ACES students to REACH higher with Art in the Loft

Courtesy Photo Above, students participate in the REACH program at Art in the Loft. If grant funding is approved, ACES students will be able to learn culinary and visual arts skills in a hands-on setting this fall at Art in the Loft.

ALPENA — If the grant is approved, Alternative Choices for Educational Success (ACES) Academy will partner with Art in the Loft to let students learn about visual and culinary arts through the REACH program.

The Recognize Everyone’s Abilities and Creative Hearts program will give students the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in a professional setting.

Art in the Loft Executive Director Justin Christensen-Cooper said Art in the Loft will hear on Sept. 13 from the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs if the grant has been awarded. Art in the Loft and ACES asked for $12,000 for rental of the arts center workshop space, equipment use, supplies, and other items.

“We’re putting a different spin on it by using visual and culinary arts by means of learning,” Christensen-Cooper said Tuesday. “We’ve noticed students flourish from this atmosphere and it also engages them.”

Fifteen ACES students who are seen at risk of not graduating high school will work with professional artists at Art in the Loft for 12 weeks. They will learn about balancing nutrition, recipe preparation, photograph images of their work, and develop visual representation and organization of images and recipes.

The end goal of the program is each student producing their own cookbook.

Alpena High School has had a program in place for a couple of years and Art in the Loft wants to expand that program to ACES, according to Matt Poli, Alpena Public Schools director of Innovative Projects and Marshall Plan Initiatives.

“It takes what’s happening at the high school and really tailors it to ACES,” Poli said. “It gives them that hands-on learning opportunity and really combines fine arts and visual aspects into things like food prep. It’s kind of a neat opportunity.”

Students will also discover creative works of other artists while they explore their own creativity and developing their artistic skills.

Each week, students will learn at least one principle of design by participating in a hands-on visual arts project. That will be followed by a hands-on project in the culinary arts center.

After the 12-week program is completed, students will complete the National ServSafe Program, which will give them employability skills and knowledge, Christensen-Cooper said.

“It’s kind of a neat opportunity and it’s kind of a win, win, win,” Poli said.

“It gives the students one more option to succeed,” Christensen-Cooper said.

Julie Goldberg can be reached at 989-358-5688 or jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com. Follow her on Twitter @jkgoldberg12.