Over the years, the FIA has been fortunate to partner with our regional academic institutions and non-profit neighbors to share opportunities, ideas, resources, and experiences. Collaborating with others is a way to foster innovation, enrich our programs, increase our resources and broaden our reach. This year has been a busy year for collaborative projects in all areas of the museum and art school and here are a few:
Family programs offered in collaboration with the Communities First, Inc. Culture Shock program and GISD Head Start program were scheduled by the FIA's Education Department serving 452 adults and children. The FIA Art School continued the Healing Through Art therapy collaboration with McLaren Hospital for patients undergoing prolonged treatment for chronic illness and Art School students produced and fired 1,300 bowls for the Empty Bowls annual event with the Food Bank.
Last fall, The Art of Video Games exhibition led to several collaborations with the Flint Public Library, Sloan Museum, The Whiting, the Flint Youth Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan–Flint, Mott Community College, Kettering University, Interna-tional Game Developers Association, Flint Community Schools, Oakland University, Wayne State University and the Toledo Museum of Art. Eight interns from U of M-Flint, Kettering, Mott, and Wayne State served as gallery attendants in the Art of Video Games exhibition; Oakland University graduate students created a marketing plan for Video Games as a class project; and U of M-Flint computer science students developed and conducted a survey of FIA visitors to assess technologies and communications used in the galleries.
In February, the opening of the collaborative exhibition Common Ground: African American Art from the Flint Institute of Arts, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, and the Muskegon Museum of Art was the focus of this year's diversity initiative. In collaboration with the Flint Public Library, high school students from Beecher, Mott Middle College, Carman- Ainsworth, and the FIA's Pre-College Portfolio students were able to meet with visiting artist Chakaia Booker to discuss artwork in the exhibition.
A visitor initiative between presenting organizations within the Cultural Center began in April and provides a coupon for $5 off admission to another cultural center venue with each admission purchase.
The FIA has also joined the Blue Star Museum Program, a network of museums across the nation offering free admission to active duty military and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Established in 2007, the FIA's College Town Program has provided free memberships to more than 10,000 students attending the four colleges and universities in Flint and now has evolved to offer free College Town memberships to students in good standing from any U.S. college or university.
Once again, the FIA partnered with the American Arab Heritage Council and the Jewish Federation to present their respectivie film series at the FIA. And new this year, a six-week series was organized for Genesee County's Indian community.
As always, there is a lot for you to see and do at the FIA, and we have our friends, neighbors, and colleagues to thank for helping to make so much of it possible. Have a great summer.
John B. Henry