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June 23, 2011
old town lansing
OLD TOWN LANSING
VIDEO BY ELI BROWN
THURSDAY JUNE 23rd, 2011
OLD TOWN LANSING
VIDEO BY ELI BROWN
THURSDAY JUNE 23rd, 2011
Winner of the 2011 Great American Main Street Award, Old Town Lansing is a community that has been transformed by artists and creative visionaries. Once blighted and full of abandoned buildings, it is now a thriving, vibrant hot spot for galleries, cafés, boutiques, and some of Michigan’s largest music festivals. ArtServe Michigan recently caught up with Terry Terry of MessageMakers and Brittney Hoszkiw of the Old Town Main Street Association to get their recipes for revitalizing and sustaining an award winning historic district that focuses on the creative class.Photos from Old Town
Event information and more about Old Town can be found at www.iloveoldtown.org
COMING OF AGE IN THE NEUTRAL ZONE
THURSDAY JUNE 23rd, 2011
Approaching its 13th birthday, Neutral Zone, is oozing with creative charm designed to appeal to high school-aged teens. Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor the Neutral Zone building, a former printing company space, is hard to miss. The exterior of the traditional building sports splashes of color that are the first clues that something exciting is happening here. Step inside and it is clear that this is a safe place to explore and grow.
At Neutral Zone youth development, empowerment, leadership and understanding are the goals - and for many that attend, the path to these goals is full-on immersion in teen-relevant music, literary arts and visual arts programs. Learning by doing at the Neutral Zone is a common theme. There are currently 26 active programs and every one of the programs has been inspired by, established for, created in part by and approved by teens. The Neutral Zone Board of Directors includes teen board members. Additionally, the NZ Board regularly consults with the NZ Teen Advisory Council (a leadership program at NZ) to approve new programs, fund grants and evaluate current programs.
Katherine Ford has been attending Neutral Zone for two years and is a current Teen Advisory Council member. This fall Katherine is moving on to college and a career in the arts and credits her time at the NZ for helping her find this path. "When I came to NZ I was not doing very well in school," confessed Ms. Ford. "Now my grades are much better and I have been accepted to the University of Vermont where I will be studying Arts Management." When asked what her "art of choice" was, she responded art curator, no doubt inspired by her participation in the Breakin' Curfew Curator Team, a program and partnership with the University Musical Society. Participants of the Breakin' Curfew program use all of their talents and skills to fully produce a musical showcase for young people each May that annually sells out the 1400 seat Power Center.
The Breakin' Curfew program is just one example of many, where young exploring artists are challenged to understand the economics of their art at the Neutral Zone. There are several programs at NZ that are labeled with the YOE acronym, standing for Youth Owned Enterprises. The Red Beard Press was established to publish emerging voices and passionate authors; B-Side Promotions merges business skills and music to regularly promote musical events in the NZ performance space; and Youth Owned Records is recording, distributing and marketing local teen musical artists. One of the newest products from Youth Owned Records is a CD called Sole Transit (click the link or play button to listen to "Fly New Kicks" off the album).
Neutral Zone Associate Executive Director, Lori Roddy, enthusiastically shares success stories that range from individual teens overcoming major obstacles to widespread acknowledgment of the success of the model that emphasizes engaging local artists as mentors and supports them to learn youth development to support youth driven practice. "We have had many youth find their passion and talents at the Neutral Zone. One teen who lost her mother became an impressive poet, competed in a national competition and went on to receive a full scholarship at the University of Michigan."
"A very common outcome of our programs is more confident and outgoing teens," said musician, mentor and Neutral Zone graduate Ingrid Racine. "This is the place where they find their own personal stage, realizing how they can stand out."
At its inception 13 years ago the teen center's full name was The Neutral Zone Ann Arbor Teen Center. This year Neutral Zone comes of age by rebranding itself simply Neutral Zone, an indicator that its presence, purpose and brand identity in the region is fully embraced by the community. Coming of age for the teens that attend Neutral Zone happens daily as the participating teens move closer to young adulthood confident in their own ideas, beliefs, skills and talents.
Neutral Zone is supported through the generosity of many sponsors. The 2010 Annual Report (produced by YOE Red Beard Press) includes a list of supporters and sponsors.
The Neutral Zone Summer Institute begins June 24 with a series of week-long boot camps for writers and young authors, music technology and recording, photography, sculpture, screen printing, leadership and change.
Music Therapy + Louie Morand + Irving S. Gilmore
A LOVE SONG IN THREE-PART HARMONY
MARY KATHERINE QUASARANO
THURSDAY JUNE 23rd, 2011
The powerful and resilient lifeline of the music therapy program at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home is a glorious weaving of three Michigan gifts: the field of Music Therapy, the passion and heart of the kids and their teacher, Louie Morand, and the legacy gifts of Irving S. Gilmore.
