SCA Hosts “arts|in” Open House November 16th Highlighting Student-Business Partnerships

Seventy Saugatuck High School students will host an open house on Wednesday, November 16th at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts (400 Culver Street) showcasing the work they’ve accomplished during their “arts|in” Senior Seminar course. The event, which is free to the public, runs from 6:30pm to 8:30pm.

A special exhibition of artwork by Hamilton, Saugatuck, and Fennville students, created in response to the Senior Seminar projects, will open the same evening in the SCA’s conference room. The student exhibition will be on display through December.

The students in the arts|in Senior Seminar class have been with area businesses since the beginning of the school year, focused on solving problems identified by the businesses. This project based learning model created by the SCA – arts|in – gives students crucial “real world” opportunities to work with professionals, tackle current problems, and produce credible solutions. The result is deeper, more complex learning opportunities for students and valuable outcomes for the businesses.

During the November 16th open house, students will present their solutions and answer questions about what they learned during the arts|in process. Participating area businesses include Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates of Holland, Pathways, Special Olympics, twisthink, Saugatuck Community Recreation, Critter Barn, Disability Network of Lakeshore, Felt Mansion, Grace of Douglas, Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity, United Way of Allegan, and more.

SCA Executive Director Kristin Armstrong said the art center is very excited for students to have this opportunity to connect with community members. “For the past three years we’ve been working with the Saugatuck Schools to better prepare students for jobs in today’s innovative economy,” Armstrong said.

Project based learning enables students to develop deeper learning competencies required for success in college, career, and civic life. Through PBL projects, students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time investigating and responding to complex questions, problems, or challenges. Arts|in takes project based learning to a higher level by injecting design thinking and community engagement into the process.

Ann McKnight, who is working with a group on teen mental health issues, says of students in the arts|in process, “I have witnessed the students working cohesively, brainstorming, and delegating responsibilities with ease, all the while showing respect for each other and being engaged in the project. Their communications with me have been clear and consistent. All this to say I am very impressed with these students, and with the vision for learning that teaches soft skills as well as strengthens the community.”

Dr. Tim Travis, Saugatuck Middle School & High School Principal, says he was impressed by the students’ preparation for an “Intriguing Conversation” program they presented at the SCA in October. “I was even more impressed with their compassion, empathy, passion and commitment to making a difference in their school and community. Arts|in is providing great teaching, real world learning, and local impact from a very talented young adult workforce.”

The student exhibition of works responding to arts|in projects is open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, free of charge, through December.

About the Saugatuck Center for the Arts

The Saugatuck Center for the Arts, located at 400 Culver Street, Saugatuck, is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a more vibrant lakeshore community in West Michigan and beyond. For more information about the SCA and upcoming events, visit or call 269.857.2399.