Building a Healthy, Vibrant Arts Scene in Farmington/Hills

Free Art FridayA key mission for kickstART farmington as we promote the good of Farmington and Farmington Hills through the arts is to support the development of a healthy and vibrant arts scene in our community.

Several years ago, Renny Pritikin, an experienced director of arts organizations and galleries, and currently the Chief Curator of San Francisco’s Contemporary Jewish Museum, wrote a prescription for a healthy arts scene. It provides an interesting set of criteria for us to evaluate the health and vibrancy of the arts scene in our community.

Below are his 23 qualities or characteristics:

  • A large pool of artists: there’s a critical mass or tipping point that makes a scene
  • Teaching opportunities which help support the pool of artists
  • Active art schools which feed into the pool of artists and give artists teaching opportunities
  • Studio space that’s affordable as well as live/work laws that allow artists to occupy light industrial spaces
  • Alternative spaces that given exhibition and residence opportunities for new art and ideas
  • Adventurous art dealers who take on new artists, support artists with sales
  • Adventurous collectors who buy locally and buy new work (and) make their collections available to students
  • Sophisticated writers to document, discuss and promote new ideas/continuing regional development
  • Publications for them to write for
  • Newspaper critics who are thoughtful and sophisticated and talented
  • Fellowships and grants available for artists and writers
  • Accessible museums and curators who talk to each other and do studio visits with local artists
  • Interested audiences who attend all of the above and read about it
  • Access to specialized materials or businesses (such as high tech materials in the SF Bay Area or film industry in LA)
  • Social space where new ideas are being generated about art, about society, about the role of art
  • Hangouts, parties, salons, lecture series. Restaurants, bars where a sense of community is manifested
  • Articulate artist leaders
  • Heroes, iconoclasts, villains (people everyone love to hate)
  • Artist in residency opportunities
  • Progressive political climate that encourages art
  • Opportunities for artists to get involved in politics
  • Opportunities for public art (city or private)
  • Events that bring people together, for example, scheduled multigallery opening nights

What would you add?

What do you think is missing from our community in order to develop a vibrant arts scene?

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Missed “Art of the Matter”? View the Panel Discussion

In March the Farmington Area Arts Commission sponsored the first Art of the Matter event, a discussion with area arts professionals about careers in the arts.

If you missed it you can view a video of the discussions here.


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What to do in Farmington/Hills This Week (4/14/14): New Plays, Hockeytown, and more Theater

Riley Park in FarmingtonCheck out some of the fun arts & cultural events to look forward to in the Farmington/Farmington Hills community this week:

Thursday, April 17th, at 6:00 pm: The Damned Spot Theatre ClubDamned Spot Theatre Club presents the Festival of New Works at the Smith Theatre at Oakland Community College, Orchard Ridge.

Friday, April 18th, at 6:00 pm, & Saturday, April 19th, at 11:00 am: The 3rd Annual New Playwright’s Festival, at the Studio Theatre Cafe, at Oakland Community College, Orchard Ridge. 3rd Annual New Playwright's Festival


Saturday, April 19th, at 2:00 pm: Hockey News contributor and Windsor Star sports columnist Bob Duff discusses his new photo history of Hockeytown’s Golden Age, Original Six Dynasties: The Detroit Red Wings,  containing hundreds of previously unseen photographs taken from the old Detroit Times archive, with portraits and action shots of the team’s most legendary players. At the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile.

Now through April 22, from 8:30 am-4:30 pm: View colorfAnthony Macioceul oil paintings by Anthony Macioce, inspired by his lively Italian family heritage, at the City Gallery, Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile, in Farmington Hills. 

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kickstART Your Weekend with Some Good Reads: On a Civic Footprint, Healthy Communities, and People Habitat

Our Friday update here at kickstART farmington highlights some communitygreat articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make our community even better!

1. On an organization’s “civic footprint”: Your civic footprint results from investing in the community; however, the amount of return on that investment is dependent upon how well the organization understands its community.

2. How we can build a healthier world togetherBy improving our living conditions, we can make the healthy choice a much easier choice.

3. A review of Kaid Benfield’s book People HabitatWe’ll have to grow and build our way out of the problems left behind by the sprawl era, and we’ll have to do that by shaping cities and repairing suburbs to create places people really love.

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“The Arts Make Science and Invention Possible”: 5 Reasons Farmington Public Schools Should Not Cut Arts Education

Super 8 Movie Night with VordakThe Farmington Public Schools are considering a budget that would reduce elective time in music and art for elementary students. We believe this would be a mistake and urge the Board of Education to consider the 5 reasons below to reject these cuts when finalizing the budget.

1. Music and the arts play a significant role in our understanding of what it means to be human, how to express our unique value, and how to relate and empathize with others: “Learning to create and appreciate visual aesthetics may be more important than ever to the development of the next generation of children as they grow up.”

2. Various studies have demonstrated that arts education for young children improves their vocabulary, communication skills, and memory, and may lead to greater success in math and science.

According to Robert Root-Bernstein, professor of Physiology and MacArthur Prize Fellow at Michigan State University: “Studies show that neither mathematical nor verbal reasoning tests are useful indicators for future careers in science and technology, but high visual imaging ability is. One study found that high aptitude in arts and music are much more predictive of career success in any field than the results of grades, IQ, achievement or any other standardized measures. The arts, despite a reputation for being subjective, emotional and non-intellectual, make science and invention possible.”

