Support for Detroit Arts Education: An Interview with Dr. Rita Fields

Valentine’s Day is not normally a holiday I celebrate. In my relationship, every day is a chance to show one another love and appreciation, so it’s not a an extra special time for us. But this year, I got the chance to spend some time talking with Dr. Rita Fields, SHRM-SCP. If you’re not familiar with Dr. Fields, get familiar.

Dance Me a Story: Developing Early Literacy Skills through Movement and Creative Dance

On Saturday, February 2nd, the Living Arts Youth Dance Ensemble was invited to participate as honored guests at the Detroit Dhamaal 2019 Bollywood Fusion Competition.

Held at the historic Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Detroit, the competition featured Bollywood dance troupes from colleges across the nation. Board member Matthew Nahan spoke about the Living Arts programs and the value of teaching artists in the community. Nahan also introduced the Youth Dance Ensemble performance.

Dhamaal 2019 Honors Youth Dance Ensemble

On Saturday, February 2nd, the Living Arts Youth Dance Ensemble was invited to participate as honored guests at the Detroit Dhamaal 2019 Bollywood Fusion Competition.

Held at the historic Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Detroit, the competition featured Bollywood dance troupes from colleges across the nation. Board member Matthew Nahan spoke about the Living Arts programs and the value of teaching artists in the community. Nahan also introduced the Youth Dance Ensemble performance.

Living Arts Seeks a Program Evaluator

Living Arts is accepting proposals for an Evaluation Partner to conduct the second phase of our evaluation for our Detroit Wolf Trap early learning program. This three-year study, funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, will measure the impact the program has on teacher growth through the following central question:

Does professional development in arts integration through the performing arts (Detroit Wolf Trap) demonstrate growth for early childhood educators in their abilities in 1) Instructional Learning Formats and 2) Concept Development?

Proposals are due December 20, 2018 to Alissa Novoselick, Executive Director, at Alissa@livingartsdetroit.org

More information on the project, budget, and timeline can be found here.

Detroit Wolf Trap Teaching Artist Karilú Alarcón Forshee provides arts-integrated professional development for a classroom teacher.

Detroit Wolf Trap Teaching Artist Karilú Alarcón Forshee provides arts-integrated professional development for a classroom teacher.

Living Arts is Hiring a Communications Manager

Living Arts is hiring a Communications Manager to help us better tell the story of our youth, teaching artists, and work! Our mission, which began 20 years ago in SW Detroit, engages youth, teachers, and families in experiences in the performing, visual, literary, and media arts.

The Communications Manager will work closely with the entire Living Arts team to refine our communications goals and develop a strategy and timeline for meeting benchmarks. In addition to external storytelling and promotional strategy, the Communications Manager will assist with data entry and analysis around key stakeholder groups.

Students in a printmaking workshop at Open Arts Fest led by Director of Programs, Erika Villarreal Bunce.

Students in a printmaking workshop at Open Arts Fest led by Director of Programs, Erika Villarreal Bunce.

For this position we are seeking candidates with at least two years of experience in media, communications, and storytelling. We are open to candidates with backgrounds in non-profit communications, fundraising, media, public relations, journalism or other relevant experience.

This is a full-time position with a salary of $33,000 - $38,000 and benefits. The ideal start date is January 14, 2019.

If you believe this is the right position for you, we sincerely encourage you to apply! Details about the specific responsibilities of the job are listed on the job description here.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and at least two samples of work (e-newsletter, blog post, annual report, etc.) to alissa@livingartsdetroit.org by December 6, 2018.

Living Arts Wins 2018 Knight Arts Challenge

Marquee, The Fillmore, November 7, 2018 -- Photo: Andrew Potter, Knight Foundation

Marquee, The Fillmore, November 7, 2018 -- Photo: Andrew Potter, Knight Foundation

With the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s 2018 Knight Arts Challenge, Living Arts will bring together artists and residents to design a film installation series that will be displayed on street walls in Southwest and throughout Detroit. The installations will be created in partnership with media artist Sacramento Knoxx and will feature a series of dance workshops and performances by Southwest artists, youth, and residents. These dance events will be led by Living Arts, Motor City Street Dance Academy, Ballet Folklorico Moyokoyani Izel and Compás, capturing modern, break, folklorico, Afro-Latin, and more. Through consensus-building sessions, the community will identify locations and themes for the site-specific work, focusing on dance as resistance. This project will challenge notions about the art, culture, and identity that stems from the Southwest Detroit community, embracing the power of dance to bring together people to leverage the power of their bodies in expression

The project is funded by the Knight Foundation.

