RCAH student Emily Nott recognized for innovations in civic engagement

MSU Federal Credit Union (MSUFCU) and the RCAH are pleased to announce the winner of the first MSUFCU RCAH Dean’s Choice Award for Innovations in Civic Engagement.

At the RCAH’s commencement luncheon on Saturday, May 4, 2013, Emily Nott, a student in the RCAH also pursuing a BFA in Art Education, was recognized by MSUFCU and the RCAH for her work in fostering innovation using the arts and humanities in community settings. April Clobes, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at MSUFCU, states, “Giving back to our community is one of MSU Federal Credit Union's core values, and we are passionate about supporting programs that create lasting, positive impacts on as many people’s lives as possible.” Clobes continues, “The student submissions for the MSUFCU RCAH Dean’s Choice Award were outstanding examples of the innovative ways in which the RCAH and its students engage with our community, and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute toward this project.”

Through the MSUFCU RCAH Dean’s Choice Award, Nott was awarded $2,500, and is planning to contribute a portion of the funds to Lansing’s REACH Studio Art Center to support a capacity-building technology purchase and a tent for the summer art truck program.

Through the award application process, Nott detailed her two years of work in coordinating the summer art truck and community art programming within a Teen Open Studio at REACH. Teen Open Studio Community Art Projects, or CAPS, connect students with community members to create public art that develops a sense of place in Lansing. As students learn how to propose, design, and carry out projects with mentorship through REACH, they also develop art skills and confidence through hands-on experiences and are able to see their connection to the community. “Emily has really made Teen Studio,” said Jeana-Dee Allen Rogers, Education Coordinator at REACH. She continues, “It has been amazing to watch how Emily integrates the teens together and with Lansing as a whole. She’s been able to listen to the teens and find what they are passionate about and make it work for the entire community.”

As a result of the Teen Open Studio programming in 2011 to 2012, seven community art projects across mid-Michigan were chosen by the teens through the competitive proposal process and implemented by the students and other local artists. Murals were created at The Avenue Cafe, Just B Yoga, and the Information Technology and Empowerment Center; a rhinoceros sculpture was installed at Potter Park Zoo; photographs “popped-up” in a vacant storefront in Lansing. These collaborative projects continue now as the teen artists, with Nott’s engagement, are developing a sculpture in downtown Lansing and accepting applications for projects across the community next year. Regarding future steps, Nott says she plans to stay on as Teen Open Studio coordinator over the next two years. She states, “I believe in the arts and in this community, and that together they can flourish.”

With these ongoing and completed projects in mind, the REACH Studio Art Center and award review teams have been most impressed by Nott’s ability to engage in community as a means of affecting change. Stephen Esquith, Dean of the RCAH, states, “Emily has taken the essentials of the RCAH’s model for civic engagement—passion, insight into oneself and the community, the practice of building collaborative relationships, and action through positive social impacts—to work with teens to reimagine the places they inhabit for themselves and their community.”   

For additional information about the MSUFCU RCAH Dean’s Choice Award for Innovations in Civic Engagement, contact Stephen Esquith at (517) 355-0212.

View a video
highlighting Teen Open Studio's recent collaboration with Impression 5 Science Center.

Photo credits: Dan Hartley and Communications and Brand Strategy at MSU

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