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Fall Semester!

Hello Living Arts! Fall semester is almost half-way through, and as mid-terms and assignments start piling up, taking a break to exercise your creativity can be well worth it.  Living Arts is an incubator for creative pursuits, and hopefully in the past few months all of you have been able to experience that for yourselves!

As the second quarter of the year rolls around, here are some upcoming dates and events, spotlight interviews of Living Artists, and recaps of the interdisciplinary all-community meetings we have had so far.  

Living Arts 2015-2016

Community Spotlights!


Mitchell Curtiss

Peer Mentor

Currently one of the Living Arts Peer Mentors, Mitchell is planning a dual major in Architecture and Civil Engineering.  This year being his second year with Living Arts as well as UofM, one difference he says he noticed from last year to this year is how close you become to your fellow peer mentors who you may not have been as close to freshman year.  Mitchell says this is largely due to the fact that the peer mentors spend a good amount of time at the beginning of the year working together during mentor training, which sets up a good foundation for getting to know each other really well.   Besides being a peer mentor, Mitchell is also involved in a new Living Arts project group, the Youtube group.  This group is working towards creating a Living Arts Youtube channel with frequent video postings such as sitcoms, vlogs, gaming videos, and any other ideas members come up with.  


One of the goals of Living Arts is to expose students to majors and disciplines they might not know very much about, and that can often help students choose to switch majors once they have seen how a different one really works.  For Mitchell, it was the UARTS 150 class that showed him a new perspective of architecture.  Before the class he had viewed architecture as more history based, studying what others have built, and not something with enough substance to base a 4 year degree on.  After the class however he said he “realized that the world is never going to run out of buildings that need to be build, and people who need them to be built.”  He said that once he realized Architecture was about creating things, he was much more interested in studying architecture, and he now plans on majoring in just that.  

Having really enjoyed being a Living Arts Peer Mentor so far, Mitchell encourages interested first year students to become peer mentors.  To him the best part of Living Arts is not just the art, its being part of a community of people working together, changing your ideals around creativity, and realizing that instead of trying to get something right on the first try, it’s better to just do it and see what happens.


Corey Smith


An Alumnus of Living Arts and of the University of Michigan, Corey Smith was a member of the very first class of Living Arts students, the first Alumni Board President, and an integral participant in making Living Arts what it is today. Now he has graduated from the University, is working in a history museum in downtown Chicago, and has been able to see how everything he learned while in Living Arts connects to the wider world.  Here are his thoughts, which are best left in his own eloquent words.


"I fell in love with discovery early in my college career - listening to experimental music in the dorm room, dancing in classes I should have been singing in, making daring plans to make something really new, no really, something entirely new with my friends. This has held with me, even as I’ve moved to Chicago, a city that can feel sometimes almost unfathomably gigantic and alienating.

It is still these moments of discovery that I seek out. A bit of history about my neighborhood. A magical moment in rehearsal. The experience of performing my music for strangers. And, weirdly enough, now that I’m outside of college, I feel like there are more chances to collaborate and create with strangers whose focus is far away from my own. It is scary to say “I don’t know what you are doing, can we work together?” I’m not afraid of these conversations, though, because of all the chances I had while in school.
Life in Chicago has been exciting and overwhelming and surprising.
I’ve learned that 5AM is very early and requires being asleep.
I’ve learned that people can be extremely rude but also extremely kind.
I’ve learned that cities are the same as towns are the same as farms, except for the amount of sales tax.
Maybe the most exciting thing about being here in a new city is the feeling of walking into an auditorium, an independent bookstore, a stranger’s house, and not knowing anything about what is going to happen. It’s a breathtaking moment.“

- Corey Smith


Painting The Rock

Saturday, October 31st, 5pm

Open to both Living Arts Alumni and current Community Members! Donuts and Cider will be provided, as well as spray paint to cover The Rock in Living Arts swag! Costumes are optional but welcome.

Sign-Up on Facebook Here.


Location: George Washington Park, Corner of Hill st. and Washtenaw. 


All-Community Meeting Recaps


All-Community Meeting with Andrew DeOrio

This year's September All-Community Meeting focusing on Creative Computing was led by Dr. Andrew DeOrio.  In this hands-on session, students were creative makers and problem solvers, and engineered a solution to a problem. The main tools used were computing devices called Makey-makeys that interface a computer to the real world.  By the end of the session, each team had a working demo and had experienced the creative side of engineering.  

For more information about Professor DeOrio, click here



All-Community Meeting with Amy Chavasse

October's All-Community meeting was led by Professor Amy Chavasse, featuring a dance workshop entitled "Making Meaning Through Movement". 
Students used influences from words, poems, videos and each other to create unique dance routines and movements

For more information on Professor Chavasse, click here.



42 Hours Of Re_Creativity

From 8pm on October 23rd, to 2pm on October 25th, 5 teams competed for three prizes by re-creating items to give them new purpose along the theme of "Improving the Human Environment."  Here are the three that won!


First Place


This team created a backpack with multi-functional contents, including a hammock, chair and table, to make relaxing outside more convenient. 

Bonnie Jiang, Moona Li, Yan Du and Joyce Chen.




This team created a "Social Study", using the structural benefits of cardboard to create versatile study spaces designed for individual students.

Angelina Fahs, Clayton Zimmerman, Daniel Korth, Alexander Kraft and Srishti Gupta.


Third Place


This team created a hanging chair made completely out of rope woven from plastic bags, combining strength and versatility. 

Alex Mattia, Chih-Kang Chang and Steve Riley.