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Unexpected U-M art galleries; from biz school to dentistry

Core to the University of Michigan’s belief that the arts have a place in all disciplines, visitors to the U-M campus can observe art in many unexpected places. From the school of dentistry, to the business school, even at Michigan Medicine’s hospital locations, art is used to deepen experiences and make meaningful connections in areas of study and research one might not expect.

The Ross Art Collection—Ross Business School

At the Ross School of Business, the Ross Art Collection consists of over 250 pieces and contemporary works on paper and sculpture including abstracts, representational works, and landscapes. According to their website, “business doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It exists in the real, complex world of people with an infinite variety of experiences and perceptions,” and the Ross Art Collection intends to reach these real people through thoughtful art. A few key pieces include:

Human Structures #1:

Jonathan Borofsky, Human Structures #1
Jonathan Borofsky, Human Structures #1

Jonathan Borofsky is known as a pioneer in site-specific art, like large installations and enormous sculptures. Interestingly, his pieces would not have his signature on them, but rather a number. Borofsky would count every day so he would sign his work with the number he reached that day.

This print, “Human Structures #1 is a gift from the Global MBA class of 2006. “Human Structures #1” is related to Borofsky’s installation called ‘Human Structures,’ which was completed in 2006 at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The installation includes various colored male and female structures made of Lexan (an industrial-grade plastic), interlocking with each other. The print, ‘Human Structures #1’ is inspired by this installation, utilizing the same bright colors and shapes as the physical structures.”

Velazquez Hands:

Christopher Brown, Velazquez Hands
Christopher Brown, Velazquez Hands

Christopher Brown is a longtime painter in the Bay area, active for over two decades. One of his notable pieces, titled “Velazquez Hands,” draws inspiration from the renowned Spanish baroque artist Diego Velazquez. Velazquez’s royal portraits often featured women with relaxed arms resting on side bustles beneath voluminous dresses, typically holding fans or embroidered handkerchiefs. Conversely, men in these portraits would typically clutch a letter or note.

Brown’s study adds an air of mystery as he repeatedly depicts a cropped figure inspired by Velazquez’s works. However, the figure is not a direct replication but rather a creation from Brown’s own imagination. Furthermore, unlike Velazquez’s portraits, Brown’s figure is a woman holding a folded sheet of paper instead of a man’s. The hands of the figure display various postures, with four of them surrounded by blood-red haloes. The message conveyed through the note or hand gesture is unknown. This piece was a gift of William J. Lutz and Karen Wicklund Lutz (MBA ’78).

Suspended #2:

Howard Ben Tre, Suspended #2
Howard Ben Tre, Suspended #2

Howard Ben Tre is one of the most renowned artists in the contemporary glass movement. His piece “Suspended #2” (from Five Prints) was gifted by the artist himself (along with the rest of the collection. Ben Tre earned his M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980. Ben Tre’s glass art reflects his interest in early architecture, as a result of a trip to Greece in the mid-1980s.

“Suspended #2” is part of a portfolio of five monotype prints related to three-dimensional vessel forms. Each piece includes shapes that are thick and sculptural, and they have a grainy green pattern that resembles his cast glass pieces. The shapes look like ancient jars, bottles, and other Greek containers. They are placed in the center of each sheet and appear to be “suspended” because they don’t have any bases to support them. They could only be stabilized if placed on a tripod or hung from the ceiling.

The Art & Environment Gallery—Michigan School for Environment and Sustainability

Within the School for Environment and Sustainability lies the Art & Environment Gallery.

This gallery is located in the Ford Commons on the first floor of the Dana Building and exhibits rotate regularly. The gallery opened in February 2012 to underscore the influence of art in shaping the collective understanding of science and nature featuring work of local and national artists.

Some past exhibits include:

Lost and Found

Middy Potter, Lost and Found

“Lost and Found” is a multi-piece show by Middy Potter. Potter is a self-taught artist, with his formal education including a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. Potter says this about his art: “ When composing a sculpture, I add a dash of humor, a bit of whimsy, and a pinch of wonderment. Self-taught as an artist, I have always realized the connection between science and art.”

