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Arts + Culture : Innovation & Job News

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OCC sweeps Michigan Chefs de Cuisine awards

In a region known for its foodies and talent, winning is important to Oakland Community College (OCC) Culinary Studies Institute (CSI) alumni. Great chefs know winning takes passion, stamina, creativity, attention to detail and remarkable training as the key ingredients – and the competition is as stiff as a good meringue on a holiday pie.

For the fourth year in a row, a graduate of OCC's award-winning culinary program picked up the Chef of the Year award while the Pastry Chef of the Year and Chef Educator of the Year also went to OCC graduates in this year's annual American Culinary Federation (ACF) Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Awards.

The Chef of the Year award winner is Chef Rob Coran, Executive Sous Chef at Walnut Creek Country Club and a 2014 OCC Culinary Studies Institute graduate. Coran joins a select group of nine alumni ACF Chef of the Year winners.

"Rob was a very talented student and a team leader for the OCC culinary team who won a silver medal during that time," shared his former OCC instructor Chef Kevin Enright CEC/CCE/AAC. "He has worked hard on becoming a truly talented chef."

Chef Mark Slessor won Pastry Chef of the Year. Slessor is the Pastry Chef at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester and graduated from the OCC CSI program in 2006. This is the third time OCC alumni have won this honor in the past four years.

Chef Educator of the Year went to Chef Terri Briggs, a faculty member at Washtenaw Community College and a 1997 graduate of OCC. Rounding out the sweep was Andrew Dos Santos, who picked up the Student Chef of the Year award. Dos Santos, 20 and a Farmington Hills resident, works at Walnut Creek Country Club in South Lyon. He will graduate from the CSI program in 2018.

Competitions for the awards took place in August and September, and the awards announced this fall. Chefs, nominated by their peers, had to meet rigorous standards established by the ACF then competed in a hot food competition. They were evaluated and scored by certified ACF judges on their performance.

The winners will go on to compete at the ACF Regional Convention February 16-18, 2018, in Madison, WI, where they will compete in another hot food competition against chefs from the Midwest. Winners of the regional competition move on to the national competition next July in New Orleans.

"OCC's Culinary Studies Institute has a long history of graduating outstanding chefs," said Susan Baier, OCC faculty, past program coordinator, and herself a 2014 winner of the Michigan Chefs de Cuisine Educator of the Year award. "We are proud of their many accomplishments and delighted that they, and our program, are consistently recognized by the state and national organizations like MCCA and ACF."

About OCC - With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences allowing each student to reach their full potential and enhance the communities they serve. More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC; more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. Learn more at oaklandcc.edu.

The Culinary Studies Institute has been preparing aspiring chefs for a career in the food and beverage industry for decades. For more on the OCC Culinary Studies Institute, visit the Culinary Program webpage. The program is housed on the Orchard Ridge Campus.

About Michigan Chefs de Cuisine (MCCA) - The MCCA, an American Culinary Federation chapter organization, was founded in 1970 by Master Chef Milos Cihelka, whose vision it was to create one of the most prestigious chef's associations in the nation. The Chapter consists of about 350 members. The goals of the MCCA are to further culinary education and professional growth, provide networking opportunities, and support charitable organizations. For more information, visit MCCA's website.

Local artist is transforming lives through creative entrepreneurship training

Artists are the original entrepreneurs but even after decades of bringing beauty and innovation to life they still struggle to prosper from their skillset. Seeing too many of her peers flounder, fine artist and small business expert, Andrea Rosenfeld set down her studio tools and committed herself to a greater good. Combining her professional art experience with her extensive background as the former Director of Merchandising and Operations for the iconic fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, Rosenfeld crafted an entrepreneurial course specific to the creative mind through her Detroit Art & Business Institute (DABI).
After six successful sessions in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Rosenfeld is expanding her transformational Mind Your Art Business Growth Course to Pontiac on July 12th.  Classes will run for 8 weeks, every Wednesday night from 5:30 - 7:30pm at the Alley Cat Cafe/Local Hop.
Unlike other basic, business training courses this unique opportunity speaks directly to the specific goals, needs and frustrations of the art, craft and design sectors and offers an opportunity to practice and develop the skills they need to speak successfully to their clients, galleries, art and sales reps and retailers. 
“My graduates are grateful that the easy-to-understand content is geared to their creative mindset.  As important, they use their class time to build strong relationships and collaborations that expand their sales opportunities.” said Rosenfeld. “I guide my students to higher confidence and sales by supplying the tools and knowledge necessary to build a strong core business, profitably price their products or services, market themselves and find their ideal clients.” Legalities of business practices are also discussed during the course, as well as solutions for achieving healthy financials leading to sustained growth.
Those wishing to enroll should visit www.thedabi.com, email connect@theDABI.com or call 732-705-1567. The price of the eight-week, 16-hour course is $475.
About Detroit Art & Business Institute
Detroit Art & Business Institute is a committed and passionate coaching firm dedicated to empowering emerging and established creative business practitioners. DABI offers powerful guidance to soulful, creative entrepreneurs.