The project is funded by the Knight Foundation.

The series of films will be installed on walls in conjunction with the Arise Detroit! Neighborhoods Day.

Knight Foundation previously funded our community performance series Teatro Chico.

Do you wish to receive regular updates on this project? Sign up for our e-newsletter today.

Read the Knight Foundation press release.

Katy Locker, Program Director Knight Arts Detroit, Alissa Novoselick, Executive Director Living Arts, Erika Villarreal Bunce, Director of Programs Living Arts, Victoria Rogers, VP Knight Arts

Katy Locker, Program Director Knight Arts Detroit, Alissa Novoselick, Executive Director Living Arts, Erika Villarreal Bunce, Director of Programs Living Arts, Victoria Rogers, VP Knight Arts

Living Arts Welcomes Three New Board Members

Living Arts is pleased to announce the addition of three new members to our Board of Directors: Michelle Cantor, Terrence West, and Candace Griffin. This group of Detroit professionals brings a wealth of knowledge and individual passions for youth arts education. "We are very excited to welcome Michelle, Terrence, and Candace to the Living Arts team and look forward to building more opportunities for Detroit youth, together," said Alissa Novoselick, Executive Director. "Each one of these individuals has the necessary skills to help deepen and propel our work in unique and valuable ways."

From L to R: Michelle Cantor, Terrence West, and Mary Griffin.

From L to R: Michelle Cantor, Terrence West, and Mary Griffin.

For more than 20 years, Michelle Tenner Cantor has been a driver of thought leadership and strategic direction relative to organizational and talent development, including eight years of change management consulting with Fortune 500 companies, such as ComEd, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.A., Ford Motor Company and Dow Chemical Co. As the Founder and President of Volar Consulting, LLC in metropolitan Detroit, Cantor has a demonstrated track record of designing and implementing successful Diversity and Inclusion programs, which integrate strategic planning, leadership coaching, and organizational culture development. She is the founder of Conscious Leadership℠, an interactive training experience that gets to the heart of understanding the power of unconscious biases and how we can both individually and collectively create a more inclusive and productive work environment.

Candace Griffin has a talent for creating inviting, and unique spaces. With a background in residential staging and interior decorating, her company Candace Mary Interiors specializes in partnering with realtors and homeowners to sell their properties quicker and at top market value. Candace’s approach focuses on highlighting the personality of each space. More than just aesthetic, she believes great interior design is about the feeling when you connect with a home you love and imagine the life you want within it.  Her ability to mix timeless pieces with modern elements gives her the edge to create distinctive spaces that make a statement. Her unique design sense is inspired by living in Chicago, San Francisco, and traveling the world. Originally from Lansing and now residing in the motor city with her wife and puppy! She enjoys good food, good company, and good design. 

A native of Detroit, Terrence West is a graduate of the University of Iowa and specializes in marketing and communications. Currently serving as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Michigan Science Center, Terrence has also worked with VanDyke Horn Public Relations and Berg Muirhead & Associates Public Relations. In addition to these roles, Terrence has also lent his skills as a pro bono marketing consultant with Coalition for the Future of Detroit Children, Reach Beyond Institute of Detroit, and Friends of Misha Stallworth, amongst others. He serves on the board of Black Family Development, and has done extensive work with the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW).

Living Arts receives $540,000 commitment to support early childhood outcomes in Detroit

Partnership support comes from CFSEM, Erb, Kresge, and W.K. Kellogg Foundations

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Living Arts, a Detroit nonprofit that brings high quality and year-round arts education to the city’s youth, is proud to announce it has received several multi-year grants totaling over a half million dollars to support the expansion of Detroit Wolf Trap, a program that will provide intensive professional development, mentoring and coaching for Detroit area early childhood educators, parents, and caregivers by introducing them to proven performing arts-integration strategies through classroom residences and professional development workshops.

Read the press release.