Adolescents naturally construct figurative walls around themselves as a shield from the pains that come with growing up. These walls come tumbling down with love and trust and generally present little obstacle to open communication with adults and those in authority. Troubled adolescents, on the other hand, construct brick walls around their emotional selves as a means of protection from real hurt and trauma. The adults and authority figures in their lives will struggle to find any opening that might provide an opportunity for communication. In an attempt to create this opening, The Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home employs Music Therapy, and the efforts are changing the lives of the kids and the teachers that work with them.
It's important to identify each unique element of this powerful collaboration. The synergistic and healing energy created when they come together in three-part harmony is a song about the Arts in Kalamazoo worth singing.
What is Music Therapy?
The formal discipline of Music Therapy came about as musicians responded to the desire to serve wounded veterans of both World War I and World War II. Professional and amateur musicians of all kinds made their way into hospitals to play for those suffering both physical and emotional trauma. Music made a tangible difference in the healing process and led staff to formally hire musicians. In order to transform well-intentioned volunteers into effectively trained practitioners, the first music therapy degree program in the world was founded in 1944 at Michigan State University. Music Therapy recognizes the great restorative and healing powers of music, while acknowledging that to maximize results, there is a need for those powers to be administered in a safe, research-based setting, and by a board certified and trained clinician.
The Heart of Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home's Music Therapy Program
Louie Morand (a proud alumnus and graduate student of Western Michigan University) is a board-certified music therapist and self-described empathetic person with the deep belief that all humans are inherently good. He's the first to tell you that working with youthful offenders has been a challenging and exceptionally rewarding journey.
"Truthfully, I had difficulty understanding how to best serve the young offenders population when I began to work with them almost five years ago," shared Morand. "It took time and experience for me to understand how to validate their emotions in a holistic manner. Change begins with my ideas presented to an individual, which then lead to the individual's interaction with peers in the therapeutic setting. The path below might be a logical breakdown of the process. Note how it begins with the students changing me, which then leads to my response of how to help them change."
>A student → Me → a student → their peers/group → their facility → their community → the world
In the knowledgeable and caring hands of a professional therapist like Louie, and through the gift of music, students are reached at unconscious brain areas that lie beyond their defensive, conscious borders. This is the place of transformation and change. The process can be scientifically recorded and observed and yet the outcome (healing and transformation) remains a mystery.
What is the anticipated end goal of this artistic endeavor? For Morand it's this - "I tell each of my students: Your honesty, positivity and creativity make your community stronger. I'd like my students to be recognized for the value that they bring to our community rather than them being seen as a burden."
Legacy Gifts to the Arts Change the World - The Gilmore Foundation
Irving S. Gilmore was an accomplished musician that played piano as a child, studied in New York following his graduation from Yale in 1923, and in 1925 returned to his hometown of Kalamazoo to help manage the family business, Gilmore Brothers Department Store. He was an active manager of the store for 47 years and his love of keyboard music and admiration for its performers never diminished.
He retired in 1972 and in the same year created the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation to ensure that his philanthropy would continue to enrich the Kalamazoo community and citizens for years after his death. As stated in the foundation website, "The Mission of the Foundation is to support and enrich the cultural, social, and economic life of greater Kalamazoo." The Kalamazoo County Government's Youth Offender Transitions Program is supported by the Gilmore Foundation and its Piano Learning Lab. Morand's work in music therapy, is supported, by extension, through the Gilmore Keyboard Festival. Through Morand's work with juvenile offenders, Gilmore's mission is being realized.
Music therapy is a wonderful synthesis of ancient wisdom (music can soothe and heal) and 21st Century technology (brain mapping). In the hands (and heart) of a trained, dedicated professional like Louie Morand, it reaches into the souls of troubled youth. Through the legacy gift of Irving S. Gilmore, a new song is being composed for each of the students at the Kalamazoo County Juvenile Home. This new song, as one of Louie's students eloquently observed, "…is just another way of telling someone's life story." Through music therapy, hopeful new notes are entering the composition of many stories/songs.
SMALL COLLEGE, BIG IDEAS: BREAKING WORLD RECORDS IN MICHIGAN'S UPPER PENINSULA
THURSDAY JUNE 23rd, 2011
Located on the shores of Little Bay de Noc, Escanaba is a go-to spot for many outdoor enthusiasts who flock to the area year round for hunting, camping, fishing, boating and hiking. With just over 12,000 residents, this small city in Michigan's Upper Peninsula may not be well known to those outside of the state, but a group of students at a local community college have been working to change that in a unique way - by putting themselves in the Guinness Book of World Records.
