Living Arts is dedicated to strengthening the neighborhoods of Southwest Detroit by cultivating an environment that sparks the imagination and fosters ingenuity through the arts and community development initiatives.
Founded as Southwest Dance in 1999, the program initially offered four weekly classes and served 19 students. From there it grew into a multifaceted arts provider, anchored in dance education. Early in 2008 El Arte Alliance merged with Living Arts to serve as its arts-infused education division. Together, they have created a strong presence in Southwest Detroit, serving over 3,700 community members with quality arts and culture experiences. Today, the organization’s commitment to youth development and cultural enrichment significantly impacts Southwest Detroit.
Living Arts is a community-based nonprofit, tax exempt, 501(c)(3) organization.
YOUNG PEOPLE WHO PARTICIPATE
IN THE ARTS FOR AT LEAST THREE
HOURS PER WEEK:
- Increase academic performance
- Maintain a positive view of themselves and their future
- Are more likely to stay in school and avoid delinquent behavior
- Are better able to communicate anger appropriately
- More often become school and community leaders
Living Arts Hosts Second Annual Spark the Imagination Breakfast
On Wednesday, Living Arts was excited to put on its annual Spark the Imagination Breakfast. The event, hosted at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) and generously sponsored by O’Brien Construction, brought together over 200 people to hear about and experience the Living Arts mission live and in person.
As guests chatted over coffee, they were treated to an Afro Celt dance performance from the Living Arts Youth Ensemble. This practical demonstration of the organization’s mission was followed by a video produced by Natasha Beste, an El Arte teaching artist, elaborating on the importance of Living Arts to the community by cultivating a safe space to imagine, explore, and enact various creative visions.
A testimonial was given by Southwest Dance Student Xamantha Palamino who talked about the impact of dance on her life outside the studio from her classroom to her neighborhood. Following Xamantha, El Arte Master teaching artist Kimberli Boyd spoke about the potential for every student to succeed and the incredible significance of the arts in education. “In order to advance in the 21st Century, we have to stay connected to each other,” Boyd said. While discussing the wonderfully imaginative children she works with every day, she insisted that there is hope for the future: “You can become something that doesn’t even exist right now.” Boyd made all the event attendees excited to see what those future careers will be.
Living Arts is proud to announce that it raised $17,445.00 to continue its commitment to spark the imagination and foster the ingenuity of members of the community of Southwest Detroit in real, effective ways.
Living Arts would like to extend a special thank you to O’Brien Construction for their sponsorship which made the breakfast possible, to MOCAD for providing a beautiful space, and to all the attendees who came and pledged their support.
Living Arts Becomes New Wolf Trap Regional Program in Detroit
Living Arts’ Detroit Wolf Trap Teaching Artists Bring Performing Arts to pre-K classrooms in 17 Detroit Schools and 14 Vistas Nuevas Head Start Centers
Living Arts recently announced a partnership with Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts to expand its specialized early childhood arts integration model to pre-K classrooms in Southwest and metro Detroit. As part of this newly installed Wolf Trap Regional Program, the only in Michigan, the Wolf Trap Institute will train Living Arts’ Early Learning teaching artists in Wolf Trap methodologies of infusing the performing arts into pre-K curriculum to support young children’s social, emotional, physical, language and cognitive development. This training will enhance Living Arts’ El Arte Early Learning program, which has provided arts-infused residencies at Matrix Human Services Vistas Nuevas Head Start Centers in Detroit since 1996. Classroom teachers and children will be engaged in drama, music, and movement experiences during eight-week residencies scheduled to begin in 30 classrooms in mid-March.
Detroit Wolf Trap residencies will be delivered at 14 Matrix Vistas Nuevas Head Start Centers, the largest Head Start provider in Detroit, as well as in pre-K classrooms of 17 Detroit schools. Living Arts was awarded a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant by United Way for Southeastern Michigan, which helped make Detroit Wolf Trap possible. SIF is a 5-year federal grant recognizing the best and most promising practices in early childhood education across the nation. The grant also provides Living Arts the opportunity to align their evidence-based El Arte learning program with the national best-practice model developed by Wolf Trap. In addition to Detroit, United Way is a current sponsor of Southern Nevada Wolf Trap and Delta Wolf Trap in Arkansas, Memphis, and Mississippi.
Wolf Trap’s renowned arts education program, the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, has been in existence for more than 30 years and serves approximately 50,000 children, parents, and teachers in more than 1,200 classrooms across the country each year. In addition to regional programs throughout the U.S., the Institute has taken its services as far as Jamaica, England, Greece, Wales, Canada, Italy, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Brazil, and Mexico.
“We are incredibly excited about the inauguration of Detroit Wolf Trap and the early learning opportunities on the horizon for young children in Detroit,” said Living Arts’ Co-Executive Director/Programs, Cara Graninger. “We also appreciate the generous support Living Arts is receiving from United Way for Southeastern Michigan and matching funders including PNC, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust. It’s clear our community understands the pivotal role the arts play in preparing young children for success in kindergarten and in life.”
In addition to the classroom residency program, Detroit Wolf Trap plans to have Wolf Trap Master Teaching Artists conduct professional development workshops and family workshops throughout the community in support of Detroit schools’ and Living Arts’ commitment to provide early childhood education training for professional educators, parents, and caregivers.
Through Detroit Wolf Trap, 3,200 more Detroit children over the next five years will benefit from performing arts-based lessons that support their literacy, STEM learning, and overall development. To learn more about the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning visit: http://www.wolftrap.org/Education.aspx