Potter utilizes wood, cloth, metal, and other found objects in his sculptures. Lost and Found in particular, features new or used objects. The show includes metal people and other various sculptures. The metal people, in particular, are made of used objects, and these sculptures are an example of how a sculpture can be conceptualized by assembling used objects together; something Potter knows well.

Compromised Beauty

Jenna Steensma Hoag, Compromised Beauty
Jenna Steensma Hoag, Compromised Beauty

“Compromised Beauty” by Jenna Steensma Hoag is a collection of photos in which traditionally beautiful landscapes are interrupted by figures in Hazmat suits, which implies contamination of the scene. Through her photographs, Hoag investigates the beauty of the natural world around us and human beings’ role in its contamination.

Jenna Steensma Hoag is a professor and artist who mainly works with photography and video. She received her M.F.A in Imaging Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology.

Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry—Michigan School of Dentistry

The Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry is part of a rare breed of museum, with only a small number of museums in the world dedicated to dentistry.

The Museum exhibits and preserves a historical collection of over 25,000 objects focused on the history of dentistry with particular interest on dental practice and technology and global dental trends over the years. From the history of teeth whitening in the United States, gold teeth in Tajikistan, and the prevalence of tooth gems in the Western world, the Sindecuse museum dives into these unique trends.

Through 2024 the museum is featuring their Artistry/Dentistry: Passions of a Creative Mind exhibition of artwork by the faculty, alumni, students, and staff from the U-M School of Dentistry. This exhibit aims to express the connection between dental specialties and how the dental community at U-M contributes to the world of art.

Artwork at the SSW—School of Social Work 

The School of Social Work carries a collection of art reflecting its mission to improve the well-being of disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through research and an innovative curriculum. These diverse artworks displayed around the School aim to convey their shared goal to advance a more just, healthy, and productive society.


Bill Barrett, Kindred
Bill Barrett, Kindred

Before entering the School of Social Work, one is greeted by Bill Barrett’s bronze sculpture, “Kindred.” Commissioned and dedicated in 2002, this 10-foot artwork stands proudly at the entrance of the School’s Educational Conference Center. Barrett’s abstract composition symbolizes the connections and shared spirits of humanity. The sculpture’s presence serves as a reminder of the School’s mission to foster relationships, inclusivity, and the importance of human connection in the field of social work. Generously facilitated through a gift from the estate of Dorothy Deile Purdy and Clinton Edward Purdy, “Kindred” stands as a significant and impactful addition to the School’s artistic landscape.

The Real Blue

Welcoming visitors as they enter the building is Sam Gilliam’s “The Real Blue,” a captivating four-piece installation in the School of Social Work’s lower-level atrium. As a Black artist who came of age during the civil rights movement, Gilliam faced pressure to create narrative or symbolic art centered on his identity. Gilliam’s artistic journey serves as a testament to his unwavering commitment to transcending societal expectations and limitations. Commissioned as a centerpiece of the original art collection, “The Real Blue” carries deeper significance and embodies Gilliam’s approach to painting, which has redefined the boundaries of the medium.

Silence = Death

Keith Haring, Silence = Death
Keith Haring, Silence = Death

Among the diverse artworks adorning the rooms of the School of Social Work, Keith Haring’s “Silence = Death” holds a profound significance. Haring, influenced by the media and crises of his generation, utilized subway advertising panels as his canvas in New York City. This particular artwork emerged during the devastating HIV/AIDS epidemic, symbolizing the urgent need for unity and action within the gay community. Through bold colors and powerful symbolism, “Silence = Death” confronts the consequences of inaction, making it a poignant reminder within the school’s art collection.