Meet Our New Hip Hop Teaching Artist Daijiro Tsushima

Living Arts' New Hip Hop Teaching Artist Daijiro Tsushima

Living Arts' New Hip Hop Teaching Artist Daijiro Tsushima

Daijiro Tsushima was born on May 23rd, 1984 in the city of Taipei, Taiwan, from a Japanese father and a Hawaiian mother.  He was only 3 when his father received an opportunity to relocate to Detroit, Michigan to work in the new branch his automotive company was opening. And so, along with his wife and two sons, he set out to America and to a new life.

It was thanks to this move, that Daijiro’s journey in street dance would begin at the early age of 7. Pioneer street dance films like “Beat Street” (1984) and “Breakin’” (1984) represented the root of his inspiration, along with the countless Hip Hop and R&B music videos, which densely populated the 90’s television airwaves. Those videos and films, which redefined and helped forge an entire generation of street dancers, showcased every style from from Hip Hop, to Popping, to Locking, to House, to Breaking, in both choreographed and freestyle forms. 

It wasn’t however, until Daijiro was 23 that he felt a deep-seated urge to pursue dance as a career. His conviction led him to travel to some of the most important American dance meccas outside the Motor City, that is, New York City, Chicago, Atlanta, and L.A, to learn from the best of the best. He would attend workshops from world class street dancers like Mr. Wiggles, Buddha Stretch, Lynk, Caleaf, and many more.
 
Now, a decade later, after the numerous competitions, performances, and teaching/community building initiatives, Daijiro wishes to uphold his role as a mentor for the next generation of street dancers, not only by sharing his technical savvy, but also by sharing the histories and cultures behind these different styles of dance. These histories and cultures never cease to inform his knowledge as a Dancer and to forge the backbone of his identity as an Artist.
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Daijiro Tsushima nació el 23 de mayo, 1984 en la ciudad de Taipei, Taiwan de un padre japonés y una madre hawaiana. Solo tenía 3 años cuando su padre encontró una oportunidad de mudarse a Detroit, Michigan para trabajar en una nueva sucursal de una compañía de autos. Entonces, con su esposo y dos hijos, se mudó a los Estados Unidos y su nueva vida.

Gracias a esa relocación, el trayecto de Daijiro en el baile callejero empezó a los 7 años. Películas pioneras del baile callejero como "Beat Street" (1984) y "Breakin" (1984) fundaron los raices de su inspiración, además de incontables videos de música de Hip Hop y R&B que populaban las televisiones de los años 90. Esos videos y películas, que redefinieron y ayudaron a forjar una generación completa de bailadores callejeros, exhibieron todos los estilos desde Hip Hop, a Popping, a Locking, a House, a Breaking, en formas coreografiadas y de estilo libre. 

Sin embargo, no fue hasta que Daijiro tenía 23 años que sintió un impulso profundo por seguir la carrera de baile. Su convicción le llevó a viajar a algunas de las meccas de baile estadounidenses más importantes fuera del Motor City, como la ciudad de Nueva York, Chicago, Atlanta y L.A, para aprender de lo mejor de lo mejor. Asistiría a talleres de bailadores callejeros de clase mundial como Mr. Wiggles, Buddha Stretch, Lynk, Caleaf y muchos más.

Ahora, una década más tarde, después de las numerosas competiciones, presentaciones y iniciativas de enseñanza / construcción comunitaria, Daijiro desea mantener su papel como mentor de la próxima generación de bailadores callejeros, no solo por compartir su conocimiento técnico, sino también por compartir las historias y culturas detrás de estos diferentes estilos de baile. Estas historias y culturas nunca dejan de informar a su conocimiento como bailador y forjar la columna vertebral de su identidad como artista.  

Open Stage for Living Arts

Join us on Wednesday, September 26th for Open Stage for Living Arts. An evening of vocal artistry, music, poetry, dance and performance art featuring Mahogany Jones and Karilú Alarcón Forshee, Open mic opportunities are available to anyone, so share your talents or cheer on the performers. The event will take place  from 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Mexicantown favorite La Terraza,  

Suggested cover: $5 per adult and $1 per child. Cover includes appetizers and soft drinks. A cash bar and full menu will be available for purchase.

