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Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts celebrates Thirteen Years of its “MOSAIC Art and Dance Outreach” program alongside Benzie County Elementary Schools
For the thirteenth consecutive year, Oliver Art Center has placed three skilled artists in every third-grade classroom in Benzie County to undertake a remarkable program: in collaboration with students and teachers, instructors Meg Louwsma, Vickie Slater, and program coordinator Eliza Forrest develop a theme that students study and engage through dance, visual art, and writing. The program runs annually from early January until mid-March, when a performance is staged in the Benzie Central auditorium for a standing room only crowd of parents, friends, and family. Students make their own backdrops, dances, and design the T-shirts they wear. This year’s production is taking place on Thursday, March 15 at 7:00pm at the Benzie High School Auditorium.
This year’s theme is Earth’s Climate. This incorporates all the different ecosystems found on earth: forest, polar regions, savanna, tropical, and desert. This theme touches on schools’ existing science, geography, and history curriculums in a number of ways while also lending itself to beautiful and fun interpretations in dance and visual art. This overlap of hard science and creativity is a cornerstone aspect of MOSAIC. It increases scientific and artistic literacy along with independent thinking skills. The final performance builds self-esteem and teamwork in the students. Oliver Art Center Executive Director Mercedes Michalowski said, “Our instructors work very hard with the students to put on a quality program. The participating schools – their teachers and principals – have done a tremendous job welcoming the program and making sure the students enjoy and benefit from the program.”
MOSAIC thrives within a context of deep dedication to art education and outreach led by Oliver Art Center. MOSAIC has reaches over 2,300 young students in the past twelve years with dance and visual arts in the classroom as the schools could not have done alone. It’s Oliver Art Center’s strategy to mix the exceptional long-term outreach program MOSAIC with school tours of its galleries, and the continually expanding Summer Youth Arts program.
MOSAIC and OAC’s summer Youth Art Classes are made possible this year in part because of the generous support of the Panther Parents, Jewell Foundation, and two major anonymous contributors. The MOSAIC program costs just over $15,000 per year and the Oliver Art Center is always looking for additional support.
The Oliver Art Center exhibitions are open to the public free of admission Mon.-Fri. 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sun. 12 p.m. -4 p.m. Please visit www.oliverartcenterfrankfort.org or contact 231-352-4151 for more information.