Arts in Health-Gifts of Art Program—Michigan Medicine

Katie Mongoven, Cotton & Silk
Katie Mongoven, Cotton & Silk
Ladan Bahmani and Brian Patrick Franklin, Mixed Media
Ladan Bahmani and Brian Patrick Franklin, Mixed Media

Michigan Medicine has six new exhibitions focusing on a diverse range of artistic expressions as part of their Arts in Health-Gifts of Art program. Among them is “Cotton & Silk” by Katie Mongoven, featuring hand-dyed and hand-stitched embroideries that explore the intersections of past and present. “Mixed Media” by Ladan Bahmani and Brian Patrick Franklin presents designs inspired by Persian and Irish illuminated manuscripts, incorporating language and mass communication. The exhibition “Backstitch” by Speicher-Willis & Barnes reimagines home, landscape, and the history of painting through individualized approaches to motifs and surface.

Devi Palaniappan
Devi Palaniappan
Jon Malis, Transcolorations
Jon Malis, Transcolorations

Devi Palaniappan showcases her intricate quilling and origami artistry, using delicate strips of paper to create lightweight yet detailed compositions. “Transcolorations” by Jon Malis translates digital color science into physical form, creating visually captivating and thought-provoking sculptural pieces. Lastly, Cheryl Gould’s “Native Wildflowers in Watercolor” brings the awe-inspiring beauty of nature to life, capturing the intricate details of wildflowers found in their natural habitats.

These exhibitions offer a diverse and enriching experience, showcasing the talents and creativity of these artists. Each artwork invites viewers to explore different themes, materials, and techniques, providing a unique opportunity for reflection, appreciation, and connection within the Michigan Medicine community.

A match made on Broadway: From roommates to castmates

Chemical reaction

Broadway actor Will Burton, BFA ’11, didn’t know whether to be “extra nervous or extra relieved” when he got the call to do a chemistry read for the Tony-nominated musical “Beetlejuice.” He knew his audition partner would be fellow Broadway actor — and former U-M classmate — Britney Coleman, BFA ’11. If compatible, these Wolverines (center and right, above) would share the stage as Adam and Barbara Maitland, the married ghosts portrayed by Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis in director Tim Burton’s 1988 film.

Spoiler alert: Burton and Coleman were more than compatible.

Turns out these graduates of U-M’s Department of Theatre and Drama lived as roommates in Ann Arbor from 2010-11 in a legacy apartment passed among musical theater students. The “Round House,” located above the Jamaican Jerk Pit, had a longstanding reputation for late-night parties on Thayer Street.

So when Burton texted Coleman about their pending chemistry test, she replied, “They should just give you the role.”

Shared history comes in handy when you play husband and wife. “It’s been pretty wild,” Burton says, “and it makes it a little bit easier every step of the way.”

Read the full story at Michigan Today.

Harvesting Electronic Waste for the African Bead Museum

Electronic waste exists in almost every household.

As a result of living in the digital age, technology can quickly become obsolete. Old appliances and devices easily accumulate over time. One alternative is to harvest the waste from these items, such as copper, and upcycle them.

Students work with copper using soldering irons in Ron Eglash’s class.

Recently, a group of Stamps students led by Professor Ron Eglash harvested electronic waste from household appliances to create jewelry for the African Bead Museum. Throughout the Winter 2023 semester, the students worked in the studio to recover copper from fans and other small appliances. They took the wire, formed jewelry based on African symbols (adinkra), and then gifted the pieces to the Dabls Mbad African Bead Museum in Detroit.

The African Bead Museum is a community that houses 18 outdoor installations, the African Bead Gallery, N’kisi House, and African Language Wall. Olayami Dabls, the founder and curator of MBAD African Bead Museum and Dabls African Bead Gallery, created the project with the intention of using art for its original purpose in Africa.

The students’ work on this community partnership project is documented in the video below.

U-M’s botanical gardens taking steps toward carbon neutrality

University of Michigan researchers are turning trash into treasure.

The U-M team, along with researchers and staff from Eastern Michigan University, Duke University and cleantech company 374Water, received $200,000 to fund research around converting lawn, garden and food waste from U-M’s Matthaei Botanical Gardens into valuable products, as well as heat and energy for the gardens’ facilities.