Medical students find their voice using acting techniques

The theatre program at Oakland University is designed as training for a professional life in the performing arts, but the skills theatre students build their proficiency on can be of value to anyone whose career path will involve communicating their ideas.

Recognizing this, last year Professor Steven Loftus of Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine invited Associate Professor of Theatre Lynnae Lehfeldt to teach public speaking skills to medical students. The previous group of second year students had struggled with the capstone presentations they were required to make at the end of the winter semester.

Lehfeldt taught two workshops in 2016 and did so again this February. “I am able to utilize the same training methodology I use with my acting students,” she said. “Through a range of exercises I help the students unite their body, breath, and voice. The work combines Kristin Linlater's vocal work found in ‘Freeing the Natural Voice’ and Amy Cuddy's physical presence work found in her book ‘Presence.’ Amy Cuddy is famous for her TED talk where she describes power posing.”

The medical students found the workshops empowering. “"Life changer!  I took a stroll outside my comfort zone and I don't think I'm going back," said Moleca Shannan.

"I loved this class. It has a lot of practicality in life and Medical School,” said Gukam Sakthivul.

“This class is all about finding the presentation style that is most authentically you," said Daniel Yamane.

"I learned that there is another voice inside me and I need to let it out,’ said Shawn Miller.

"Assisting people to find to their vocal and physical presence allows them to tap into their personal power,” said Lehfeldt. “I am planning a workshop called ‘The Professional Female Voice’ for the School of Business.”

Report: Arts and cultural nonprofits serve as economic engines for Michigan


When it comes to statewide budgeting, arts and cultural organizations often are considered a luxury and not a necessity.

However, according to data compiled by Creative Many Michigan Inc. — a Detroit-based statewide nonprofit organization that works to develop a creative economy through research, advocacy and communication — arts and cultural organizations are pivotal to economic growth in the state.

Read more.

Grant will help integrate liberal arts into engineering at LTU

Lawrence Technological University and four other members of the Association of Independent Technological Universities (AITU) have been awarded a three-year, $398,000 grant from the Teagle Foundation in New York City to integrate liberal arts into engineering curricula.

As an outgrowth of a previous planning project, the AITU members will be the first to embark on an implementation strategy under the Teagle Foundation’s “Liberal Arts in the Professions” initiative. 

The grant will be administered by the Rochester Institute of Technology. The other participating AITU members are Harvey Mudd College, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, and the Worchester Polytechnic Institute.

The three-year grant project will develop and implement curricula for a “liberal-arts focused” Grand Challenge Scholars Program (GCSP), which is sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering. The program attempts to focus undergraduate engineer training on 14 of the most important engineering challenges facing contemporary society, such as carbon sequestration, modernizing urban infrastructure, and engineering brain functions. The GCSP was featured by President Barack Obama during the 2015 White House Science Fair in March.

“It is a privilege to work with other leading engineering schools around the country to develop new approaches to engineering education that will better prepare our graduates to take leadership roles in their careers,” said LTU Provost Maria Vaz.

Associate Professor Jason Barrett, chair of LTU’s Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Communication, will serve as LTU’s principal investigator on the project. Jerry LeCarpentier, director of Lawrence Tech’s biomedical engineering program, will coordinate the program for LTU’s College of Engineering. Dean of Arts and Sciences Hsiao-Ping Moore also worked with Dean of Engineering Nabil Grace and his department chairs in setting up parameters for the program.

One goal of the GCSP is to produce engineering graduates who are prepared and motivated to address the most challenging problems facing the world and the nation. The National Academy of Engineering also seeks to introduce innovative educational approaches that will eventually become the mainstream educational paradigm for all engineering students.

The New York City-based Teagle Foundation works to support and strengthen higher education, acting as a catalyst for improvements in teaching and learning in the arts and sciences. It was established in 1944 by Walter C. Teagle, longtime president and later chairman of Standard Oil Company (New Jersey), now Exxon Mobil.

For more information about the GCSP program, go to:

Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate awarded artist residency in Berlin


Cranbrook Academy of Art has announced that Aaron Patrick Decker has been awarded the 2015 Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Emerging Artist Award. This is the 10th year Mercedes-Benz Financial Services has given an Academy graduate the award.

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Kids workshop uses Legos to get things moving


When you walk in the door of Robot Garage in Birmingham, you are immediately transported to another world: Ancient Rome.

But this city, complete with electric catapults, is only a few weeks old.

Read more.

