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Detroit Announces Expanded Art and Music Partnership Program

  • The Detroit Public Schools Community School District is redoubling its efforts to bolster arts education. 

    Last fall 24 professional arts groups – with expectations of more signing on – committed to providing programming in multiple art forms either in kind or at no cost this school year to the Detroit School of Arts (DSA) high school. 

    Detroit Schools Superintendent Now there are plans to remake four middle schools into conservatories that will serve as pathways to admission to DSA. The idea is to nurture young talent and position DSA as the premiere school for the performing arts in the metropolitan area. 

    The middle schools all will offer dance, theater, visual arts, instrumental music and vocal music as well as arts integration into core academic subjects. They will receive support from the 24 arts partners as well as from DSA students and faculty. 

    “The Detroit School of Arts is a beautiful facility that is under-utilized as an asset to the arts, students and the city,” Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, said in a statement. “As we continue to rebuild the school system, we are committed to the whole child, [and] this is a critical piece of the process.” 

    The outside art groups will offer artist residencies, master classes and workshops by notable professional artists, including guest theatrical directors, choreographers and designers. There will be after-school, weekend and summer arts training events and internships. There also will be college dual enrollment courses, field trips to major arts institutions, free tickets to performances and access to music libraries and documents. 

    In addition, the high school’s curriculum has been expanded to include two new majors – literary arts and multimedia arts. And, in collaboration with one of its partners, DSA has begun providing a free Saturday arts academy open to all middle-school students. 

    “Talent isn’t the issue, it’s opportunity,” Vitti told the Detroit NewsDetroit Students

    The arts partners include the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Educational Theater Association and its JumpStart Musical Theater program, the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, Motown Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit Jazz Festival and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance, among others. 

    The conservatories will open in the fall at Brenda Scott, Duke Ellington, John R. King and Spain middle schools. An audition and application process starts up this spring.