october 2016 newsletter


Fall Semester! 

Give yourselves a pat on the shoulder Living Arts! You have survived the first two months of college.  We welcome you into your new home and hope you have had a great time settling-in.

Living Arts is a community where we strive to further develop diverse thinking and to enhance creative expression.  It is also a place where you can spread your wings to explore and experience things you have never done before.  We encourage everyone to participate in boosting creativity by sharing both your interests and innovative thoughts. 

We are excited to see such a large group of first-year students this semester, and would like to share some upcoming events and important dates so you may prepare to explore and enjoy! Also, don’t forget to take a look at some of the recaps of the interdisciplinary all- community meetings we have had so far, some of the fun facts about our community, and some of the spotlight interviews of our Living Artists. A hearty "thank you" to all who have subscribed to the Living Arts newsletter.



  • Welcome to Living Arts!
  • Important Dates
  • Our first All Community Meeting 
  • Events
  • Spotlights

It's October and Halloween is coming!

The haunted house has become an annual tradition for Living Arts students to get into the spirit of the Halloween season.  With the lounge transformed into a ghoulish collection of nightmare-ish decor, the Living Arts haunted house event was a huge hit in Bursley Hall last year. This year will be even more creative and spooky with a larger group of creative Living Arts students constantly sharing amazing ideas!


Important Community Dates

  • Sunday, October 23rd:
    All-Community Meeting, 3-6pm
    Dance/Movement Workshop with Professor Amy Chevasse
  • Saturday, October 29th:
    Halloween Haunted House, 7:00-9:30 pm
  • Sunday, November 20th:
    All-Community Meeting, 3-6pm
    Integrating Art and Technology with Leith Campbell
  • Sunday, December 11th:
    All-Community Meeting, 3-6pm
    RA-led creative team project
  • Saturday, January 14th:
    Workshop: Collaborative Creative Projects, 3-6pm
  • Saturday, February 11th:
    Workshop: Collaborative Creative Projects, 3-6pm
  • Saturday, March 11th:
    Workshop: Collaborative Creative Projects, 3-6pm
  • Saturday, April 8th:
    End-of-Year Symposium, Project Presentations, Duderstadt Gallery, 4-6pm

First Living Arts

All-Community Meeting 2016


On September 18th Living Arts Students enjoyed a performance by musician and educator, Dr. Rajeeb Chakraborty who is visiting UM as a Fulbright Scholar. As a finale, Dr. Chakraborty invited our students to participate in a performance with him.  While producing a rhythmic background, he encouraged living arts student to join his improvisatory experiment. The music became a combination of sounds that were“organic… with so much life in it”, said Fee Christoph, one of the mentees.

For more information about Dr. Rajeeb Chakraborty , click here


Welcome Week Experience 2016


During welcome week Living Arts Students participated in many events designed to give first-year students an introduction to the university and a snapshot of their experience to come in the Living Arts program.

Our summer reading for this was “A Whole New Mind” by Daniel H Pink. Peer mentors lead small focus group discussions on the text with first year students. Sharing opinions about the content and reflecting on potential takeaways for future application.

Our third annual creativity competition provided an opportunity for first-year students to work with their peer mentors on a creative project. Students spent two days, brainstorming, sketching and modeling their own instrument designs. This culminated in presentations and demonstrations of finished instruments.



Living Arts Event

“Dungeons and Dragons”

Living Arts Mentor, Mitchell Curtiss, is organizing a weekly collaborative role-playing game event, featuring Dungeons and Dragons (DnD).  While playing this game, a team of players create their own characters to navigate a series of adventurous tasks or quests that the “Dungeon Master” has prepared for them. “Each character has unique abilities, equipment, and backgrounds to make a well rounded party to face a variety of 'situations' ” Mitchell said, “DnD is heavily story based, and acting in character is fun and encouraged. Players decide what they would like their characters to do, and they are able to roll a die to determine their actions.The game is somewhat complex but always builds off the same base set of rules and leaves plenty of room for creativity!”

People who attended the game event are encouraged to create DnD characters of their own and post them on the DnD Facebook page. “I'm completely blown away by the enthusiasm the players have!” said Mitchell excitedly. The weekly event has so far been a success.



Mentee: Ben Roth

Character: Bendalf— a half-dragon warlock

"He used to be a highly respected wizard until he was caught studying dark magic, at which point he was exiled and had his magical abilities stripped from him. He got his abilities back by making a pact with an ancient (possibly evil) entity. He's a mischievous sort, and generally kindhearted, though he now harbors a dislike of formal wizards."


Mentee: Amanda Donovan

Character: Darby Dankhammer

"She's a barbarian dwarf, so basically she's short and really good at fighting. She wants to be nice to people usually, but also she is really good at fighting and is totally game to bash some heads in. Her weapon is a warhammer and she was raised by bears."