The project is funded as part of the Graham Sustainability Institute’s Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program, which provided a total of $1,160,000 to six research projects that help U-M meet its goal to establish a carbon neutral campus by 2040.

Spearheaded by Professor Margaret Wooldridge of U-M’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, the team has set out to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by preventing organic waste from going into landfills, where it then rots and emits greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide and methane.

A pile of organic waste from Matthaei Botanical Gardens. It looks like trash now, but Wooldridge’s team sees its potential value. Image credit: Tony Kolenic

Rather than toss Matthaei’s organic waste into landfills where it can contribute harmful elements to the environment, Wooldridge’s team plans to upcycle that waste into useful products like acetone, packaging fibers, fertilizers, biofuels, or to heat Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum’s facilities.

The team estimates that for every ton of organic waste upcycled, they will avoid an equal mass of carbon-dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gasses from emitting from landfills.

Landfills emit approximately 14.5% of the United States’ total methane, which is 80 times more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere over a 20-year period. In 2020, methane emissions from landfills were equal to the energy needed to power 11.9 million homes, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Despite their large carbon footprint, landfills remain the main way that Americans dispose of their municipal solid waste.

By upcycling Matthaei’s waste, Tony Kolenic, the director of MBGNA, also hopes to retain the value of Matthaei’s living collections after their death.

“Across the botanical gardens and arboretum, our plant collections start as seeds. We care for them. We provide them resilience. They bloom, have their annual and perennial cycles, and at some point there could be another life available to them in other valued products,” he said.

When food and other organic waste goes to landfills, it rots and emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A team of researchers plan to reduce Matthaei’s organic waste emissions by upcycling it into useful products and energy. Image credit: jbloom via Openverse

The team believes that by upcycling organic waste locally, they can save on costs of transporting waste, engage local stakeholders in waste upcycling, and reduce the complexity of the waste, which impacts the types of products that can be produced, as well as the infrastructure required for pre- and post-processing of the resulting biocrude.

“The (waste) materials dictate the outcome,” said Wooldridge, so the question is “what are the potential products that we can make … and how much can we make?”

The initial experiments will use less than 1% of the waste generated at Matthaei Botanical Gardens, but Kolenic hopes the team can reach a point where essentially all of Matthaei’s organic waste is either composted or upcycled into products and energy using prototype reactors installed at the botanical gardens.

Having on-site reactors also creates a unique education and outreach opportunity by displaying the process of converting organic waste into biofuels and other products for Matthaei Botanical Gardens’ visitors.

“Instead of the normal academic modality of research taking place in a closed lab setting, the whole process can be disseminated,” Kolenic said. “We have the opportunity to gain new kinds of collections and truly become that living, learning lab that we strive to be.”

This project was supported in-part by U-M’s Graham Sustainability Institute’s Carbon Neutrality Acceleration Program, designed to amplify U-M’s efforts in mobilizing the research community’s collective power to advance a low-carbon future. All U-M faculty are eligible to apply for funding that supports carbon neutrality research with the potential to effect real change in the world.

Arts Initiative, SMTD expanding student arts opportunities

A collaboration between the University of Michigan’s Arts Initiative and the School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD) is expanding opportunities for students who want to learn to play the guitar, and points the way to more arts participation by non-arts students.

The effort fits into an important goal of the Arts Initiative — strengthening the student experience by integrating the arts in teaching and learning, and expanding the breadth of offerings and access to these experiences.

“There are students who want to engage in the arts while at U-M. However, there are obstacles to participation,” said Christopher Audain, managing director of the Arts Initiative. “Helping units meet demand is one way to eliminate barriers to arts learning, which significantly improves the college experience.

“We are excited about expanding this type of support for other classes across disciplines and seeing the impact it has.”

Vera Flaig, lecturer I in music at the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, leads her guitar class in a Study Days Concert at the U-M Museum of Art during the fall 2022 final exam period. The class is part of SMTD’s collaboration with the Arts Initiative. (Photo by Mark Clague)

The guitar-instruction program grew out of a recognition that for many years U-M students have been requesting to study guitar, but due to a lack of faculty and capacity, SMTD was unable to meet the demand.

Mark Clague, professor of music and associate dean for collaborations and partnerships in SMTD, hired Jonathan Edwards, lecturer of guitar and songwriting, to teach guitar in fall 2020, offering two classes with 30 spaces. Interest continued to grow, and by fall 2022, there were close to 100 students on the waitlist.

Clague reached out to the Arts Initiative to bridge the gap.

The funding SMTD received from the Arts Initiative was imperative in expanding the student experience for those on the waitlist. The school hired a second instructor for fall 2022, and after just one semester of Arts Initiative funding, SMTD was able to confirm increasing interest and hired a third instructor.

While working on a campus-wide arts census with Maryrose Flanigan, executive director of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, a multi-institution arts alliance founded at U-M, the Arts Initiative identified several additional areas where supplemental instructors could help meet student demand for arts participation.

“We found that there were barriers to enrolling in arts classes for non-majors, including lack of space in classes, the location of arts classes, and required major coursework either not including arts classes or having too few credits to use to engage with arts coursework,” Flanigan said.

Along with Edwards, SMTD lecturers Bret Hoag and Vera Flaig are creating more opportunities for students to engage with and take guitar classes.

“We’ve gone from two sections to now 15 classes of guitar, as well as a new guitar ensemble for fall 2023,” Clague said.

“It’s been super exciting to see students, even absolute beginners, discover their talent for making music. There is so much incredible talent on this campus. Our students are great thinkers and scholars, but there is nothing so exciting as watching students realize that they are creative artists, too.”

A guitar class performs a Study Days Concert at the U-M Museum of Art during the fall 2022 final exam period. The class is part of SMTD’s collaboration with the Arts Initiative. (Photo by Mark Clague)

Few, if any, of the U-M students taking the guitar classes are music majors, and almost all are students studying outside of SMTD majors.

Savannah Halpern, a freshman studying biopsychology, cognition and neuroscience, said the experience motivated her to continue learning the guitar and she plans to take more classes.

“Thanks to this class, I believe that learning guitar will become a lifelong passion.” Halpern said. “The students in the class are also great, and the overall guitar class has an incredibly positive environment.”

Students have even created their own “Guitar Club,” an official campus organization named the Classical Guitar Society. It already has more than 50 members and is growing.

“Guitar is always something I’ve wanted to learn, and this experience has, quite literally, changed my life in many positive ways,” said Rohan Barad, a senior studying user experience design in the School of Information.

“I would 100% recommend this class to other students. It’s the perfect balance of learning a fun hobby and practicing something new without feeling too stressed or overwhelmed. In fact, as I peruse the entire course guide for classes under the Arts Initiative, I wish I had more semesters myself to take some more classes.”

Theater-based vocal training may be useful in childbirth

Loud and deliberate screams in the labor and delivery room could actually be the result of theater-based vocal training that may be used to help women with pain management during childbirth.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have been studying the application of the Fitzmaurice vocal technique, originally developed by a U-M alumnus for actors, to help women have a more positive birthing experience.

The Fitzmaurice training was originally developed for actors, specifically for “tremor work” to deconstruct dynamic efforts designed to produce a tremor in the body. The mental and physical process starts in the arms or legs and then leads to a release of energy and tension, which encourages loud screams or moans.

U-M alumna and creator of the technique, Catherine Fitzmaurice, said she designed the training “to support people in finding and using their unique voices—in healthy, clear and creative ways—while developing greater freedom and presence.”

Kris Danford, former assistant professor at U-M’s School of Music, Theatre & Dance who is currently at Penn State, completed the Fitzmaurice training and was inspired to work with colleagues at the U-M School of Nursing to apply the method to childbirth. They produced a study, Impolite Birth: Theatre Voice Training and the Experience of Childbirth.

Two workshops were conducted in 2021 with pregnant participants from London to Ann Arbor discussing how the use of vocalization and sound can positively impact the experience of giving birth.

