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arts

front of house with mural
Justin Boyd / Courtesy of Yvette Rock

There has been a lot of discussion over the past five months about school closures in Michigan. In January, we explored what the history of school closings in Detroit have meant for both kids and neighborhoods in our documentary We Live Here.

The week before we aired the documentary, the state’s School Reform Office released a list of 38 schools that faced closure at the end of the school year because of persistently low test scores. 

Gompers Elementary-Middle School in Detroit’s Brightmoor neighborhood was one of the schools on that list.

Art museum
Pavel Bibiksarov / Flickr CC / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Exposure to the arts improves a child's lifelong outcomes. Arts education increases the likelihood of graduating from high school; attending and finishing college; and makes students more likely to register to vote.

And having access to art and cultural resources may also improve key aspects of social well-being in disadvantaged neighborhoods, according to a recent study.

three girls on stage in flapper costumes
Courtesy of 4th Wall Theatre Company

Did you ever dream of seeing your name on a Broadway marquee as a kid?

If so, you probably have some fond memories of memorizing lines and making costumes for school plays. But for kids with intellectual and developmental disabilities, finding a spotlight isn’t always easy.

Musicians team up with at-risk youth in songwriting workshop
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

The girls who live on the Vista Maria campus in Dearborn Heights have all experienced some kind of serious abuse or neglect. Some are the victims of human trafficking, all are in the foster care system. They come to Vista Maria to work through the trauma and heal.

Giving Kalamazoo youth offenders one more chance

Sep 20, 2013

We hear about the need for "wrap around services" for small children, but what about young adults who just need one more chance? Our publishing partner, Southwest Michigan's Second Wave, has an article this week about a successful Kalamazoo-based youth diversion pilot project. Working in conjunction with the juvenile justice system, a local spoken word program, Kinetic Affect, is piloting a program that they hope will be replicated in other communities. As Kirk Latimer, one of the program's founders told Second Wave, "The judge isn’t ready to give up on them and neither are we."

Courtesy of the West Michigan Arts and Technology Center / courttesy of WMCAT

Only a handful of public schools in Grand Rapids still offer art classes of any kind. To fill the gap, the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology (WMCAT) offers free art education at their facility in downtown Grand Rapids.

State of Opportunity's Story Booth stopped by WMCAT this summer. The booth goes out across the state to capture stories we might not otherwise hear.

Teenagers participating in various summer art education programs shared stories about what art means to them.  

Photo courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth

Every once and a while, our State of Opportunity team receives a story pitch from someone in the community who's trying to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged youth. This is one of those stories. It’s a piece about boys, girls, and the universal language of music.