Manal Kadry is the Art & Design Chair at Detroit’s Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies and was a founding teacher at the visual art and design middle/high school, on the campus of her alma mater, the College for Creative Studies. Her passion is creating community connections and partnerships that provide students with a continuum of support and inspiration in creating art and designing for others. We asked her a few questions…
1. Tell us about the Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies K12 Night of the Arts (NOTA) and what visitors will experience there.
Absolutely! Our Night of the Arts is free and open to all. Every year, for one night only, we open our doors for Detroit’s largest K-12 visual art/design exhibition. Guests can view hundreds and hundreds of pieces of unique student artwork spanning four floors. It’s a festive atmosphere, where people can stroll, talk with students and teachers, and enjoy live entertainment. This all happens at Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies on Thursday, May 31 from 5-8 p.m.
My favorite thing about NOTA is how our students’ work provides evidence of rigor and showcases the wide array of mediums our school offers. NOTA highlights our students’ personal voices and we can visually see their thoughts, feelings, and passions and struggles through their art. It also highlights our teachers as facilitators who truly care about each of their students’ creations because without their hard work and dedication of putting this show together, we wouldn’t be able to celebrate these aspiring students.
2. What is the relationship between the HFA and the College for Creative Studies?
Our visual art & design middle/high school was developed by the College for Creative Studies and Henry Ford Learning Institute and opened in 2009. We are located on the CCS campus in the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education. Our school was intentionally situated as a public school in a public space, a nationally-recognized model in which students from 6th grade through MFA grow and thrive, with learning experiences supported not only by CCS, but also fellow Taubman Center tenants, Shinola and Design Core Detroit. CCS has maintained a strong commitment to growing the population of people of color in design careers. Another 10 our graduates will transition to CCS in the fall, with full or nearly-full scholarships as a part of a bridge program that provides formal opportunities for our most advanced, art-driven students during their high school and middle school experience.
3. How does the “design thinking” curriculum prepare students for careers in art and design?
For those who might not be familiar with Design Thinking, it’s a set of skills and mindsets that can be used to address wicked problems. By building capacity in our staff and our students, even as young as kindergarten, to address challenges through Design Thinking, we are empowering them with skills and mindsets that they will carry with them through life. This includes an awareness of self-value, a commitment to act for positive outcomes, creative confidence and a focus on the future. And it’s critical to our strong school culture, which supports deeper learning and trying new ideas.
4. Tell us about the Hagopian Rug Project.
We are so grateful to Hagopian World of Rugs for partnering with us for a second year. The project challenges 9th and 10th graders to expand their knowledge of textiles and interior design principles, articulate their concern about music and its social impact on society, and apply their emerging art and design skills to create a rug design appropriate for residential placement. “Fusion” by Isis Earth was selected by a panel of judges from Hagopian World of Rugs and the College for Creative Studies, based on Isis’ ability to create a design that connects with users and aligns with the project’s design principles. Hagopian then fabricated her design into a 100% wool rug, measuring 5’x7’. This type of deeper learning project helps teach students that with hard work, planning, knowledge and communication they can be proud of converting an idea to reality. It’s not easy but the journey can be as rewarding as the final result.
5. How have you seen students’ creativity blossom in teaching this way?
One theme you will see at NOTA is the way we intentionally connect design education and the community. The partnership with Hagopian World of Rugs is just one that you will see on May 31st. Students from our high school Advertising Design class worked with the Humane Society to create advertisements that encourage more people to volunteer at the shelter. You will also see art pieces that our 8th graders created for Humble Design clients who are transitioning from homelessness, mural designs developed with and for One-Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, and more. These types of community partnerships are so valuable. They help our students connect with what they are learning, see a role for themselves in the future, and understand the impact they can make. It’s this type of focus that led to our district’s designation as a P21 National 21st Century Learning Exemplar for our innovative learning practices.
6. What impact has this organization had on the City of Detroit?
I think our district provides an example of a continuum of education that values not only the need to acquire all of the content required by the State of Michigan, but also prepares students to be designers of their own futures and creative contributors to the vitality of the city of Detroit. In 2017, 100% of graduates were accepted to college or post secondary training, 100% of graduates prepared and successfully presented their art portfolio and 100% of graduates successfully completed our intensive 18-month career exploration program. Those 98 graduates were offered collectively more than $3 million in scholarships. They attend a range of colleges/universities, including the College for Creative Studies, University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University, Wayne State University, and many others. It’s a special time because the first alums from our school are now graduating from college.
Henry Ford Academy: School for Creative Studies K-12 Night of the Arts (NOTA)
May 31, 2018
A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education
485 W. Milwaukee St.
Detroit, MI 48202
Parking Available – Enter Surface Lot from W. Baltimore