Michele Schara Artist & Designer in Residence Program 

Through the generosity of the Michele Schara and Randy Merhberg family, the Michele Schara Artist & Designer in Residence Program in Detroit Schools invites University of Michigan alumni to propose and complete a project collaborating with youth and teachers in one of the Stamps’ partner schools in Detroit.

Working with Stamps students and faculty, Schara Residents engage with Detroit students and teachers to integrate art and design into existing curriculums, and provide Detroit youth with new skill sets, experiences, and ways of thinking.

 Goals of the program:

  • To offer opportunities for professional artists and designers to develop and carry-out a project in a school and/or community context
  • To increase Detroit youth’s understanding of and appreciation for art and design, while providing them with new experiences and ways of thinking
  • To help school teachers incorporate innovative art and design techniques and processes into their current arts curriculum, or develop ways to integrate the arts into non-arts curricula.
  • To give Stamps School students a better understanding of community-based applications for art and design.

Click HERE for Application Instructions and Eligibility Information 

Michele Schara Residents


Emilia Javanica

Emilia Javanica (MFA 2012) will introduce techniques in playwriting, devised theater, puppetry and scenography in workshops for 4th and 5th grade students at Bennett Elementary. Bennett students will develop content for a new theatrical production that Emilia will produce and direct in collaboration with students from the University of Michigan.



Carrie Morris

Carrie Morris (MFA 2007) will facilitate The Detroit Teen Video Project with students at Detroit Community High. Detroit Teen Video Project is a free digital media workshop that gives Detroit youth access to equipment and instructional support in order to make their own short films. Participants learn about digital media, storytelling, collaboration and job skills while focusing on ways to see and share how local knowledge can be universal.


Lyz Luidens

Lyz Luidens (BFA 2013) will work with students at Detroit Community High School on developing The Detroit Atlas Project. The Detroit Atlas Project aims to give Detroit youth the chance to map their city however they see fit: through research, personal experience, or purely aesthetic visual choices. Youth-made maps will be reproduced using screen and relief printing and bound together to form atlas of youth-drawn maps of the city of Detroit.


Laura Amtower

Laura Amtower (MFA 2015) will work with students at Bennett Elementary School to design and build a multipurpose cart outfitted with materials to be used in classroom learning and indoor recess. The cart will be created collaboratively with k-5 students, designed by students for their own classroom. The cart will be constructed in phases, allowing students to experiment and learn about possibilities and impact over time.


Ian Klipa

Ian Klipa (BFA 2015) a sculptor and video artist, will introduce the basic principles of low tooling metal fabrication and will work with Detroit Community High School students to modify and refurbish industrial tricycles into delivery vehicles for community-run businesses.



Zak Rosen

Zak Rosen, Detroit based independent radio producer, will work with a team of Brightmoor youth to develop programmatic content and ideas for a burgeoning Brightmoor Community Radio Station. Covering field recording, interviewing, story development, investigative reporting, editing, and distribution, the residency will be spent preparing youth to create and share their own audio content focused on local people, places, issues, and events.


Walter Lacy

Walter Lacy, Detroit based poet and Hip-Hop artist, led spoken word and poetry workshops with freshman English classes at Detroit Community High School. The spoken work of the youth was recorded and developed into audio pieces and the written work published into a chapbook.



Yvette Rock – Detroit RePatched

Yvette Rock (MFA 1999) worked with students at Bennett Elementary to develop individual works of art and assemble and paint a kite to be flown in the spring. Yvette’s mixed media series, Detroit RePatched served as the launching point for discussions about the city of Detroit and the development of designs and symbols integrated into works on paper, paintings, sculptures, and kites.

Paula Schubatis

Paula Schubatis (BFA 2013) brought her studio practice of painting, weaving, and found object construction to Detroit Community High School to develop collaborative projects with art teachers that her colorful and quirky aesthetic. As a result of their collaborations the school and neighborhood have seen the installation of colorful bus stop benches,  text-based public art pieces, and found object sculptures.

Zak Rosen & Renee Gross – Audio Storytelling

Renee Gross (BA’ 2013), along with Detroit-based independent radio producer Zak Rosen, worked with students at Detroit Community High School to produce short audio pieces about the importance of getting involved in hands-on learning projects.


Ron Watters – Product Design at Detroit Community High School

Detroit-based product designer, Ron Watters (BFA ’01), taught the basics of product development and the use of 3d printers to high school students. Students developed their own products by first modeling them in Autodesk, and then “printed” their products using a 3d printer.



Nick Azzaro – Bennett Superheroes Book

Photographer Nick Azzaro (BFA ’04) prompted Bennett Elementary School 4th and 5th graders to describe their ideal superpower. He then created a series of portraits of each student embodying their superhero power.


David Zinn – Drawing and Character design

Street artist David Zinn (BA ’90) worked with Bennett Elementary School 5th graders on designing original characters and narratives that were later chalked along the sidewalk in front of the school.



Kat_thumbKat Hartman – Curricular Zines

In response to an art teacher at Detroit Community High School who hopes to further infuse STEM curriculum into his classes, Detroit-based information designer Kat Hartman (MFA ’08) designed a zine for high school students which outlines essential concepts of power transmission and data literacy in an easily accessible format.



Katherine Drake – Collaborative Ceramic Wall Installation

Ceramic artist Katharine Drake (BFA ’11) worked with 3rd and 4th graders at Bennett Elementary School to transform part of the main school hallway with handmade tiles that bring the colors and textures of the garden into the school.


Nicolas Lampert – Mud Stencils

Writer and artist-activist Nicolas Lampert (BFA ‘92) worked with a group of 3rd grade students to stencil a beautiful and relevant quote by Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs onto the sidewalk in front of Bennett Elementary School.


 Collin_thumbCollin McRae – The Earth Suite

Collin McRae (MFA ’12) explored the connections between images and music with fifth graders who drew intuitively while listening to Gustav Holst’s compositions for Mars and Jupiter. Using their drawings as inspiration, Collin created a musical composition for the planet Earth that was performed by musicians from the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, & Dance.

Are you a U-M alum or Detroit-based artist or designer interested in proposing a residency project? Email us at: