Mosaic Detroit: performing arts that engage and inspire the youth

It is proven that through art people can let go of a lot of things in their lives. It is also proven that art is a way of expressing feelings thus a way of letting your own reality go. It is the arts that give many people a chance to express themselves and to be who they want to be within society; it also gives some people purpose in their lives and it helps them overcome hard situations in their lives.

In Detroit there is a charity called Mosaic that understands exactly that: what it feel to have something in your life that matters and that is worth fighting for. And that is art. Specifically, performing arts.

Mosaic Detroit started as  Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit in 1992 when  Rick Sperling who was an actor and director saw many of the budget programs being cut by the government in Detroit schools and the art programs were the first one to be affected. He did not want this to happen because from his experience as guest artist he had seen a lot of talent in public schools around the Detroit area. Also, he had seen that the same talent that was being neglected needed more advanced arts training to reach good levels and to make it a way of life for many.  As Mosaic got bigger and bigger they understood that the program was being very successful and that many of the students achieved very high expectations, graduated from school with honors and that many of them even went into college. This is amazing because many of the Mosaic students come from minorities and from low-income families, and  over 95% of them graduate and are accepted into college, which is a standard over the national average for students with the same living conditions.

All the programs found in Mosaic reach many children and young adults in the Detroit area. They have performances by advanced Main Stage acting and vocal music companies and they do it 3 times per year at the Detroit Institute of Arts. They also have a lot of community performances and they have “First Stage” and intermediate “Second Stage” programs for all the people that are wishing to get in touch with the performing arts.

While there is a big focus on the development of artists and students, there is also an enormous effort behind stages to  build strong relationships with various Metro Detroit service organizations  that support their idea and aim of teaching young children about performing arts that will help them in their physical, mental and emotional well-being. With all this, the students that come from Mosaic are considered very well trained and highly commitment to hard work.

Additional support comes from the people and actors themselves. Many artists and many respected people in the art community are always looking for a way to help Mosaic, either by serving as staff or by donating time, effort or money into the movement and by also sharing their knowledge with the community. And the people help out by giving their time and effort. Also, the audience is a core support of Mosaic with their permanent support and loyalty for attendance and financial collaboration.

Other ways of funding  Mosaic come from public and private sources. It is more or less a philanthropy style of giving. Apart from being a high selling youth group, Mosaic has many Individual donors and tickets sales provide a wide base of funds that can be used for growing purposes.

Here are 4 of their programs:

  1. First Stage Program: this program is aimed at very young artists that are 5th  or 10th graders  and its shows them the high-energy, empowering, and inspiring performing arts training that Mosaic offers to its members. In this program the participants learn about the very basics of performance such as projection, movement and articulation using games, doing speeches and monologues and acting out scenes. This program is totally free.
  2. Second Stage, training to Performance: this program takes kids that are 11-16 and introduce them to the Mosaic Method with key concepts for the performing arts.
  3. Main Stage: Training THROUGH Performance: this program is aimed at young artists and gives them a total immersion to the Mosaic Model of Youth Development through the Arts. In this stage kids perform and are part of rehearsals,  recitals, studio productions and many more.
  4. The Next Stage. This is the final part of the art training. This is where students become real performers and start their theatre and music professionals in real settings with real performances for the Detroit Zoo and many other venues

Be sure to also read this post about The Outstanding job of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis

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An Inspiring Nonprofit Bringing Art to Young Detroiters

Most of us know Detroit for being the world’s automotive center or the biggest city in Michigan. Known as the Motor City and an important commercial hub (especially with Canada), Detroit has positioned itself as the city of champions. However, a few know that the city also has an artsy side that aims to benefit the youth and to position Detroit as a cultural reference in the United States. This is why organizations such as the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit contribute successfully to the cultural development of the city from a philanthropic approach.

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Image courtesy of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit at mosaicdetroit.org

The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is located in the southeast of the city and it is recognized as one of the cultural jewels of Detroit and the Midwest. Operating as an organization dedicated to producing student-driven performances, for more than twenty years this institutions has served more than 7,000 young artists in the city of Detroit, who have done theatrical presentations and tours worldwide. This has helped the city gain some recognition as a center for arts and culture where young and talented people can be part of different artistic expressions and performing arts.

How it all started

Founded in 1992 by the actor and director Rick Sperling, the Mosaic was created to serve young artists in Metro Detroit. With 25 students during its inaugural year, the organization evolved to serve hundreds of students during its first years of operation. Allowing youths to participate in different stage programs over the years.

The Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was created when schools budget cuts Fforced institutions to eliminate most art programs. This inspired Rick Sperling to start the Mosaic offering the chance to young talents to be trained in advanced arts and perform in different stages. This philanthropic initiative led Sperling to observe how art programs helped in the development of youths allowing the institution to grow and have an active participation in the life of students who wanted to attend college. Over 95% of students who have been part of the Mosaic have been admitted to college, exceeding the national average in this area.

As an important part of the Mosaic history, Yosef Meystel, who studied at SAIC Chicago, must highlight its outstanding efforts to benefit youths who come from low-income families in Detroit and its Metropolitan Area. Nowadays, the institution benefits hundreds of students each year in more than 50 Metro Detroit schools. Supported in a large proportion of donors and volunteers.

Related: Artreach: empowering and connecting people through visual art

The Mosaic’s mission

The Mosaic’s mission is to provide innovative training and mentoring programs and opportunities to young actors, singers, and stage technicians. This is possible thanks to the contribution of each one of these individuals to activities beyond the stage that allows the organization to be sustainable while it empowers youths to maximize their potential through theatrical and musical art.

This philanthropic institution is a reference in youth development in the Midwest focused on artistic training. Delivering high-quality education and to young Detroiters who want to follow an artistic path. Mosaic always has the challenge of inspiring, engaging and transforming young individuals who probably live in difficult circumstances but have the potential and talent to shine on stage but most importantly, as human beings and out of the spotlight.

One of the noblest things this institution does is provide its service to youths between the aged of 7 to 18 regardless their ability to pay. What matters most to the institution is the talent and passion of young individuals as well as their will to commit to performing arts.

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Image courtesy of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit at mosaicdetroit.org

A lifetime commitment to youths

Mosaic has grown as a renowned arts institution defined by its excellence and commitment to the lives of young Detroiters who have the necessity of developing their passions and talents in a safe environment. The institution has been honored by multiple arts committees and institutions. It has also been awarded by Crain’s Detroit Business as the Best-Managed Nonprofit in the city and by New Detroit, Wayne State University with the Governor’s Art Award.

Offering opportunities to young individuals who otherwise would spend their lives away from art is something that Mosaic understands as a way to help the world build better societies and places. Providing a safe environment where every artist feels empowered, secure and supported is the basis to the organization’s mission since students are the ones who are requested to perform in different stages in the United States and other countries. In other words, Mosaic operates as a vehicle for youths to explore and use their full potential as devoted artists.

Keeping an active soul and doing things with passion is central to Mosaic’s philosophy. This is why the institution’s approach to students is personalized and aims to build confidence, skills, and self-esteem in youths from all social and economic backgrounds. This way Mosaic guarantees that the institution will not only provide artistic training to students but also support and counseling for the mental and emotional well-being of each student.