It all started 18 years ago when Jerry Havill joined Bay College as an instructor in the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) program. CAD, also known as Computer-Aided Design and Drafting (CADD), is the use of computer technology for the process of design, design-documentation or drafting. As part of the college's program, Havill worked to create a capstone class that provides real-world experiences - instead of just creating drawings, students are presented with a problem that they work collectively to solve using CAD.
After a few years of completing successful projects, the class of 1998 decided to take it to the next level by attempting to use CAD to break a Guinness Book World Record. Their project, the world's largest tricycle, proved to be more challenging than first anticipated, but after months of hard work, the team officially broke the record in August 1998.
This amazing success set the tone for future classes, and they chose to keep the momentum going with projects including the world's largest padlock, the world's largest skateboard, and the world's largest golf tee. Some classes chose not to attempt world records, but they did choose projects that were just as challenging. The 2008 class built a device to help a local, partially-paralyzed man onto a treadmill and support some of his weight during physical and occupational therapy treatments.
The most recent CAD class took on the challenge of designing and constructing the world's largest yo-yo. Members of the team - Ryan Fairbanks, Jacob Nietling, Mark Cocco, Matt Yadro, Jessica Potvin, Viki Branstrom and Adam Hoffman - worked for four months to complete the 11-foot, six-inch yo-yo. The record, previously held by a group of college students from Manchester, England, was officially broken in July 2010, when the 1,625-pound device was dropped by a crane from 100 feet, using a 65-foot rope rated at 81,000 pounds.
More than 100 spectators were on the edge of their seats as the yo-yo began its decent, but none of them could have been as nervous as team leader Ryan Fairbanks. "My entire team was anxious and nervous, especially when we realized the unbelievable force the yo-yo would create," said Fairbanks. "We were all afraid the device would break or malfunction. Once we realized that it worked, and worked safely, relief was my biggest emotion."
Fairbanks said the team couldn't have done any of this without the help of instructor Jerry Havill. He also admits that the recognition the college receives was a motivator in their quest to break a world record. Over the years, as word of the CAD team's accomplishments has spread throughout the state, the events have some prominent attendees, including the governor.
"We felt proud to be able to do this for the college," said Fairbanks. "A small group of students from a little-known school achieving a world record is pretty amazing…it's nice to be recognized for that."
As for his part in the class, Havill says he combines his background in art and engineering to create an environment in which his students are challenged to do their best, but in a fun and interesting way. The students decide what the final project will be based, in part, on how much time each team member is willing to commit. The commitment levels are broken down into three categories - "student", "wannabe crazy" and "crazy". If the entire team labels themselves "crazy", they will probably choose to take on a more intense project. Havill says the yo-yo team started out as "wannabe crazy", but as the project progressed, and they became more and more excited about breaking the record, they seemed to all transition to "crazy", working four to five hours a day, four to five days a week.
"We didn't have to select a world record project, but we all decided it would be cool to try it out," said Fairbanks. "We came into the class knowing that we were going to be tested, and the biggest lesson I learned is that hard work really does pay off."
In addition to actually completing the design and the construction, it is also up to the teams to come up with funding. In the past, the CAD program has been offered some financial support for the class from the college, but Havill has turned that down because he wants his students to raise the funds on their own. He explains that it's important because "it's what people have to go through in the real world." After various fundraising efforts, the yo-yo team was a little short of the money they needed to complete the project, but at the last minute, they were fortunate enough to receive a $5,000 sponsorship from Yo-Yo Factory.com. Material was also donated by area businesses, and local experts provided their knowledge as needed.
After completion, most of the record breaking items are sold to support future projects, but the class is also encouraged to donate some of the funds to local charities. The yo-yo is currently up for sale, and is on display at the college.
Havill says there is already another individual working on breaking the CAD class yo-yo record, but he has told his students that "how long the record is held is not as important as actually breaking it."
"Sometimes the idea of winning can dominate the process," explains Havill. "I think it is more important to instill the idea of good sportsmanship, so I encourage the students to support other groups looking to attempt the same challenges. It's just a good human characteristic."
The current CAD class is in the process of selecting its final project, and they will be the last group to go through the class as it is set up now. Going forward, the program is being redesigned to focus more on drafting, which the college feels will provide more entry-level opportunities for students looking to stay in the Upper Peninsula.
"I have distinct memories of each class and I am really proud of them all," said Havill. "I think overall this class really demonstrates people working together in a positive way to reach a common goal. These students are creating lifelong memories, and it is great to be a part of it!"