Julie Dolan, the outgoing Fine Arts Director (past 10 years) at Adrian High School was introduced by our own Lisa Wilkie, Director of the Adrian Schools Educational Foundation. Lisa said that Julie has really expanded the Arts curriculum while she’s been at AHS. It was through funding by the Foundation that Julie’s position came to be a reality. The Foundation will soon be celebrating its 30th anniversary, Lisa said.  All money from the Foundation goes toward classroom grants as well as other projects in the district. The successful bond issue back in 2005, she said, resulted in the development of the Performing Arts Center at AHS. The Foundation boasts of a $1.2M endowment the interest of which goes annually to the Arts programs. It subsequently funded the position of Fine Arts Director, namely Julie’s.
Julie gave much credit to the focus group that she herself was a part of back when it was formed in 2005 who had a clear vision as well as passion about what they wanted to do with performing and visual Arts at AHS. Julie quoted a woman from the Lincoln Center for the Arts in New York City who said the “we have to teach children enough to notice what there is to be noticed”, which Julie said, has become her own philosophy. An offshoot of this then, Julie said, carries into programs like the upcoming Art-A-Licious, First Fridays and other downtown events where all of the Arts can be enjoyed. This “touching of our community”, Julie said, has been very important in her focus of late for Adrian Schools as well as the rest of the community.
Julie then spoke about the efforts of the Croswell Opera House and the many stars that have come from it in the past some of whom have made it to the Broadway stage as well as those who decided not to pursue careers on stage but are now lawyers, business owners, etc. who, by their involvement at the Croswell, have learned such things as communicating effectively in front of any size audience.
Julie spoke about her partnership with the local colleges and university which are able to attract gifted students. New this year, Julie said, will be a dance class at AHS. Tanya Smith who owns a dance studio downtown will be teaching dance at AHS. A grant through the Stubnitz Foundation has been approved and will go to purchase dance bars. Also offered will be a guitar class. Grant money will also be used to purchase a number of guitars. A S.T.E.A.M Program (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) will also be started, she said, to give kids the “full arts experience.” Julie announced the upcoming Fine Arts Frenzy at Adrian Schools. They partner with the Boys & Girls Club (all kids from there attend this event for free). It is a full week of art-engaged activities that run from 10am until noon for kids in grades 4 through 9. Busses pick all kids up from the Boys & Girls Club and head for AHS. At the completion of the program there will be a luncheon at noon on Friday, August 21st and all are invited. Registration forms can be picked up at Lisa’s office at AHS for kids interested in participating.