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Conversations with creators and organizers of the arts scene in West Michigan, hosted by Cara Lieurance

The KIA’s new “gap year” program sets up recent HS grads to explore creativity and continue education

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Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
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A "gap year" at the KIA will earn students a Global Creative Studies certificate from KVCC/KIA.
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Kalamazoo Institute of Arts
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KIA executive director Belinda Tate

Belinda Tate wants to do more for young people who are at a crossroads. Partnering with the Kalamazoo Promise and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, the executive director of the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts recently announced a 9-month course for recent high school graduates that earns them a certificate in Global Creative Studies, which can be applied toward a degree at KVCC.

“Very few students anywhere have the opportunity for intensive learning within a museum and art school setting,” Tate tells Cara Lieurance, saying it allows students to learn in different ways. This program “brings resources together…that will elevate an alternative learning experience."

Envisioned for students 1 or 2 years out of high school, the program is now getting inquiries from people who are 3-4 years out of high school who were impacted by the pandemic. "It's an "on ramp" back into an academic environment," says Tate. It's also a healthy thing to do. A recent study showed that simply visiting a museum was greatly beneficial to mental health. The wide breadth of the KIA's permanent collection can provide a gateway to the world.

Tate is confident in the experience and expertise of the KIA faculty who will be guiding students through the program. “They are not only teaching art techniques, but facilitating all kinds of learning about life skills... We can talk about the entire world through clay-based traditions, for example. People might think it’s for art-based students... but it’s for people with different styles of learning."

Click on the image below to learn more about the Global Creative Studies certificate.

Cara Lieurance covers local music with live morning interviews, and produces WMUK's Let's Hear It weekday mornings at 10 am Mon-Fri, showcasing local interviews and performances. She also produces The Pure Drop, an hour of Celtic music, with musician Dave Marlatt.