think creatively when designing effective educational experiences.
Kevin’s method of interacting with the children and young adults was engaging and cheerful. More important than his interactive style, he did not define the children by their ‘disability’ or ‘diagnosis.’ He saw them as individuals with potential. His workshops explored and pushed the limits of that potential. For me, observing his work was inspiring and emotional. It reminded me of why we can be so passionate about assisting people with many kinds of challenges in life. This was a gift that Kevin gave to me.
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