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Living Arts is founded to address the void of quality after school activities in Southwest Detroit and launches its “Southwest Dance” program for 17 students at Messiah Church at West Grand Boulevard and Toledo.


Employs 2 part-time administrators and 6 Teaching Artists to reach approximately 300 students. 


Receives the Spirit of Detroit award for leadership in community programming that improves the quality of life of youth.


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Merges with El Arte Alliance and adds El Arte’s 12-year track record of successful K-12 artist-in-residence programs. Reaches an organizational operating budget of $150,000. 


Receives Charter One’s Champion in Action Award for the state of Michigan.


Becomes a member of the Detroit Community Arts Alliance to build capacity. 


Invited by Ford Motor Company Fund to be anchor arts organization at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. The Center will become the new base for our Out-of-school Arts Programs. 

Living Arts becomes the Detroit Affiliate of the national Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. Living Arts then attracts major investment from the Social Innovation Fund administered by the United Way for Southeastern Michigan to expand kindergarten readiness programs into Detroit Head Start centers.


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Receives a Knight Arts Challenge Award for its Teatro Chico performance series. 


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Publishes book “Living Arts’ Detroit Wolf Trap: Empowering Early Learners, Their Teachers and Families Through the Performing Arts.” 


Employs 7 full-time administrators, 6 part-time administrators, and 35 Teaching Artists. 

Launches 20th Anniversary Fund, which will position Living Arts to build on our achievements and preparation, as well as respond to new opportunities in ways that continue to move our mission forward to serve 30,000 Detroit area youth by 2030.



Living Arts’ 20th year has been a celebration and expression of the human connections that live amongst our Teaching Artists, staff, families, board members, contributors, and collaborative partners. It has been an extremely gratifying experience to reflect on our organization’s humble origins and the stories of the 50,000 children we have served. Together, we have deepened our collective knowledge of what it means to be an arts education provider in our beloved city.

In celebration, this year has been one of reflection and growth. Our 35 Teaching Artists brought Detroit’s youth arts experiences that cultivated critical and creative thinking, improved their social-emotional skills, and prepared them to better meet the academic and societal issues they face each day in school and life.

As we close out our 20th year, I am incredibly grateful to all of the individuals who have helped Living Arts bring transformative arts experiences to thousands of children and families across our region. Thank you, endlessly, for your support. 


Alissa Novoselick, Executive Director