“Within the health care system, female vocalization is often met with judgment,” Danford said. “We found some providers were even telling patients to make only certain types of sounds, but helpful vocal expression isn’t always the calm, low, serene sounds that many childbirth educators promote.”

Jeremy Sortore, assistant professor at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance, teaches a four-course vocal training class at U-M using the Fitzmaurice technique.

“It can also be an energizing tool to help actors have big experiences that they’re not necessarily in control of within a safe container,” he said. “It’s about developing your capacity to be with what is and respond truthfully in the moment.”

U-M School of Nursing colleagues included in the study: Ruth Zielinski, professor; Lee Roosevelt, assistant professor; and Alexandra Vroom, graduate student.

Arts Initiative seeks proposals for Creators on Campus

The University of Michigan Arts Initiative is accepting proposals from faculty and staff for fall 2023 and winter 2024 residency programs that will expand existing visiting artist programs, initiate larger-scale visiting artist possibilities, and enhance learning, arts research and the overall campus experience for students.

Through its Creators on Campus program, the initiative will leverage the full scope of resources at the university, positioning U-M as the premier destination for emerging and established artists to drive creativity, collaboration and discovery.

The initiative will make grants available for Visiting Artist Support Grants, which increase support for existing visiting artist programs, and the Visiting Artist Integration Project, which initiates new artist residency programs and individual projects.

All U-M faculty and staff are eligible and encouraged to apply on behalf of any department, school or college, or unit.

Proposals for the program’s first round of funding are due May 8, and selections will be announced June 2. Grant amounts will be determined based on need and in collaboration with the applicant.

“We know U-M is a leader across a number of domains — research, the arts, science, medicine and more. This program will further build on and leverage those strengths through the engagement and support of artists,” said Christopher Audain, Arts Initiative managing director.

“Ultimately, this program will lead to new collaborations and novel experiences for our students, faculty and broader community at large.”

Applications for the CoC program can use the support in the following ways.

Visiting Artist Support Grants

These grants can be used for:

Visiting Artist Integration Project

These grants can be used for:

The Arts Initiative seeks to illuminate and expand human connections, inspire collaborative creativity, and build a more just and equitable world through the arts.

Groundbreaking project at Taubman College involving novel 3D concrete printing method

ANN ARBOR—A transformative development in 3D concrete printing promises innovation in the construction industry—with better and more environmentally friendly structures coming at a lower cost, say researchers at the University of Michigan.

Architect Mania Aghaei Meibodi and researchers Alireza Bayramvand and Yuxin Lin of the DART lab at U-M’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, have developed a method for creating ultra-lightweight, waste-free concrete. The method reduces weight by 72% as compared to conventional, solid concrete of the same size, and is leading to new partnerships and patents beyond U-M.

Previous approaches around 3D concrete printing, or 3DCP, aim to digitize construction and reduce concrete consumption. However, the most widely used approach has geometric limitations that restrict its application to simple shapes like orthogonal walls.

The Shell Wall, shown from front and back views, highlights the material reduction achieved through a thin membrane between structural ribs in a tall, doubly curved wall.

“This leads to high concrete consumption and limits its application for lightweight forms that entail intricate shapes like branching and angular tubular forms, overhangs, layer cantilevers, and filament section or angle variations,” said Aghaei Meibodi, assistant professor of architecture at Taubman College.

The most widely used approach on construction sites uses a planer toolpath, parallel to the ground or along a single plane, to guide the 3DCP tool head. The tool head follows this path and extrudes mortar from the printer head, depositing it in horizontal layers.

After each layer is deposited, the extruder nozzle is raised by the height of the deposited layer. This process is repeated to create a concrete mold, which is later filled with rebars and concrete.

The U-M team’s new approach, the “Shell Wall,” demonstrates a computational design and robotic 3D printing technology that effectively combines topology optimization with 3D concrete printing. Topology optimization is a technique that generates the most efficient distribution of material based on performance criteria, such as strength or weight, for a given set of support (The Smart Takes from the Strong).

