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RAMP UP: New arts program to leverage Detroit’s arts and culture to fuel future imaginations

In addition to teaching children to develop creative passions, the arts help children evolve their language and communication skills so they can communicate effectively and confidently with others. Art is all about self-expression and embracing individuality – and with the stresses and uncertainty of a pandemic environment, the need for children to have a creative release has become increasingly important.

A new program, RAMP-UP, intends to advance high-quality arts training and mentorship experiences for youth in Detroit. RAMP-UP is offered by the Detroit Excellence in Youth Arts (DEYA) via partnership with The Children’s Foundation and Sperling Arts Strategies. The program launched virtually in October.

By mobilizing Detroit artists to mentor young artists at the prime learning period in their lives, RAMP-UP will leverage Detroit’s rich history as a hotbed of innovation in arts and culture to fuel future imaginations. In small groups and in one-on-one mentoring sessions, the program will also implant and develop critical learning and life skills.

Each mentor will engage a cohort of five students within a single arts discipline. Initial disciplines include band, orchestra, choir, drama, dance, visual arts, and multimedia production. Each mentorship will last the duration of the school year, which is approximately 32 weeks. Students will have a total of five mentor sessions per month which includes four hour-long cohort sessions with their mentor, and one individual session with the mentor.

“Ultimately, I realized that it didn’t have to be a lost year, but rather a gap year,” said RAMP-UP Founder, Rick Sperling.  “Students don’t consider a gap year as a year off, but a year ‘on’ – a year to do things that you wouldn’t be able to do while inside the structured community of a school.”

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