Water Works Theatre Company announces auditions

Water Works Theatre Company announces that auditions for its 14th season of Shakespeare In The Park in Royal Oak's Starr Jaycee Park will take place March 24 & 25. This season, Water Works will present Hamlet July 31 - August 10 as the festival's main stage performance. For its popular daylight family show, the theatre company will present The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield, August 2-10.

Auditions for Hamlet and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised) will take place March 24 & 25 at Royal Oak First United Methodist Church 320 W. Seventh Street Royal Oak. Audition times will be scheduled between 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm both days. Interested actors should request an audition appointment by emailing waterworksbackstage@earthlink.net or calling (248) 399-3727. To audition, actors must prepare two contrasting monologues, one Shakespeare, and one comedic contemporary piece, lasting no longer than 4 minutes total. When calling or emailing for an appointment, actors should include their name, the date and time of their preferred slot, and an email address and phone number to be contacted with a confirmed appointment.

Hamlet will be directed by Water Works founder and executive director Ed Nahhat. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised) will be directed by Water Works Artistic Director Sara Wolf Molnar. Both shows are open to Actors' Equity and Non Equity performers. All roles are available with the exception of Laertes and Ophelia in Hamlet. Equity members will work under a special appearance contract and non-equity actors will be paid a small stipend.
Since 2001 Water Works has presented Shakespeare in the Park in Royal Oak and other award-winning productions. Water Works enhances the quality of life in the community by offering Michigan's only outdoor professional Shakespeare event in Royal Oak's Starr Jaycee Park. Water Works' mission is to provide a place to call home for local professional actors, designers, directors, teachers, and other artists in a dynamic collaboration with skilled professional volunteers and other community supporters. Learn more at: www.waterworkstheatre.com.

Puppets more than child's play

Timothy Sëlberg and his team at Sëlberg Studios Inc. in Independence Township design, sculp, and produce puppets, "three-dimensional carved mechanized figures," for ventriloquists and collectors all over the world.

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Superhero movie to begin filming in Metro Detroit in early 2014, create over 400 jobs

Next winter, be on the watch for caped crusaders in town! With the assistance of the Michigan Film Office, Warner Bros. Pictures is bringing a pair of superpowers together.


"The film, from director Zack Snyder, brings together the two greatest Super Heroes of all time—Superman and Batman—for the first time on the big screen.     Production on the new film is expected to begin in metro Detroit and throughout Michigan sometime in the first quarter of 2014.   Snyder is co-writing the story with David S. Goyer, who is writing the screenplay.   Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing the film, which will star Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

...The production is expected to hire 406 Michigan workers, with a full time equivalent of 426 jobs, plus an additional 6,000 man/days of extra work.   The production anticipates using approximately 500 local Michigan vendors during the course of production and spending $5.1 million on local hotels, as well as an additional $3.5 million in out-of-town cast and crew per diem payments that will be spent in the local economy but which fall outside of the incentive program."

And in other news, a new video game project, Blood of the Werewolf, is afoot.


"Blood of the Werewolf  is a side scrolling platform video game for the Xbox PlayStation, Nintendo and PC platforms. The project will be entirely produced and developed by Farmington Hills-based Scientifically Proven Entertainment at Studio Center in Farmington Hills.   It follows the story of a werewolf named Selena as she journeys through a land of classic monsters to avenge the death of her husband and save her kidnapped child."

More here.

Art sector contributes millions to Michigan economy

ArtServe Michigan released its Creative State Michigan report focused on Fiscal Year 2010 detailed economic and social data 346 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, representing an estimated 17 percent of the more than 2,000 cultural groups operating statewide, finding that these organizations contributed more than one-half billion dollars in expenditures alone to the Michigan economy in 2010.

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New beat drives music business in Detroit

Crain's Detroit Business's first-ever music issue takes an in-depth look at the music industry in metro Detroit.

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Troy company is destination for car restoration

The Classic & Exotic Service restoration business in Troy is dedicated to restoring and servicing legendary luxury cars decades out of production, like the Dusenberg (last built in 1937) or even classic Aston Martins from the 1950s. 

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Cranbrook Academy of Art wins 2012 ICFF editors award for Best Design School

Over the weekend of May 19-20, a group of top editors from distinguished global design magazines voted for their favorite exhibitors and products at this year’s annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair (ICFF) in New York. They put their seal of approval on Cranbrook Academy of Art at the ICFF Exhibitors Reception last night, which was named as Best Design School.
This is the fourth year that the Academy’s 3D Design Department has been invited by the organizers of ICFF to participate in an exhibition featuring the world’s leading design schools. The Cranbrook entry — “Rest and Concentration in the Workplace”* — evolved out of a sponsored-student project created by Herman Miller to nurture a new generation of design talent through the exploration of emerging challenges in the workplace. 
“Rest and Concentration” addresses challenges in the modern office where space is required for teamwork as well as rest, concentration and sometimes, ‘personal escape.’ The project brief from Herman Miller asked Cranbrook’s students to confront several questions, such as: When individual workers need a moment away from the group, what type of furniture would be best to support their rest and concentration?; If the new work culture requires an integration of living and working, then what is the new vision of physical rest in a professional setting?  Students researched these questions by interviewing office workers and visiting office environments, including Herman Miller’s ‘Design Yard,’ to better understand the dynamics at play in the contemporary workplace.

