Student MicroGrant Projects

The ArtsEngine Student MicroGrant program has funded 44 student-led interdisciplinary projects, where art has been a central theme of tenet. Below are brief descriptions and links to media of our funded projects and successful grantees – congratulations to all for their outstanding work!

2017-2018 Grantees

2016-2017 Grantees

2015-2016 Grantees

2017-2018 Grantees

School of Music, Theatre & Dance Grantees

Teagan Faran
Red Shoe Company
Every day, females face social obstacles in the classroom, the workplace, and even the sidewalk. Red Shoe Company is producing a multi-media concert that examines the treatment of women in Ann Arbor and empowers the audience to build a safer community.

Thomas Laub
SHEL: A Historically Fictionalized Musical
An original musical written over the past three years by a Senior in the Musical Theatre Department that is being produced in the Duderstadt Video Studio, and is enabling interdisciplinary collaboration through the integration of various fields into the creative aspects of the production.

Colin McCall
The Empathy Project
Framed by the current socio-political climate, the Back Pocket duo creates a new performance experience based around the themes of art as a means of promoting effective and empathetic communication. The project is comprised of commissions of works in music, film, and visual art focused on the five tenets of Empathy, Love, Sharing, Acceptance, and Forgiveness. 

Rebecca Rosen
First Impressions: A Global Perspective
This project aims to encourage individuals to question assumptions about representation by presenting a series of manually revolving artist’s tools, each depicting different representations of a map of a globe. Students will be encouraged to create their own tool templates as well and exploring challenges of accurately actualizing representations. 

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Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design

Zoe Black
Growing Up Girl
This documentary explores the history of women’s representation in American media and its impact on informing female identity. Interactive elements will be fabricated and installed alongside the film where viewers can reflect on and explore their identity in ways they may not have explored before.

Zoe Black
Yearbook: A Dance Film
This project encapsulates the university experience in the 21st century through a series of dances that focus on various aspects of college life. The stories are told as flashbacks on the night before graduation as five friends reminisce about the exciting times in their college careers.

Anna Brooks
This project will be a collection of data-driven sonic landscapes that draw on data from Cassini-Huygens mission to hypothesize what it might sound like to walk through three of Saturn and Jupiter’s most dynamic moons: Titan, Enceladus, and Io. By translating data into their acoustical implications, Astrophonica will ground relevant scientific findings into accessible human experiences.

Stephanie Brown
Am I Enough?
This exhibit challenges the psychological decisions we make as we construct our identities pulling from dominant media, the judgement of our communities, and self-affirming family values, or lack thereof. The installation critiques skin color discrimination and its relationship to self-esteem; exploiting the language and assumptions of advertising in public and private spaces.

Victoria Essex
Sustainability by Design: School Bus Conversion
This project sustainably converts an old school bus into a compact, transportable living space in order to volunteer on farms and with non-profits across the United States.

Alicia Finnorn
Hide the Knives
Hide the Knives investigates the possibility of bringing people together and healing the political divide in our country through the experience of cooking together, sharing a meal, and discussing each other’s life experience and political opinions.

Dara Firoozi
Therapeutic Grounding Wearables
This project develops a series of wearables that incorporate therapeutic techniques called Grounding which uses the five senses: sight, scent, sound, touch, taste; to help someone cope when anxious or triggered. This discursive design project explores the physical side of mental health and provokes a conversation to end the negative stigmas.

Anna Hardig
Light Shield: An Offensive Jacket
Unlike devices on the market, including pepper spray and knives, I am designing a women’s self-defense jacket that cannot be used against the victim. With a flip of a switch, the user wearing the jacket will shine so bright that any observer would have to look away, creating a protective shield.

