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October 19 • 05:56 PM
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Windows of opportunity


Almont DDA, students team up to improve downtown



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February 17, 2010
ALMONT — The stone and brick-faced building at the southwest corner of Main and St. Clair streets may be unoccupied, but its windows are more appealing after being filled with the creations of some talented young artists.

High school art teacher Michelle Paschal helped coordinate the student art display, with assistance and support from the Almont Downtown Development Authority.

Last occupied by CC's Cyber Cafe, the building has stood empty for nearly three years, a fact that frustrates DDA Director Nancy Boxey. Nevertheless, Boxey is pleased to see the student art in the windows, rather than having to peer directly into an empty space.

"The art is eye-appealing and it makes the corner more friendly and inviting to shoppers and passersby," said Boxey.

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Students in Michelle Paschal’s Three Dimensional Art class pose with some of their creations. photo by Tom Wearing.

She said the student art may be rotated throughout the school year, providing an opportunity for elementary-age students to show off their talents, too.

"There is a plethora of young talent in this community," noted Boxey. "This gives the students a place for the entire community to see their work."

Boxey said the student art displays could be expanded to include other empty downtown storefronts.

"It's a creative use of the empty space," said Boxey. "It's also a great way to bring some attention to our talented students."

Paschal applauded Boxey for giving the students a public forum to display their art work, which ranges from traditional paintings to three-dimensional art forms and mediums that include sculpture, stained glass, leather, textiles, mosaics, tiles, clay, metal, wood and plaster.

"I believe every piece of student work should be displayed somewhere; either in our art room, the hallways or in the display cases," said Paschal. "I like to follow that policy. To be able to display their work downtown is a natural progression.

"I thank Nancy (Boxey) for the opportunity to showcase these student art projects where the community can see them," she continued. "It was her idea and she was the positive force behind this."

Paschal also credited school officials, past and current art teachers and the Four County Community Foundation for helping ensure the continuing success of the district's art programs.

"I owe a debt of gratitude to all of them," she said. "It is through all of their efforts that the program flourishes.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.
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