Program Coordinator

Charlie Michaels

Program Coordinator Charlie Michaels works closely with faculty, University of Michigan students, school teachers, and youth to design and organize courses, educational activities, and creative projects – seeking to establish collaborative and reciprocal learning environments for both University of Michigan students and our community partners in Detroit. Charlie holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in photography from Bradley University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. His own artwork and community based projects focus on the relationships between people and their environments in urban spaces, considering both social and natural worlds. Recent projects include a hand painted billboard, in collaboration with a local sign painter, which returned the stars to the sky over a dark Detroit Intersection and continued collaborations with college students and NGO’s in Ghana on projects that address various local challenges and make art and technology accessible to children.


Janie Paul

Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Janie Paul is a painter, community-based artist and educator. She received her PhD in Art Education at NYU and an MA in Painting from Hunter College, NY. Prior to joining the University of Michigan faculty in 1995, she taught at the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and the Brooklyn Museum Education Department. She also served as artist-in-residence for New York’s Studio in a School Program. As the director of Community Connections from 2003 to 2005,  Paul led the development of the School of Art & Design Outreach Program, building relationships with local community organizations and helping to launch new undergraduate classes that engage students with diverse groups. She is also a member, curator and faculty advisor of the Prison Creative Arts Project.

Hannah Smotrich

Associate Professor Hannah Smotrich is a graphic designer whose creative practice centers on issues of community, identity, cultural history and voice. Smotrich holds an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University School of Art and a BA in History from Harvard College. Prior to joining the faculty at University of Michigan, she worked and taught in Washington, DC at the Corcoran College of Art & Design. In DC, Smotrich also worked to bring art to the public schools as director of a pilot program of “ArtStart,” an AIGA National initiative to bring 4- and 8-week workshops to 4th graders. Smotrich believes strongly in the power of design to act in the world. Her teaching often includes a strong element of community engagement allowing students to create work for organizations such as the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, Food Gatherers, Washtenaw Literacy, and the Michigan Bureau of Elections.

Nick Tobier

Associate Professor Nick Tobier is a lifelong participant-observer of street life and the social life of public places. These inherently layered scenarios are at the core of his work as artist and educator, and Tobier’s practice and pedagogy reflect his belief in the power of social dynamism and the fundamental role of artist as catalyst and conduit in this relationship. Prior to his appointment at the School of Art and Design, Tobier spent four years as assistant professor at the School of Art at Alfred University. From 1996 to 1998, he studied landscape architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and subsequently worked as a landscape architect. Most recently he has been active in projects connecting the arts, agriculture in the city of Detroit and surrounding regions through neighborhood-based garden projects.

Stephanie Rowden

Associate Professor Stephanie Rowden uses her creative work to explore the expressive dimension of sound and its relation to human experience. Her audio installations and sculptures have been exhibited in such diverse settings as a portrait gallery in the Brooklyn Museum, the vaults under the Brooklyn Bridge, a public library outside of Chicago, and galleries in New York and Chicago. Recent installations include the Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College and Littlejohn Contemporary in New York City.

Melanie Manos

Lecturer Melanie Manos is a visual and performance artist whose work focuses on the absurdities of everyday life and the investigation of the body and the built environment through spatial interventions.  Her videos with collaborator Sarah Buckius as The ManosBuckius Cooperative have traveled the globe in video and electronic arts festivals.  She earned a BA in History/Art History at the University of California at Los Angeles, and an MFA at the University of Michigan.  In May 2011 she coordinated and curated the exhibition The Gathering of the Herd at Work:Detroit gallery, featuring over 20 elephant sculptures created by Garvey Academy 5th graders/University of Michigan School of Art & Design students and Marygrove College (Detroit) faculty and students and children from more than a dozen Detroit Public Schools.  It was a colorful, thunderous exhibit!  (view elephants)

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