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Busing to culture

November 16, 2010

CALUMET - Susan Rosemurgy is looking forward to taking advantage of a relatively new grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, which she thinks will help expose her students to a wide variety of art.

Rosemurgy, who teaches art at Calumet High School, said she plans to apply for a Bus Grant from MCACA, which will provide transportation costs to get the students to various art venues.

"I'm trying to put something together," she said. "I'd like to get as many opportunities for my students as I can."

One of the venues Rosemurgy would like her students to see is the Rozsa Art Gallery at Michigan Technological University's Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts.

"It's a beautiful space," she said. "I would love to get my students to the De Vos Gallery at Northern (Michigan University)."

Rosemurgy said she knew about the Bus Grant when it was initiated last year, but she didn't have time to apply for it, although she wishes she did.

"I think it's a great opportunity for music and theatre," she said.

Cynthia Cot, executive director of the Copper Country Community Arts Council, which is acting as the re-granting agency for the Bus Grant, said the grants are for up to $500.

"It's for transportation to get kids out of the classrooms and into various cultural (venues)," she said.

The grants can be used to pay for gasoline, driver costs and any overhead the schools may incur, Cot said.

Cot said the grant is not only for students in under-served areas.

"It's another effort for the state to distribute funds," she said.

Last year, Cot said no schools used the grant to come to the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock.

The grant isn't just for art galleries, Cot said, and such venues as the Carnegie Museum in Houghton, historical museums and the Calumet Theatre.

"It's for cultural institutions," she said.

Cot said students do come to the CCCAC often, and there is a Youth Art gallery,

"We always welcome classes," she said. "We are set up to do tours and talk about art."

Laura Miller, executive director of the Calumet Theatre, said no local schools used the grant to come to the theatre, which disappointed her, but she understood why they didn't come.

"It was so last minute," she said.

Miller said she hopes local teachers know about the grant and take advantage of it to come to the theatre because it will have productions students might enjoy.

"We are going to produce the all-school musical," she said.

That production has been done by the Copper Country Intermediate School District in even years, Miller said, but due to cuts in funding and loss of personnel, employees there can no longer do it.

Other performances at the Theatre which school children might enjoy, Miller said, include Big Top Chautauqua, which has magicians, and a matinee on Lake Superior and mining history.

Debra Mues, art teacher at C-L-K Elementary School, said she has an idea how she might use it.

"In the spring, Michigan Tech has an art exhibit from artists in the area," she said.

Mues said she'd also like to take students to the CCCAC, and maybe she could combine visits to both in one trip.

According to a press release from MCACA about the Bus Grant program, in its first year, 17,000 students at 146 schools in Michigan took part.

The deadline to apply for the grant is Jan. 15. To apply, go online to Trips must take place from March 1 to May 30. For more information, contact program manager Carolyn Damstra at 517-241-4011.

Cot said she hopes many teachers take advantage of the grant so students can experience culture in the area, including the CCCAC.

"It'd be great to have more kids from the area come in because they wouldn't have the opportunity otherwise," she said.

Kurt Hauglie can be reached at khauglie@



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