Art in the city: developing community involvement through art.

Author:Miranov, Aaron
 
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How many people can say they knew exactly what they wanted to be when they grow up in the third grade and actually accomplish it? Well, Chamber member Chazz Miller, for one. In the third grade and even before, Miller was known at his school as the "King of Art." That year, he had to change schools and found himself face to face with another "King of Art." Needless to say, there was a showdown everyday in art class.

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"When the teacher put the art up on the wall," Miller remembers, "his friends would cheer for his art and my friends would cheer for mine."

Fast forward a few decades, and the word Miller says most accurately sums up his typical day? Busy. (He wasn't kidding ... during the interview, no more than a few minutes passed without his cell phone buzzing).

Miller is founder and director of Public Art WorkZ, or P.A.W.Z, an initiative geared toward educating and empowering youth with art and revitalizing Detroit into a world class public art showcase. The goal of his program is to foster social and economic growth, while educating students that: 1. Art is in everything and should be used to achieve their highest academic performance, and 2. To become effective and productive members of society. Miller believes it's very important, especially here in Detroit, to maintain your identity and freedom of expression as an individual. Checking emails, organizing and cleaning is always first on the agenda for this early riser before starting on whatever general project is on tap for the day. Miller is always working on curriculum for the program he teaches and developing mural projects to get the community involved. One such class is on Tuesdays and Thursdays, where Miller oversees a University Prep mentoring and LIT program on 3-D animation.

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Miller calls his studio Artist Village - and it's where he has successfully worked on projects for countless clients over the years. The client list is as diverse as the studio itself, including J.L. Automotive, United Way, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the United States Air Force, just to name a few, Miller also helped start and name the Johansen Charles Gallery in Eastern Market with Kevin Hanson, a local photographer, entrepreneur and longtime friend who has a lot of strong influence in the Eastern Market area. The Johansen Charles Gallery still carries many events and is very well known around Detroit.

Diversity initiatives

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