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May 13, 2004

Homelands project wins first Imagining Michigan Award

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The University of Michigan's Arts of Citizenship Program and the Matrix Theatre of Detroit have won the first annual Imagining Michigan Award for the their project, "Homelands." The award is given to the best campus-community partnership in the arts, humanities or design. The award will be presented to the winning team May 24 at the Imagining Michigan Conference in Grand Rapids.

For the past four years, U-M faculty and students, Detroit-based community theater artists and residents of southwest Detroit have collaborated on the project. U-M students researched the history of the neighborhood and conducted writing workshops in the area. Playwright Wes Nethercott of the Matrix then worked with the students to create a play, "Homelands," set in southwest Detroit's Michigan Central Railroad Depot.

"Homelands" debuted in May 2002. A team of U-M students, Arts of Citizenship's director David Scobey and Nethercott produced a guide for other university-community teams interested in this type of collaborative.

"This project is remarkable not only for its artistic quality, but for its focus on the act of collaboration itself, for the networks it built between a neighborhood, a theater, and university," said Julie Ellison, director of Imagining America. "The Homelands partnership and the practices it modeled will strengthen similar collaborations across the state."

The Imagining Michigan Program began in 2000 as part of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, a national consortium based at U-M.

The awards will be presented at the Imagining Michigan conference May 23-24 . The conference, "Strategic Alliances: Putting Culture to Work for Michigan," will convene at Grand Valley State University. A feature of the conference will be "Peninsula," a dance choreographed by U-M professor of dance Peter Sparling to music composed by U-M School of Art and Design graduate Frank Pahl. The large-scale work is the result of two years of road trips to diverse sites throughout the state of Michigan.

For more information, a detailed schedule of conference presentations or to register for the conference, visit www.ia.umich.edu or contact Kristin Hass at (734) 615-8370.


Contact: Juliet Feibel
Phone: (734) 615-8370
E-mail: julietf@umich.edu