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Carol Hofgartner


Art Road

15030 Santa Anita
Livonia, Michigan 48154
As the founder and executive director of Art Road Nonprofit, Carol Hofgartner is inspired by art and sees how artistic creativity feeds so many careers. That’s why her goal is to have art class brought back to every school classroom in Detroit. 
Michigan Lightlight: What does being a leader mean to you?
Carol Hofgartner, Executive Director of Art Road: A great example of leadership took place in April in the Art Road art room at Charles Wright Academy of Arts & Science. Eighteen high school students from Cranbrook Upper School taught our kindergarten to 4th grade students for a day.
The Cranbrook students sat on the ground alongside the young students and talked to them and then worked with them to create dream boards. The Cranbrook students were great leaders by listening to the young students, assisting them in making a dream board, and having fun along the way.
Great leadership occurs when you surround yourself with exceptional people, listen to what they say, and inspire them to accomplish a goal.

Great leadership occurs when you surround yourself with exceptional people, listen to what they say, and inspire them to accomplish a goal.
What is your dream for kids?
Our dream is that all children in southeast Michigan have access to art instruction. We need to continue to raise awareness and secure more funding to make our dream a reality.
What is one concrete thing that could be done to improve the environment for social sector work in Michigan?
Make it easier for small, grassroots nonprofits to obtain funding for both the program and operations – do this by making it easier to find out who is giving and how to reach them.

How do you know you’re making progress?
We know we’re making progress when the principal of one of our schools tells us that attendance is up on the days we provide art class. 
We know we're making progress when the principal of one of our schools tells us that attendance is up on the days we provide art class.
Kids don’t want to miss art class.
What are you most proud of?
I am proud that Art Road is bringing art class back to schools, and we expect artistic excellence from our art instructors and students. Art Road art instructors are Cranbrook Academy of Art graduates who are teaching students that have lacked art in their schools for over 10 years. One of our former art instructors was also a Fulbright Scholar as well as a Cranbook graduate. Have you ever been taught by a Fulbright Scholar? The students rise to the high level of art that is being taught in the art room. We’ve had moms come volunteer in the art room and say our students are polite, happy and their art is better than they see at their other children’s private schools.
What originally drew you to your current profession, especially since you moved from the private sector to the nonprofit world?
I was the architectural liaison for UT Automotive from 1992 to1998. While I was working there, I was asked to speak about architecture at career day at a Detroit elementary school. This day changed my life forever, when one student told me that they did not have art class. For seven years after that day, I volunteered in the classroom bringing art instruction to one fifth-grade class. I brought the supplies to the class, and also brought with me architects, automotive designers, artists and many more professionals to experience my student’s creativity first hand. One day a little girl from another classroom came to the fifth-grade classroom and asked me if she could have art class too. This is when I knew that I had to do more and formed Art Road Nonprofit.
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Program Profile

  • Art Road
    Elementary students tune up their creativity through art class



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