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Graphic Recording in areas of Arts, Culture and Education

I've long worked with corporate entities to offer graphic recording that could be revisited for marketing and internal use but now educational organizations are finding ways to fund what I do too. 

I recently had the privilege of working with Wayne-Westland Community Schools to capture their State of the District. Their Superintendent, Dr. Shelley Holt, spoke passionately and candidly about the struggles the district faces. And she is one of the most personable people I've ever met! (You'll see what I mean below.) I was really touched by her candor and have great faith in the plans she offered to break through some of the barriers the district faces. I was also thoroughly impressed with the presentation of the band and color guard, certainly indicative of the talent of the students and staff. 

 Because Wayne-Westland Community Schools has a script logo, I got to take a hand at doing some ink drawing. This method was used on the main graphic recording, which I did earlier in the day. I didn't want drippy ink on the wall!

Because Wayne-Westland Community Schools has a script logo, I got to take a hand at doing some ink drawing. This method was used on the main graphic recording, which I did earlier in the day. I didn't want drippy ink on the wall!

 Photo courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

Photo courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

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 The Superintendents ADORABLE daughter was a quick learner and became my graphic recording apprentice :) 

The Superintendents ADORABLE daughter was a quick learner and became my graphic recording apprentice :) 

 Image courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

Image courtesy Wayne-Westland Community Schools

I finally got around to taking some photos of the In the Neighborhood drawings, part of Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation and Eastern Michigan University's Engage @ EMU Office's effort to define what arts and culture looks like in Washtenaw County. This is an example of an illustration done in graphic recording style that focuses on lots of text content. It was a blast to host a gathering with artists and students and then gather and distill the content of all the gatherings.

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Last month I learned about an incredible effort by Kelly Mickel, principal of Erickson Elementary School and other community partners including Washtenaw County Sheriffs Office, Washtenaw County Juvenile Detention Center, Cultivate Coffee and Tap House, Girls Scouts, and Mosaic Church. The Village Project seeks to break the school-to-prison pipeline in the Ypsilanti district. Many of our students have had exposure with incarcerated family members or visited family or friends in detention centers, returning with the idea that they didn't seem so bad. To compare their current life situation and find detention centers a better alternative sounded heartbreaking to me but it's a reality of perception our youth face. 

Efforts are being made right now to lift up students through a 3-pronged effort of mentorship, skills training and life experience. A "signing day" will match up "coaches" with students with special attention given to matching up adults and student based on interests and personalities. There are still lots of details to work out but through the leadership and resources each of the community members bring, I believe this will be a successful program to change the sentiment and trajectory of many of our most at-risk youth. More to come! 

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If you have interest in learning how graphic recording can benefit your educational event, I'd love to chat with you. I'm happy to travel within southeast Michigan and elsewhere. Contact me at yenazzaro(@)gmail.com

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826 on Washington Street

Over the weekend we had the chance to host a pretty awesome shindig. Our friends at 826michigan had a jam-packed weekend of programming including a pajama part at Literati Bookstore and big things for 826 going on in Detroit...

The volunteers of 826, the ones that tutor, listen, travel, edit, and work with kids are the muscle of this organization we love so much. We hosted a small breakfast gathering Saturday morning and we got to meet founder of McSweeney's (original publisher of 826 Valencia) and writer, Dave Eggers. 

It's a good-looking bunch, don't you think? 

The end of the year is always vitally important to the health of organizations like 826michigan so won't you please consider supporting all the work these beautiful people do through volunteering or donation? Thanks so much :) 

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#YCS: Your Committed Superintendent

The culmination of the experiences over the last four years has led us to a project that we feel personally vested, more so than any other we've worked on before. We are humbled and happy to announce that Ypsilanti Community Schools is our newest client. 

I met Dr. Benjamin Edmondson, or "Dr. E." as students call him, two weeks ago during the buzz of his imminent appointment as the new superintendent of Ypsilanti Community Schools (YCS). I heard of his no-nonsense but encouraging approach when dealing directly with students and his uncanny ability to remember students' names when out and about.

I was looking forward to telling him about our academic approach to championing the arts including Nick's latest venture, the student photo incubator. Upon meeting, I learned that he was looking to not only change the schools from the inside out, he wanted a complete rebranding of the YCS image. We immediately started brainstorming, citing the recent history of the schools and the community-chosen colors. At our next meeting Nick and I shared our experience as new parents and the gnawing question of where our son would attend school three years from now. 

Ben's ideas are backed up by immediate action. He's making the rounds at YCS schools to meet students, faculty and staff, giving frank talks about his expectations and what the students can do to succeed academically. He also recently attended a City Council meeting to introduce himself to the community and talk about his first 90 days as superintendent.

As Ypsilanti business owners we feel a commitment to making our surroundings not only culturally engaging but socially and economically vibrant and viable for families of all backgrounds. Ben's hope, and ours as well, is to invigorate a partnership between businesses and families including mentoring students after school, donating in-kind services for school functions and more. These are all actions we not only stand behind but have been doing already. 

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Nick and I had the privilege of getting to spend time with his sons this past weekend and they are absolute gentlemen, charismatic and well-mannered beyond their years. It gives me so much to look forward to with our son! 

You'll be seeing more about our work with Ben and YCS, particularly as we near the start of the school year. We joke that we have three years to make YCS a viable choice for us. But all know — that we're not joking at all. 

Here's to the man that we believe will be the energy and leadership the community has been looking for. 

 


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Best Friday Ever

Nick and I work with some incredibly talented and gracious people at Eastern Michigan University through a variety of programs including Bright Futures, Art Around Town and some other grant driven projects. This past Friday we were recognized for our collaboration with them. Nick received the Institute for the ISCFC's (Study of Children, Families and Communities) "Best New Partner Award" and I received the Academic Service-Learning's "Engage at EMU Award." 

I know there are a lot of fuzzy, feel-y words out there but we truly mean it when we say that they're some of the best people we know, doing the most worthwhile work. Thank you, Decky, Russ, Lynn, Jack, Darlene and all the students and staff that we've come into contact with because of you. You guys are the best. 


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