The team created a computational model that synergizes nonplanar and variable material deposition based on the shape and geometric features of the topology-optimized parts. This allows for efficient use of material by placing it precisely where it’s needed for structural purposes, “and eliminates unnecessary overbuilding with excessive amounts of materials,” Aghaei Meibodi said. “All of these factors combined mean that we can build better, more environmentally friendly structures at a lower cost.”

In the age of robots, artificial intelligence and automation in architecture, 3D printing is gaining popularity in the construction industry, particularly for its ability to create complex shapes and structures quickly and with less waste.

Overall, the construction industry is beginning to quickly embrace 3D printing as a promising tool for innovation and sustainability.

According to Bayramvand and Lin, previous research has explored nonplanar 3D printing with polymer-based materials for intricate geometries, but using concrete—a more challenging material—has received limited attention.

With these technological advancements from the DART Lab researchers, notable leaders in 3D concrete construction—the Peri Group, ICON and WASP—are beginning to take notice.

With rapid urbanization and increased demands to build infrastructure, their work is contributing to major changes in the construction industry and overall 3DCP practices—establishing new partnerships designed to improve future outcomes for architects, lawmakers, 3D concrete printing startups and the concrete industry at large.

A half century of women in the Michigan Marching Band

ANN ARBOR—The 2022-23 school year at the University of Michigan marks 50 years since the passing of Title IX, which allowed women to join the Michigan Marching Band.

Today, 42% of the MMB identify as women, and the band is led by Rachel Zhang, the fourth female drum major in the 125-year history of the marching band.

The band acknowledged this important anniversary during the homecoming game at the start of the school year where several pioneering women from throughout the MMB’s history conducted and participated in the performance, including Lynn Hansen, a graduate of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance and marching band member from 1972 to 1975.

When Hansen enrolled at U-M in 1971, she had every intention of joining the marching band.

“Because I wanted to be a band teacher, I thought of course I would be in the marching band,” she said. “How do you teach something that you haven’t experienced at a higher level than the people you’re teaching?”

When she learned that this experience, crucial to her career ambitions, was not available to her, she confronted the then newly-appointed band director George Cavender about how to join. She was told, again, that there was no way for her to join. This encounter followed protests on campus in 1971 attempting to sway Cavender’s desire for an all-male band, to no avail.

Until, that is, the passing of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972—the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit sex discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions.

Hansen, along with 11 other women, joined the band that first year. As first chair oboist, she also became the first-ever female section leader. She recalls having full support from her male bandmates and feeling empowered to fully participate in the marching band experience, as a member and as a leader.

Lynn Hansen

That very first season, the band was invited to perform the halftime show at Super Bowl VII in Los Angeles. One of Hansen’s clearest memories, understandably so, is forgetting her pants before the Super Bowl performance.

“Packing everything up, the instruments all had to go in these big crates, and you were responsible for your own uniforms. The hats were boxed and taken separately,” she said. “And we got there, and we had gone through our rehearsals and we were getting closer to the actual Super Bowl, and I realized that I didn’t have my pants.”

Luckily, the equipment manager arrived with extra pairs and Hansen was able to take the field.

Hansen went on to fulfill her ambitions of teaching band to young musicians, and became a principal oboist of the Traverse Symphony Orchestra, performing with them for 42 seasons.

“I feel so grateful to have been one of the first to just get in there and get started, and be able to pursue my dreams at that point,” she said.

A half century later, the trail Hansen blazed has afforded thousands of women the opportunity to pursue their musical aspirations, on and off the field.

“Everything we do this season just feels like a huge honor to be a part of…I came to Michigan and it was just a fact that I would audition for the band,” said Zhang, demonstrating both her steadfast intentions and how far opportunities for women have come over the past 50 years.

The university now has a dedicated Equity, Civil Rights, and Title IX Office, which provides support, resources and education promoting a safe and nondiscriminatory learning, living and working environment for all members of the university community, and ensuring equal opportunity for all.

