The Michigan Performance Outreach Workshop (MPOW) is a student organization at the University of Michigan dedicated to sharing the positive powers of the performing arts to inspire youth in Detroit. Through arts-‐based collaboration, MPOW provides a mutually beneficial environment: University students can exercise creative leadership skills in an educational outreach setting; while Detroit Public School students explore possibilities in higher education by building relationships to the University and its students at large. MPOW hopes to foster creative expression, build self-‐esteem, and strengthen the community.
The Workshop Event
Each semester, MPOW creates a one-‐day program that exposes Detroit Pubic School students to a diverse array of performing arts. The event includes performances by University of Michigan students, a healthy lunch, and hands-‐on workshops in collaboration with university students. The event is cost-‐free for participating Detroit Public Schools.
This fall semester, MPOW presented its sixth bi-annual workshop event on Friday, April 4th, 2014. Participating schools included Mark Twain Elementary in Southwest, Noble Elementary-‐Middle School, Rutherford Winans Academy, and A.L. Holmes Elementary on the East side. For this event, MPOW hosted…
- 160 Detroit Public Schools students
- 50 Group Leaders
- 30 Workshop Leaders
MPOW always strives to include students all across campus. This year, volunteers hailed from the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, Engineering, LSA, Ross School of Business, and the Penny Stamps School of Art & Design.
Even some non-‐university volunteers joined the fun!
As always, Detroit Public Schools students were greeted by a wide variety of musical and theatrical performances. In an effort to showcase an array of performing arts, MPOW presented 12 diverse acts by students from across campus. Performances included FunKtion, Disney character impressions, Rhythm Tap, Amazin’ Blue, electronic hip-‐hop music, the Vencedores, and a silly piano performance by our beloved clowns.
After watching an energizing performance, the students participated in 3 distinct workshops. This semester, our workshops included dance, improvisation, a cappella, vocal percussion, original theatre, electronic beat-‐making, Brazilian drumming, and film.
This semester, MPOW included a 10-‐ minute reflection period at the end of the day. During this reflection, Group Leaders led the elementary students
through a series of questions designed to make the students think deeper about their experience. When asked if they would change anything about the event, many students replied, “I would make it longer.”
Expanding Programming and Sustainability
MPOW was once a group of students planning a single-‐day event. Now, we are a full-‐fledged student organization! While MPOW still host its bi-‐annual event in Ann Arbor, we now manage ACTING OUT!, an outreach theatre troupe that performs in Detroit Public Schools. In addition, MPOW runs a weekly theatre workshop with students at Detroit School of the Arts. By engaging Detroit students in the performing arts on a regular basis, they have the opportunity to further develop their own creative purpose. Now in its third year, the MPOW event is a staple in many SMTD students’ college experience. We hope they catch the “outreach bug” and join our weekly programming in the future.
If you would like to help support MPOW or learn more about our programs, please e-‐mail email@example.com.