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How The Arts Can Help Students Excel

Excerpt:

Many people disregard the importance of the arts in education.  Sure, the arts are good for blowing off steam and encouraging creativity, but are they useful in the real world?  If a student doesn’t have the capabilities of being the next Beethoven or da Vinci, what is the point of wasting resources on their continued arts education?

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Summer + Mittenfest = S'Mittenfest!

Over the last seven years, Ypsilanti’s end-of-year music festival Mittenfest has grown into a five-day extravaganza of Michigan-based artists. Held at Woodruff’s Bar in Depot Town, Ypsilanti, Mittenfest has seen performances by acts like Frontier Ruckus, Shigeto, and Passalacqua as well as dozens of up-and-coming performers. The festival is a fundraiser for 826michigan, a Washtenaw County-based organization providing free creative writing and tutoring services to students aged 6-18. To celebrate 826michigan’s recent expansion into Detroit, the nonprofit will hold a summer version of Mittenfest at the Magic Stick on July 20.
 
S’Mittenfest (Summer + Mittenfest) will feature twenty-one acts including Drunken Barn Dance, Santa Monica Swim and Dive Club, and Young Punk. It will be held on Saturday, July 20, at Detroit’s legendary Magic Stick. Admission is $10 and available only at the door; proceeds benefit 826michigan’s free programs for students aged 6-18.
 
Established in Ann Arbor in 2005, 826michigan serves 2,500 youth aged 6-18 with a wide variety of educational and artistic programs. In October 2012, the organization announced that it would launch programs in Detroit, thanks to a launching grant from the DTE Energy Foundation. 826michigan now serves three Detroit schools with In-School Residencies, in which volunteers are organized on a continual basis to assist teachers in overcrowded classrooms and work one-on-one with students who need extra attention. This summer, 826michigan will offer free creative writing workshops in Clark Park, at the Franklin Wright Settlements, and at the Campbell Branch of the Detroit Public Library.
 
“Expanding to Detroit was a dream of ours for a very long time,” says 826michigan Executive Director Amanda Uhle. “And now it’s happening. Every week, we’re reaching forty-five Detroit students with one-on-one attention and support provided by caring volunteers, and that number is set to go up dramatically this summer as we begin to offer Drop-in Writing times at three locations in the city.
 
“For us, the truly great thing about Mittenfest is getting to celebrate with the people of Ypsilanti, where we’ve worked since we first began. We’re proud to call ourselves part of the Ypsilanti community. We know we are new in Detroit, but we’re committed to our work there and to building more and better partnerships with other nonprofits, schools, businesses, and individuals. S’Mittenfest is a party and we are inviting the people of Detroit, who have already shown us an incredibly warm welcome. We can’t wait to celebrate Michigan music and Michigan people on July 20!”
 
For more information about 826michigan and its volunteer-driven programs serving 2,500 youth in Southeast Michigan, please visit www.826michigan.org or call (734) 761-3463. To learn more about S’Mittenfest, please visit www.mittenfest.org.
 
The full line-up includes:
 
The Anonymous
Breezee One
The Campanellis
Caveman Woodman
Clear Soul Forces
Jah Connery
Deadbeat Beat
Drunken barn dance
In Fact
James Linck
The Kickstand Band
Pewter Cub
Red Pill
Revoir
Santa Monica Swim & Dive Club
Silent Lions
Timothy Monger State Park
Twine Time
The Hand in the Ocean
Truman
Young Punk
 
826michigan is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting students aged six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our belief that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.  For more information, visit www.826michigan.org.

What does a truly diverse high school sound like?

Excerpt:

A few weeks ago I took the State of Opportunity storytelling booth to J.W. Sexton High School in Lansing. 

The school is a sand-colored art deco masterpiece. There are three floors, intricate stone work inside and out, and an auditorium that could easily host a symphony from any of Michigan's large cities along with its audience.
 

Click to hear the full story
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