The Transformative Power of Arts Education for Detroit's Youth

Laura Scales, a stalwart advocate for the arts, has spent her career crafting immersive and engaging art experiences that captivate all ages. As the Executive Director of Living Arts, a nonprofit organization nestled in the heart of Southwest Detroit, Laura is on a mission to kindle a spark of creativity in Detroit’s youth through the visual, performing, and media arts.

With a robust 15 years of experience in the arts industry, Laura has honed her craft in production management, holding key positions at prominent institutions such as Michigan State University, the University of Chicago, Emerald City Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Her wealth of experience has instilled in her a deep understanding of the arts industry, enabling her to lead Living Arts with unparalleled skill and vision.

Living Arts’ diverse programming is designed to cater to a broad spectrum of ages, spanning early childhood education to K-12 in-school artist residencies, immersive after-school art classes, and more. As the Detroit Affiliate of the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, Living Arts brings arts education and integration to Early Childhood Centers, preschool classes, and local communities, nurturing the artistic talents of children aged 3 months to 5 years and their families. Living Arts’ Teaching Artists are adept at providing arts-integrated education to Detroit public K-12 and local charter schools, aligning their activities with the core curriculum, and equipping teachers with the techniques they need to bring the arts into the classroom.

Laura’s devotion to the arts and her community-centric approach to programming are evident in Living Arts’ initiatives. The organization prioritizes the needs of students and parents/caregivers, providing opportunities for students to lead and influence their programs. In addition to a Teen Council, Living Arts maintains a Parent Council, which empowers parents and students to articulate their specific needs and concerns. The organization harnesses the collective expertise of Teaching Artists, staff members, Board members, and community members to craft an approach that caters to the community’s unique requirements.

Living Arts offers a plethora of after-school classes and workshops in dance, visual art, video animation & production, digital music, and open studios for teens. The organization firmly believes that no one should be turned away due to financial constraints, offering discounts and scholarships to keep their programming accessible to all.

Laura Scales’ unwavering commitment to providing high-quality arts education to youth is both admirable and inspiring. Her leadership has profoundly impacted the Living Arts community, creating a nurturing space where Detroit’s youth can explore their creativity and cultivate their artistic talents. Laura’s work at Living Arts is a testament to the transformative power of the arts, a force capable of uniting communities and sparking a lifelong passion for creative expression.

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