Masimba Hwati
Mbende/Jerusarema Techno
Mbende/Jerusarema Techno is a twenty-five minute performance art piece combining elements of Mbende/Jerusarema (a traditional Zimbabwean dance) and Detroit techno. This happens on a 29′ x 15′ stage alongside five 13′ vertical sphere sculptures. A television screen playing specific videos will be mounted to each spear. Amongst these, five dancers will perform to synthesized Mbende/Jerusarema and techno sounds. On this project I will collaborate with Spencer Haney from “Performing Arts Technology: School of Music Theater and Dance”, and his area of focus is “Media Art, Engineering”. Spencer is a Multi-talented creative whose abilities span from sculpture dance sound design and engineering. On this Project Spencer will focus on working with the Arduino system to make the sculptures touch sensitive. Together we will work on creating ambient hybrid soundscapes from Mbende/Jerusarema and 1980’s techno from Detroit. Mbende/Jerusarema and techno are both cultural art forms created as counter-narratives.

Jack Hyland
Sustainability and Our Instruments: Utilizing Recycled Plastic to Challenge the Contemporary Electric Guitar
This project a more environmentally sustainable alternative to the cultural expectations of the contemporary electric guitar. As a substitute to wood, recycled plastic will be melted and reformed as an unconventional input material in the body of electric guitars.

Joe Iovino
Plaques for Plaques
For my Integrative Senior Thesis Project, I will create new plaques to temporarily accompany plaques around Ann Arbor, in order to call attention to them and put them in context. I will consult and collaborate with local historians to create a walking guide for these plaques, directing locals around town so that they can observe and appreciate our history.

Emily Legleitner
A work in print media, fibers, metal, and light, explores the dichotomy of private and public view in the context of intimate partner violence and self-image. This installation fragments day light, while at night is transformed by LED lights. This work seeks to increase public awareness of and discussion around the effects of emotional abuse in partner violence.

Heidi Liu
Future of Mobility
Two concept cars that will demonstrate the importance of combining future technology and exterior transportation design for efficient, accessible forms of mobility in consultation with MCity, student engineers, and professionals in the auto industry.

Hannah Mabie
Chromatic Fluidity
Chromatic Fluidity is a series of paintings, sculpture, and video pieces that interpret the sensation of nonlinear time focusing on the ephemeral nature of memory. It serves as a more organic way to remember fragments of the past as they come without the rigidity of the traditional timeline structure.

Brenna Murphy
This exhibition of art works will be displayed in the Stamps Gallery in downtown Ann Arbor. Exploring the process of grief, the formation of continuing bonds with the deceased and their relationship to the physical labor of making, the work that will be featured in this exhibition centers around the repetitive and laborious construction of handmade lace using threads harvested from the clothing of my close friend, Ana, who passed away last year. Works emerging from this process will include a “memorial” sculpture made with Ana’s own unfinished lace, a live performance depicting my process of harvesting thread and using them for lace-making, and a large-scale sculptural installation piece created by suspending several hundred yards of my own handmade lace between two sides of a long narrow corridor-like structure. 

Claire Zimmeth
Dumpster Dolls Presents: You Never Asked for This
A video and EP of trashy rock that will dance you through that depression. Come on a journey down to rock bottom with your hosts, The Dumpster Dolls, as they teach you to manage the waste in your heart. Inspired by 80’s glam and 90’s instructional videos, it explores self-loathing and darkness that will peel back the smiling mask we all wear.

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A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning

Yangtian Yan
A Useless Machine
This machine is essentially a cubic shaped Chinese puzzle in which I also incorporate a few mechanisms. The mechanisms in the cube are meant to fulfill the four of human’s (or just mine) five traditional senses–sight, sound, touch, and smell. I put another element, “time”, to replace “taste” which, in my opinion, is not necessary for this project.

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College of Engineering

Peter Bongiorni
Pantanal Partnership Music Education Program
We are a student organization focused on bringing sustainable technology and arts education to the rural Pantanal region of Brazil. Our philosophy or “artists supporting artists” has helped us connect with communities on a more personal level and allows us to provide the best possible opportunities to those we meet during our time abroad.

Simmone Dubois (on behalf of Design for America)
Furniture Development for Avalon Housing
Our studio defined clear goals for the couch cover which includes spill-proof/waterproof to make it easier for spills to be cleaned, easy installation, standardization (to fit multiple couches since furniture is usually donated), secure when placed, and the ability to provide support and comfort for users. These design goals were framed around the priorities that were found through our user research and feedback from the community and staff based on what’s important for them in terms of health and safety.

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