After an initial presentation of concepts and rough-scale models, six proposals were selected by members of Herman Miller’s product development leadership to be produced into full-scale prototypes. With the support of the company’s engineering team and local upholstery and fabrication vendors, the students were able to realize their concepts at a high level of detail and finish. The final six prototypes, now on view at the Javits center, are: Private Rocker, Stump Ottoman, Alcove Chair, Tri-fold Bench, Office Lounge, and Integrated Workstation.*
“This project pushed our students to develop a strong point-of-view and to deliver that message with specific form,” said Scott Klinker, Head of the 3D Design Department and Designer-in-Residence at Cranbrook Academy of Art. “The final prototypes have a youthful ‘business casual’ character and present a strong vision for the future office.”
“Rest and Concentration,” also served the important function of connecting the internationally renowned Holland, Michigan-based Herman Miller with a new generation of Cranbrook designers. In total, sixteen graduate students in the 3D Design Department participated in the 2-semester collaboration, which involved extensive reviews of work by the company’s product development teams at their corporate headquarters.
“The process helped the students understand the complex set of voices beyond the designer's own which are necessary to achieve commercial success,” said Gary Smith, Director of Design Facilitation & Exploration at Herman Miller. “It was also a great opportunity to encourage new Cranbrook talent, to provide perspective gleaned from an 80-year unbroken history of design collaboration, and to share with another generation the meaningfulness of human-centered problem solving."
ICFF Editors Awards Committee included: Arlene Hirst; Elizabeth Pagliacolo, Azure; Amanda Dameron, Dwell; Cristina Bonini, Interni; Chantal Hamaide, Intramuros; Paul Makovsky,Metropolis; Pei-Ru Keh, Wallpaper.
*Hi-Res images of the work presented at ICFF and information on the Herman Miller sponsored project at Cranbrook Academy of Art can also be found at:http://www.cranbrookforhermanmiller.com
Cranbrook Academy of Art
Cranbrook Academy of Art is the country’s top ranked, graduate-only program in architecture, design and fine art. Each year, just 75 students are invited to study and live on our landmark Saarinen-designed campus, which features private studios, state-of-the art workshops, a renowned Art Museum, and 300 acres of forests, lakes, and streams, all a short drive from the red-hot art, design, and music scene of Detroit. The focus at Cranbrook is on studio practice in one of ten disciplines: Architecture, 2D and 3D Design, Ceramics, Fiber, Metalsmithing, Painting, Photography, Print Media, and Sculpture. The program is anchored by celebrated Artists- and Designers-in-Residence, one for each discipline, all of whom live and practice on campus alongside our students. For more information, visit us at www.cranbrookart.edu.

Plutonium Paint offers high-end spray paint for graffiti, murals, DIYers

Get ready for the slow paint movement. A Southfield-based start-up has developed a high-end spray paint that emphasizes quality and is aimed at contemporary creatives, such as street art artists, muralists, arts and crafts enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers.

Plutonium Paint has taken a modified automotive acrylic, designed a new spray can nozzle for it, and is marketing it toward artists demanding higher quality products for their work. The one-year-old company has 40 different colors to choose from and the potential to create many more.

"The colors are much more vibrant and the paint is much heavier," says Barry Fleischer, president of Plutonium Paint. "You can feel it when you use it. It covers much better."

Fleischer, purchased the intangible assets of an existing paint company that couldn't make the idea work. They redesigned the packaging, the distribution and the spray nozzle to handle the heavier paint.  The paint can be applied at 360 degrees due to its unique self-clean valve. The product is entirely made in America and is focused on keeping production in Michigan when possible.

"This is the only high-end, quality paint made in America," Fleischer says.

Plutonium Paint started to ship its initial products in December and is already in some True Value hardware stores in Michigan, among other local retail locations. The Fleischers hope to have their paints in 500 stores by the end of the year. The company has also grown from its original two co-founders to six employees and a handful of independent contractors today. More hires are expected to come as the product gains traction in the market.

Source: Barry Fleischer, president of Plutonium Paint
Writer: Jon Zemke

Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.
35 Arts + Culture Articles | Page: | Show All
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