3. In 1998 a group of ten leading educational organizations in the U.S., including the American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, National Parent Teacher Association and the National School Boards Association, adopted a Statement of Principles regarding “The Value and Quality of Arts Education”. Some of the key principles agreed upon include:

  • To ensure a basic education in the arts for all students, the arts should be recognized as serious, core academic subjects.
  • Education policy makers should incorporate the multiple lessons of recent research concerning the value and impact of arts education.
  • A comprehensive sequential curriculum and qualified arts teachers must be recognized as the basis and core for substantive arts education by all students.
  • Arts education programs should be grounded in rigorous instruction, provide meaningful assessment of academic progress and performance, and take their place within a structure of direct accountability to school officials, parents and the community.
  • Community resources that provide exposure to the arts … offer valuable support and enhancement to an in-school arts education … however, these kinds of activities cannot substitute for a comprehensive, balanced, sequential arts education taught by qualified teachers.

According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, “A well-rounded education is simply too vital to our students’ success to let the teaching of the arts and humanities erode.”

4. “The greatest scientists are artists as well,” according to no less an authority on the subject than Albert Einstein, an amateur violinist. Einstein also noted that “I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music” and claimed “the theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition.

5. The arts and creative industry sector is vital to Michigan’s economy and future success (comprising 75,000 workers, nearly 10,000 businesses, and generating $3.6 billion statewide in total wages) and we need to support the education and development of our future artists, writers, architects, musicians, dancers, and designers, from an early age.

For all these reasons and more we hope the FPS Board of Education will reject the proposed reduction in arts education and support the creative development of our young students.

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Making Architecture That is Engaging to a City

Chicago's Aqua Tower

Chicago’s Aqua Tower, designed by Studio Gang Architects. PHOTO BY STEVE HALL © HEDRICH BLESSING

Architect Jeanne Gang talks about sources of inspiration and the importance of architecture that engages a city:

So many times, inspiration comes from just reading about a subject and where the mind starts to take you. It starts getting more and more exciting the more that you build up that knowledge base.

The other kind of inspiration comes when you are not really trying, and you are just experiencing the city or something in nature; it is from direct observation of the world around you.

I think the most important thing has been to make architecture that is engaging to the city, to make the city a compelling place so that people want to be living in a more compact city. For example, something like the Aqua Tower…. The amenities and the architecture are working together to make the building be something that can draw people in, from empty nesters from the suburbs to students who want to live downtown, to live in a city and be close to the cultural amenities, to be close to work, and to reduce reliance on automobiles. 

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What to do in Farmington/Hills this Week (4/7/14): Classical Piano, Puppets, Eggs, and Poetry

Riley Park in FarmingtonCheck out some of the fun arts & cultural events to look forward to in the Farmington/Farmington Hills community this week:

Monday, April 7th: Art in the Afternoon, for elementary age children at Farmington Community Library, downtown Farmington branch, from 2:00-4:00 pm. More information at 248-553-0300 x220.

Wednesday, April 9th: Professor Louis Nagel of the University of Michigan presents An Afternoon of Classical Piano, at 1:00 pm, Smith Theatre, OCC Orchard Ridge Campus, 27055 Orchard Lake Rd.

Wednesday, April 9th: The Music Student Showcase, 7:30 pm, at the Smith Theatre at Oakland Community College.

Thursday, April 10th: LollaPalooza Puppets, Kim Washington and her LollaPalooza Puppetsadorable, furry puppets will perform Cinderella, The Gingerbread Man, and various musical skits for all ages, at 7:00 pm, at the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd.

Friday, April 11th: The Detroit Dance Collective presents their season finale concert, “What’s New,” on April 11, at 8 pm, at the Smith Theatre, Oakland Commnity College, 27055 Orchard Lake Rd. The evening features the premiere of “Indivisible,” a theatrical, thought-provoking work choreographed by Barbara Selinger, DDC’s artistic director and award winning choreographer. “Indivisible” includes projections of historic images of the Heidelberg Project in Detroit, photographed by Bernadine Vida. 

Saturday, April 12th: Cash Mob Farmington is back at it supporting our local businesses. This week come out to GG’s Boutique starting at 10:00 am, 23338 Farmington Rd. Think SPRING, think EASTER, think about a gift for Mom! Also, just two doors down at Luigi’s Trattoria they are offering 20% off your food order if you mention the cash mob.

Spring Egg HuntSaturday, April 12th: The Farmington Area Junior Chamber will host its annual Spring Egg Hunt from 10 am to noon on Saturday, April 12 at Shiawassee Park, 32340 Shiawassee Rd. The event includes carnival games and prizes until noon. Individuals interested in attending should RSVP at Admission is FREE to individuals who RSVP by noon on Friday, April 11.

Saturday, April 12th: Farmington Community Library Poetry Festival, a day long event featuring mini-writing workshops, activities, speakers, and poetry readings, featuring local poets and writers J. Joseph Kane, Joy Gaines-Friedler, Kelly Fordon, Cindy Frenkel, and John F. Buckley. At the Farmington Community Library, 32737 W. 12 Mile Rd.

Now through April 22, from 8:30 am-4:30 pm: View colorfAnthony Macioceul oil paintings by Anthony Macioce, inspired by his lively Italian family heritage, at the City Gallery, Costick Center, 28600 11 Mile, in Farmington Hills.

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