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Last Month, Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit had the distinct honor of performing for the National Council on the Arts at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in Washington, DC! The National Council on the Arts are individuals appointed by the President of the United States for their expertise and knowledge in the arts. They advise the Chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts on policies, programs, grants, fundraising and leadership initiatives.

The Mosaic Visit!

Mosaic had the privilege of having Dr. Jane Chu, Chairman of the NEA, visit Mosaic while she was in the Detroit area speaking for the annual conference of the Association of Art Museum Directors at Cranbrook. Chairman Chu asked John Bracey, Executive Director of the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, to recommend and arrange a visit to a NEA grantee, and Mosaic was chosen! Chairman Chu, a few of her staff, and John Bracey were given a tour of Mosaic as well as a presentation providing historical background of both Mosaic and the University Prep Science & Math Elementary School (emphasizing the collaboration with UPSM Elementary as their arts organization in residence). The latter part of the visit encompassed a short and powerful performance by the Mosaic Singers and the Mosaic Acting Company, with a post meet and greet.

The Dream Invitation!

To our delight, Chairman Chu was extremely impressed with the performance during her Mosaic visit. A week later, her Chief of Staff called us to extend a personal invitation on Chairman Chu’s behalf for the Mosaic Singers to come to Washington D.C. to perform for the National Council on the Arts! A Dream Invitation for sure! The invitation included all expenses paid for 12 Mosaic young artists to perform for the Council – an invitation of this kind had never been extended before!

Aaron Dworkin, left, Emil Kang, Rick Sperling, and Chairman Chu


The Performance ~ Second to None!

On the ‘big day,’ June 26, 2015, the National Council on the Arts experience consisted of a short presentation about Mosaic followed by the young artists’ stellar performance, which entailed classical music, acapella renditions of standards and modern pop, and excerpts from the Public Theater’s musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”!

At the end of the performance, the young artists sang Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come”; it was towards the end of this particular song that you could see members of the Council in tears. This is a reaction we see many times when the young artists perform this very moving song, but this time was EXTRA SPECIAL! The young artists did not realize it, but they were singing ”A Change is Gonna Come” at the same time that Council members were being informed that the Supreme Court had just ruled Same-Sex Marriage as legal – adding even more emotion to an already emotional experience! There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.

A Tremendously Rewarding Experience!

The young artists received a standing ovation and nonstop applause, warranting another ‘stand and bow’ due to the overwhelming response! After the meeting was adjourned, Chairman Chu, each Council member, NEA staff members, and representatives of national arts advocacy organizations swarmed the young artists and founder Rick Sperling, enthusiastically congratulating them and bombarding them with questions about Mosaic’s programs and our “Mosaic Model for Youth Development through the Arts.” Additionally, representatives of arts organizations in Virginia, New Mexico, and Rhode Island expressed interest in Mosaic performing in their annual festivals. It was truly a transformative experience for everyone involved, especially our young artists — some of whom had never flown on a plane before this amazing trip.

The Mosaic young artists also visited the Air & Space Museum the day before the ‘big day,’ and the MLK Monument later during the ‘big day’!


Thank You for being a Mosaic Supporter ~ without you there is no us!

Make sure to read The Detroit News’ report on Chairman Chu’s initial visit to Mosaic!