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1.26.17 – Luncheon Notes

SPOKES Notes written by: Dan Durkee

We enjoyed a large group for today’s meeting which began in song with Tom Mathison who selected ‘Michigan My Michigan’ in celebration of our state’s 180th birthday. Grace Shearer then offered a thoughtful invocation and we were reminded of our Service Above Self banquet scheduled for March 22nd where tickets and sponsorships are still available. Matt Tiedgen then introduced our guests and visiting Rotarians.

Danielle Rowland with our Community Engagement Committee encouraged everyone to consider volunteering for one of three upcoming events as a part of our ‘Rotary Days of Service’ including a Wish List Drive for the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans where donations will be collected at our meetings until February 16th for a wide range of toiletry and other items needed; participation in Access West Michigan’s hunger simulation workshop with area youth on February 16th from 4 to 6 pm; and food distribution and repackaging at Feeding America’s West Michigan facility on February 17th from 1 to 4pm. Please see Dawn or Danielle for more information regarding any of these events.

Jackie Taylor introduced our speaker and President of Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) Leslie Bellavance, and shared that although Leslie is not a native of west Michigan, she very is glad she chose to accept the position with KCAD and call Grand Rapids home. Leslie began her presentation with a bit of history about KCAD which was established in 1928 by Helen Miller Kendall, the wife of David Wollcott Kendall, a nationally known furniture designer. The college currently offers 17 undergraduate and five graduate programs specializing in art and design as well as continuing studies and even fashion design. In 2013, Grand Rapids Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) merged with KCAD and serves as a vital resource of the college as well as continuing in its role as the premier venue for contemporary art in the region. Leslie shared the College’s mission which includes ‘preparing students for leadership in the visual arts, design, art history, and art education; provide innovative, collaborative education that fosters intellectual growth and individual creativity; promotes the ethical and civic responsibilities of artists and designers, locally and globally’.

Leslie also spoke of KDAD’s recently completed strategic plan ‘Into the Future: Creativity and Leadership’ and a series of strategic priorities that have been identified, including; Diversity and Inclusion, Value of a KCAD Education, Dynamic and Diverse Learning Environments, KCAD’s Financial Position, and Building a Culture of Community. One example of collaborative projects at KCAD and UICA includes involvement in the GRPS Public Museum School. Leslie encouraged us to visit upcoming exhibits at both UICA and KCAD and responded to a number of questions at the conclusion of her presentation

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