Prison art: U-M features creative works of prisoners across Michigan

The University of Michigan Prison Creative Arts Project will unveil its 27th annual Exhibition of Artists in Michigan Prisons, one of the world’s largest shows of its kind.

This year’s edition, which runs March 21-April 4, will feature 645 pieces that will line U-M’s Duderstadt Gallery walls with the works of 360 artists from all 25 prisons in the state. Visitors will find a wide variety of works.

The artists worked all year to create a variety of artwork, from painting (any media), collage and drawing to jewelry, metalwork, sculpture and woodworking, in collaboration with PCAP facilitators and curators.

From Kinross Correctional Facility, artist Chris Levitt created “The Weight of Time,” which depicts a man seemingly crawling on the ground.

“I wanted to paint the figure in a way where it is not clear if he will get back up,” Levitt said. “I often feel like I’m not able to get back up and continue on.”

Artist Christopher Stark, known as BEE, painted the “State of Mind,” which features the words “You don’t have to be in prison…to be inside a prison.”

“Some people are already in prison, and they will never step foot inside a prison,” he said about his juxtaposition-themed painting.

From October to January, 18 U-M students and curators attended 25 trips to select the artwork. During the art selection process, they requested to talk directly with the incarcerated artists, analyze their pieces, give them feedback and choose which works will be displayed, considering the audience, budget and gallery space.

“Art selection trips are a key component of PCAP’s mission of putting human connection at the center of what we do,” said Emily Chase, PCAP arts programming coordinator. “In the moments when PCAP volunteers are talking to artists who are incarcerated about their art, no one is a prisoner or student, or young or old, or skilled or unskilled. They are all just people–people sharing interests, thoughts, jokes and opinions.”

Daniel Teribery, Even in the Dark, There’s-Beauty, 2022

Daniel Teribery, Even in the Dark, There’s-Beauty, 2022

For Chase, although art is the end game of the visit, the connection is the focus of the conversation.

“These authentic human connections change the lives of all participants and result in an art exhibit that communicates the worth of all humanity,” she said.

Social work graduate student Sarah Hebert-Johnson participated in six selection trips to help choose the unique artworks for the annual show.

“Engaging with incarcerated artists challenges the dominant narrative of punishment,” she said. “The deep conversations with talented people make me rethink society.”

After her first selection trip, such liberation awareness encouraged Suzy Moffat to add art and design to her anthropology major. She’s visited 13 facilities this year.

“My thinking has become less cut and dry, more understanding and empathetic,” she said. “Art is already a medium for that. Without going in and talking (to the artists), I would not have added art and design.”

For artist Albert Krakosky III, from Marquette, besides fun, making art is a form of meditation. He created a painting called “A Patient Man.”

“I love seeing a piece come together,” he said. “I feel calm and at peace, excited to see how my five siblings, parents, and relatives will react to my artwork.”

Albert Krakosky III, A Patient Man, 2022

Albert Krakosky III, A Patient Man, 2022

PCAP community engagement specialist Sarah Unrath works directly with current and formerly incarcerated artists.

“It gives me goosebumps walking in the gallery, that precious arena that exudes the whole gamut of emotions of what it means to be human,” she said. “The interactions are authentic. It’s something you just can’t shake.

“Whether through revelations during workshops and undergraduate courses, the powerful experiences of art selection trips, or the radical community of Linkage, PCAP seeps into the fibers of your being and changes the way you do life.”

Art prices vary and all proceeds go directly to the artists, minus necessary taxes and fees.

The exhibition, free to the public, is presented with support from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council. It runs March 21-April 4 at the Duderstadt Gallery, 2281 Bonisteel Boulevard on U-M’s North Campus in Ann Arbor. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

An opening celebration reception begins at 6 p.m., with the ceremony starting at 6:30 p.m. March 21. It features speakers from U-M and the Michigan Department of Corrections and highlights artists from previous exhibitions with exhibition co-founder Janie Paul.

Written in collaboration with Aaron James, a PCAP Linkage Community Journalism Initiative member.