5 minute performance slots are available on a first come first serve basis. For more information, please contact robyn@livingartsdetroit.org.

La Terraza is located at 8445 Vernor, Detroit MI, 48209.

Get the press release.

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Mahogany Jones

Mahogany Jones

Karilú Alarcón Forshee

Karilú Alarcón Forshee

Living Arts Receives Funding from Metro West Chapter of Credit Unions

Living Arts is pleased to announce that we have received funding from Metro West Chapter of Credit Unions for our Detroit Wolf Trap program. In our most recently completed program year, Detroit Wolf Trap reached more than 600 young children, 200 caregivers/parents, and 80 early childhood educators in the city and metro Detroit area. Thank you to Metro West Chapter of Credit Unions for your support!

Read the press release here

A Detroit Wolf Trap family involvement class. Photo by Julianne Lindsey.

A Detroit Wolf Trap family involvement class. Photo by Julianne Lindsey.

Living Arts receives $540,000 commitment to support early childhood outcomes in Detroit

Partnership support comes from CFSEM, Erb, Kresge, and W.K. Kellogg Foundations

DETROIT, Mich. (July 2018) – Living Arts, a Detroit nonprofit that brings high quality and year-round arts education to the city’s youth, is proud to announce it has received several multi-year grants totaling over a half million dollars to support the expansion of Detroit Wolf Trap, a program that will provide intensive professional development, mentoring and coaching for Detroit area early childhood educators, parents, and caregivers by introducing them to proven performing arts-integration strategies through classroom residences and professional development workshops.

Teaching Artist Alesha Mickens uses music to engage young learners in a Living Arts' Detroit Wolf Trap Class. Photo by Julianne Lindsey.

Teaching Artist Alesha Mickens uses music to engage young learners in a Living Arts' Detroit Wolf Trap Class. Photo by Julianne Lindsey.

“This generous partnership will amplify and deepen Detroit Wolf Trap’s proven impact on teachers, parents, and students in classrooms and homes across Detroit, by elevating the role and effectiveness of educators and caregivers in supporting the early education of our region's youngest children,” said Alissa Novoselick, executive director of Living Arts. “It is exciting to know that these organizations are working collectively to  ensure that not only the children but the adults engaged through Detroit Wolf Trap programming will meet achievable goals to continue best practice for early learning through the arts,” added Roberta Lucas, master teaching artist and Detroit Wolf Trap’s founding director.  

The contributing organizations -- Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, Kresge Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation -- will provide long-term classroom residences for children ages 3 months to Kindergarten. Additionally, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s award will enable Living Arts to expand evaluation efforts to demonstrate the positive impact Detroit Wolf Trap has on the teaching practices of early childhood educators in Detroit. Living Arts’ Wolf Trap program, an affiliate of the national Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, has proven to strengthen children’s literacy, math, science and social emotional skills in its first phase of evaluation, completed in 2017.

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan is a full-service philanthropic organization leading the way to positive change in our region. As a permanent community endowment built by gifts from thousands of individuals and organizations, the Foundation supports a wide variety of activities benefiting education, arts and culture, health, human services, community development, and civic affairs. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $1 billion through nearly 65,000 grants to nonprofit organizations throughout Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Monroe, Washtenaw, St. Clair, and Livingston counties. For more information, please visit www.cfsem.org.

The Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation’s mission is nurturing environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit, consistent with sustainable business models, and supporting initiatives to restore the Great Lakes Ecosystem. Established in 2007, the foundation funds grant applications that benefit the environment, arts, and Alzheimer’s research.

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. Kresge’s Detroit Program collaborates with civic, nonprofit and business partners to promote and expand long-term, equitable opportunity in Kresge’s hometown for its current and future residents. For more information visit kresge.org.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

About Living Arts

Founded in 1999, Living Arts is a nonprofit organization that engages Detroit youth, teachers and families in transformative experiences in the performing, visual, literary and media arts. Implementing arts education programs for nearly 3,000 early learners, elementary and secondary students annually, Living Arts’ programs increase youth’s academic achievement, develops leadership and artistic skills, and strengthens schools and communities.

Living Arts receives support from the Ford Motor Company Fund, Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Dresner Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Foundation, W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, ITC, and PNC Foundation.

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