Ann Arbor Youth Art and Music Month in full swing downtown
Andrew Turner I Intern
Artwork by local students is providing an extra feast for the eyes of downtown window-shoppers this month.
Nearly 30 Ann Arbor businesses have made space in their display windows for pieces of art from all grade levels in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, as the city celebrates Youth Art and Music Month.
And some of those passers-by would like to do more than just gaze at the art. 16 Hands and Carol Roeda Studio both had people approach them with interest in purchasing some of the pieces.
“I think it really says something about peoples’ interest in local art and the childrens' art,” said Rick Wedel, co-owner of 16 Hands.
AAPS partnered with the Ann Arbor Main Street Area Association and the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra again this year to bring the students' art to the city’s libraries and downtown businesses.
Underground Printing is participating in Youth Art and Music Month for the first time and is showcasing art from students at Community High School for the month of March.
“When they brought it over I was really impressed,” said Megan Kearney, a manager at Underground Printing.
Displays include paintings, drawings, photographic collages — and even handmade throw pillows from a Wines Elementary 4th grade class, which are on display at 16 Hands art gallery.
Andrew Turner I Intern
The Black Pearlis participating in the event for the second year. General Manager Michael Hole said he thinks it is a good way to connect with the community, and he enjoys the art from Huron High School students that hangs in the restaurant's windows.
Hole said he was particularly impressed with some of the black and white graphic design pieces from 11th graders Brandon Peach and Jacob Daws-Lazar, and 10th grader Andrea Dekker.
A reception for the participants and their families was hosted at Palio restaurant on March 13, and maps were available for walking tours. The highlight of the tour for many students was finding their own piece of art to show their families.
New this year to Youth Art and Music Month is the collaboration with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. After the reception and art walk, the AASO held a concert at the Michigan Theater as part of its Family Concert Series. With the help of grants from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and the Ann Arbor Public Schools Education Foundation, tickets to the show were provided for 300 participating artists and their families.
“I’m higher than a kite about this partnership,” said Mary Steffek Blaske, executive director of the AASO. “It really all works together for the kids.”
Blaske encouraged art teachers to have the kids base their art on a theme of earth and water to accompany the concert theme, “Sea to Shining Sea.” While the symphony played, a slideshow of many of the pieces were on display behind the orchestra.
MSAA Executive Director Maura Thomson said they have been working with the school district to coordinate this event for more than 10 years.
“It’s been really important for both our schools and our downtown businesses,” Thomson said.
Downtown businesses will continue to display the artworks through the end of the month, and a list of participating businesses can be found at the Main Street Area Association website.
Andrew Turner is an intern for the Community Team at AnnArbor.com. Contact the staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.