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Young Artists “In the Making”

children doing art activities at the MSU Broad

In a field that can feel intimidatingly exclusive, the Park West Gallery, an art gallery in Southfield, Michigan, founded by alumnus Albert Scaglione (M.S. ’63, Ph.D. ’70), chooses to be the very opposite when it comes to art: accessible, educational and welcoming.

Thanks to a recent $90,000 gift to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU, the Park West Foundation is helping to bring hundreds of future artists, art educators and art aficionados into the fold.

The gift supported the creation of In the Making: Young Minds at the MSU Broad, a program offering vital arts exposure to underserved youth in the Lansing School District. The program is designed and facilitated by the Scaglione Art Fellows, a cohort of MSU undergraduate student educators.

Lansing-area schoolchildren interact with a Scaglione Art Fellow during a visit to the Broad Art Museum before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted programming online.

Each semester six Scaglione Art Fellows engage youth in conversations about art during field trips to the museum and guide them through art-making experiences of their own. “A lot of the kids I worked with said they were bad at art, but ended up with at least one piece that they were really proud of,” says one fellow. “Exposing kids to different forms of art can really empower them, and can even help a kid find their potential career path.”

Despite being cut short due to COVID-19, In the Making still served nearly 1,400 Lansing-area schoolchildren during its inaugural run. The students learned how people communicate their lived experiences through art, and then had the opportunity to do so themselves. In total, the Scaglione Art Fellows led their young students to create more than 5,000 works of their own.

“My students became eager each week to dive deeper into the art process,” says one teacher. “To hear their reluctance for the experience to end made this teacher’s heart and soul smile.”

As the program continues in the 2020-2021 school year, the MSU Broad has had to creatively adapt to the changing landscape of online learning due to COVID-19.  The Scaglione Art Fellows will deliver their lessons through video presentations and “live” online interactions with classes. Teachers will be engaged in professional development to support the youths’ art education as well.

“For over 50 years, Park West Gallery has helped introduce millions to the joys of appreciating art,” says Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West. “Art enriches people’s lives and that’s why the Park West Foundation is so passionate about advocating for young people to get more access to the arts. I couldn’t be more proud of the vital, hands-on work that the Scaglione Art Fellows have accomplished in such a short time. I look forward to seeing what they do next.”

New Leadership with a New Approach

The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum welcomed Mónica Ramírez-Montagutas its new director on July 1, 2020.

Ramírez-Montagut brings nearly 20 years of arts and culture experience to the MSU Broad. Throughout her extensive career, her approach to art is known for being both publicly engaged and socially conscious.

“I am elated to welcome Mónica to our Spartan community. Her wealth of experience in arts and culture will be a driving force in furthering the mission of the museum to be both a teaching institution and cultural hub for our community,” says MSU President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “I am confident she will bring a fresh perspective to MSU and a renewed energy to the museum, our university and Michigan’s arts community.”

Ramírez-Montagut most recently served as director at the Newcomb Art Museum at Tulane University, but her diverse professional background also includes work in the fields of performing arts and architecture. In particular, she is an expert on the work of Zaha Hadid, who designed the MSU Broad facility.

“I am thrilled to join the talented team of the MSU Broad and continue to offer extraordinary contemporary art exhibitions and programs while simultaneously exploring ways in which to address critical social issues impacting our communities,” says Ramírez-Montagut. “As a dynamic university museum, MSU Broad is uniquely poised to develop interdisciplinary collaborations and community participation into a powerful stakeholder formula for furthering the field of art while moving the needle toward social justice.”

LEARN MORE about supporting the MSU Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum by contacting Assistant Director of Development Sandra Brown at sandrab@msu.edu or by calling (517) 884-3914.

Author: Devon Barrett, '11