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Hi I’m Nicole Bowers and I’m this summer’s marketing intern at Saugatuck Center for the Arts. I’m a soon-to-be senior at Central Michigan University where I’m studying integrative public relations and journalism. Follow me as I take a peek into the classrooms of our Growing Young Artists. I’m so happy to see what this year brings!

Another inspiring year is in the works as teachers and artists prepare for the Growing Young Artists (GYA) program. After sitting in on a GYA staff meeting, it’s clear they can’t wait to get in the classrooms. They’re driven by the impact this program has on the Saugatuck-Fennville “Family”.


GYA interrupts students’ “at-risk trajectory” through creative educational experiences. The program augments core skills in literacy and language fluency, math and science. Just as important, it builds crucial social and emotional skills including problem-solving, collaboration, empathy, self-direction, and responsibility.

[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src=”https://sc4a-production.local/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DSCF9912_web.jpg” _builder_version=”3.19.10″][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.10″]West Michigan is a hub for agriculture including fresh veggies like asparagus and cabbage and a sampling of fruits like blueberries and apples. Because of this, many schools in our West Michigan region host summer school programs for migrant children. Typically these young people travel with their parents and are considered “at-risk”, moving from school to school making it difficult for them to retain necessary soft skills. Once again this summer, GYA will be serving pre-K through 8th-grade migrant students, as well as Title 1 students attending Fennville School.


In addition to the core curriculum they teach, the SCA instructional staff hopes to create a place where every child feels at home. This year’s theme, Tú Eres Familia focuses on coming together to create just that; a familiar place where students are known, encouraged and seen. A variety of teachers are welcomed into the GYA team. College students, educators, professional working artists, each with their own experiences to pass on.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image src=”https://sc4a-production.local/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/DSCF9923_web.jpg” _builder_version=”3.19.10″][/et_pb_image][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.10″]

This program is as much about relationships and life experiences as it is about art-making. We continually ask students how they can use their creativity to help others because we believe that art and creativity have the power to break down all kinds of barriers and truly impact lives. Growing Young Artists ultimately ripples out to the broader community, connecting students, their families, teachers and community members.”
– SCA Education Manager Whitney Valentine. 

MEET OUR ARTIST[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.10″]Last week our 2019 Artist in Residence, Mandy Cano Villalobos was in town to meet with our group of instructors. She will be working with hundreds of students who will come to the GYA program. Before this, Mandy was in Grand Rapids, Mich. serving as an adjunct professor of art at Grand Valley State University and Calvin College. Her work has been exhibited both in the United States and abroad.[/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.10″][/et_pb_text][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.19.10″]

Mandy is a great fit for this program because much of Cano Villalobos’ work focuses on the history, the passage of time, and the nature of memories. She works primarily in assemblage and mixed media, including found objects, which we are so excited to be able to share with students. Mandy’s work is deeply rooted in family and her personal history is relatable for much of the at-risk students we’ll be serving this summer. You can view a number of Mandy’s artworks in the SCA Corridor. Her exhibit “Frail Deeds” runs from June 7 to Sept. 16, 2019. 


The staff is pumped for year 8 with the kiddos! To see the impact the program has on our children, educators and the entire community has been transformational for so many.

At the end of GYA, a fiesta with the whole Saugatuck-Fennville family will take place downtown Fennville on August 1 at 5 p.m. Come celebrate the collaborative work of our students with fun for the whole family. We hope to see you there!