Living Arts Spotlights


Fee Christoph

Living Arts Mentee

Fee Christoph is a first year student of the Living Arts Community this year. She was born in Germany, but has been living in the U.S. for 17 years while speaking German at home. She is currently pursuing InterArts, a program between the school of Art and Design and the school of Music, Theatre, and Dance, to explore and enhance her interests in visual arts and performance.

What is your favorite part of Living Arts?

"My favorite part of Living Arts (besides the amazing community of engaged, talented people) is how it makes you aware of your creative process in all other areas of your life. Because you are surrounded by such unique, creative individuals, who all want to learn from one another, you’re constantly hearing about and working on new projects. In addition to this, the UARTS 150 class gives you a sort of meta-awareness of how you approach creative projects. It forces you to analyze 'how' and 'why' you are creative. This thought process permeates all other aspects of your life, making you hyper aware of how you can work at your fullest creative potential. "

What is creativity to you?

"Creativity is the process of taking a spark of inspiration and creating something new out of it. It is physically manifesting an idea, by drawing from your past experiences and the world around you (so both the external and internal universes we are aware of)."



"Creativity is a skill that is necessary in every area of life, because it is integral to problem-solving. It is necessary in the fine arts, theoretical science and everything in between, because it is an integral part of communicating new ideas."

"Personally, I apply creative thinking to a lot of what I do. I constantly compare and contrast different solutions to problems to distinguish which is the best to use. Currently, I’m the stage manager for a directing senior thesis, “Constellations.” Though usually when I’m involved in theatre I’m acting on the stage, I’ve found that I can apply many of the same creative thinking strategies as a stage manager. I still need to empathize with characters and imagine how they feel and might react, only this time I’m applying this skill to organizing the actors themselves. "


Daniel Korth


Daniel Korth is a Living Arts peer mentor from Manchester, Michigan. This is his second year at U-M studying performing arts technology, while mainly focusing on audio with a multimedia interdisciplinary approach. 

He believes that Living Arts is the place where creativity is cultured because the interesting people in the program inspire new ideas, and are not afraid to share their endlessly wild thoughts about a subject.  “My favorite part of living arts is the people who care about aesthetics and creativity, the people for whom creativity isn't a day job, but a way to live life, and the people who do things like arranging their furniture in a crazy, impractical way because it's fun.  I’m with people like that 24/7, and it makes life more interesting.”  Daniel enjoys hanging out in the Living Arts creative lounge and living with this extremely creative group of people.

Daniel has also been sharing his whimsical mind with the Living Arts community since last year when he was a first-year student.  One of the most memorable projects he did for UARTS 150 involved with creative exploration of cardboard material.  He separated the cardboard material into layers, and weaved the thin cardboard layers into a suit of amor (as shown on the right).


In his opinion, UARTS 150 creative process is a very helpful class that not only helped him adjust to the academic life in college, but also to develop his creativity to a new level of thinking.  He found himself caring less about grades, but began to focus more on what he learned from the projects assigned by the professors.  Whenever he is working on a new project, he finds himself constantly reflecting back to the creative projects as he tries to explore, and get inspired by, daily objects.  

He is currently working at the Duderstadt Center that is located  on the North Campus. The Duderstadt Center becomes the perfect place for Living Arts students to explore and practice their creative thinking because it provides a nexus for creative and technological innovation across disciplines.  For example, Daniel’s field of knowledge varies from Linux to other specific softwares, including audio and animation softwares. His multidisciplinary knowledge along with his kaleidoscopic creativity allow him to help visitors in a more efficient way while exploring his own interests in performing arts technology.


Elvhin Encarnacion


"I am Elvhin Encarnacion, a Junior studying Mechanical Engineering. I'm in love with the performing arts: singing, dancing, acting, composing, and playing music. In Living Arts, I was a Peer Mentor as well as recruiter for the community."

"I chose Living Arts because the community is the perfect combination of my two values as an individual: imagination and self-expression. My favorite part of Living Arts is their dedication to imagination and self-expression by providing its members with all creative tools necessary. I learned how to play the piano using our Practice Rooms and started to compose music, deepening my love for music."

"Creativity is multidimensional. It is both the medium for inspiring masterpieces to be made and a method to solve engineering problems. Creativity is also the vehicle in which emotion is transferred from creator to audience. Although its form is unique to the person, the common aspect for all people is that creativity is imperative to the mental, physical, and spiritual growth of an individual."


  "UARTS 150 has given me the opportunity to develop my Creative Process. The creative process has transformed from something I utilize in my leisure time to my thinking process in daily life. Through Living Arts and UARTS 150, my sources of inspiration have expanded and have developed a small sense of an artist's instinct."

"My one advice to you young'ins is to explore and keep exploring. I am still undergoing individual growth as a third year student, and I still do not have any idea what I want to do with my life. However, throughout my time in Living Arts and this university, I'm enjoying my journey to finding out."