Budget-pinched schools will use newly-announced state support for spring field trips to classical concerts, stage shows, art exhibits and a historical presentation.
Michigan Youth Arts, a nonprofit group based in Royal Oak, this week awarded nearly $39,000 in Arts and Culture Trek grants. Teachers applied for up to $500 to cover transportation costs.
Southeast Michigan students from elementary grades through high school will see the Jewish Ensemble Theater in West Bloomfield, Oakland University's Art Gallery in Rochester, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Detroit Institute of Arts and other destinations.
"It's great because as a small school, we usually depend on parents to be drivers," Mary Pat Gainer with Holy Spirit said. "And with places like Ann Arbor and Detroit, parking is an issue. We have to leave earlier so parents can get there and find parking. It's definitely a sacrafice from the parents, because it's a bit of a distance and gas prices are up."
"All students deserve access to a quality education that includes hands-on experiences," says a statement from Kim Dabbs, director of Michigan Youth Arts. "We are proud to be able to help schools cultivate creativity and innovation."
Grants come from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a state agency. Educators throughout Michigan increasingly rely on fund-raising by parents or other support to finance field trips, according to the council's executive director, John Bracey. "It is staggering how few schools have been able to offer their students this type of experience," he says in a news release. "These trips are far more than an entertainment outing ... and, for some kids, represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Subsidies are shared by 107 schools, including dozens in Southeast Michigan. Grants totaling $38,770 are about $5,100 below the program's 2011 level, which aided 118 schools.
The following list shows all Arts and Culture Trek recipients in Patch communities and where students will go during March, April or May.
- Birmingham: Beverly and Pierce Elementary, Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO)
- Bloomfield Hills: West Maple Elementary, DSO
- Brighton: Hilton Elementary and Holy Spirit Catholic School, Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra
- Canton: South Canton Scholars Charter Academy, DSO; Hulsing Elementary, Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA)
- Dearborn: Howard Elementary, DSO; McCollough/Unis, DIA
- Ferndale: Coolidge Intermediate, Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT)
- Farmington Hills: Harrison High, Oakland University Art Gallery; North Farmington High, MOT
- Plymouth: Smith Elementary, DIA
- Royal Oak: Shrine Catholic Grade School, DSO
- St. Clair Shores: Violet Elementary, Lorenzo Cultural Center in Clinton Township (Becoming Michigan exhibit)
- Trenton: Saint Joseph Parish, Jewish Ensemble Theatre (The Diary of Anne Frank)
- Troy: Susick Elementary, MOT
- Wyandotte: Wilson Middle, DSO