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As a teacher at Academy of the Americas in Detroit, I believe art is a key component in a child’s education and growth. Art teaches acceptance and cooperation, develops cultural competency and promotes innovation, creativity and confidence.

This spring, 50 Detroit Public Schools Community District teachers from 44 schools submitted 675 works of student art for consideration in the 82nd Annual Detroit Public Schools Community District Student Exhibition, which ran at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) from April 27 - June 2.

The annual exhibition gives DPSCD students the opportunity to showcase their paintings, prints, photography, ceramics, jewelry and videos in the same building that houses works by Diego Rivera, Vincent van Gogh and Mickalene Thomas, among other world-renowned artists.

Many of the students whose works have been featured have pursued successful careers in the arts, including New York-based fashion designer Tracy Reese, who has dressed the likes of former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Mario Moore, a New York-based artist whose work is now on display at the DIA and in exhibitions across the country.

The impact of this partnership extends far beyond the display of student art. I have witnessed my students beam with confidence when their family and friends see their art on display at the DIA. While our youngest students are outwardly excited, it clearly means the most to middle school kids developing their unique artistic voice and sense of self. Our college-bound high school students who display their artwork at the world-renowned museum have a major advantage on their college applications. I am so grateful the DIA has provided our students with these experiences for over 80 years.

The DIA is a leader in education. The free field trips and bus transportation the DIA provides to students in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties is invaluable. Our students thoroughly enjoy looking at the brush strokes, the vibrant colors, the sheer size of some art and viewing a sculpture in its entirety.

The DIA’s 65,000-piece collection also provides students unique access to cultures and history from around the world. There is something breathtaking and inspiring about watching a student discover art, culture and history they’ve studied in the classroom. The free visits to the DIA are also an opportunity for students to experience a wide variety of media from artists around the globe from past to present. The DIA’s celebrated collection is phenomenal and sharing it at no cost with kids in the tri-county area is an invaluable gift.

The DIA is an important educational resource for students and our community. I would encourage every student and family in Southeast Michigan to visit the DIA. Museum admission is free for residents who live in Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.

Kendra Lincourt, art teacher

Academy of Americas

Detroit Public Schools Community District

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