Ferndale, Mich. -

Dan Scanlon, director of Disney-Pixar's "Monsters University" and Clawson, Michigan native will serve as the official "Artist-In-Residence" at the 52nd annual Michigan Youth Arts Festival, which takes place on May 8-10 in Kalamazoo.

Scanlon, known for his work on the popular "Monsters Inc." sequel, and also as a storyboard artist for award-winning feature films including, "Cars" and "Toy Story 3," is an alumnus of Digital Arts, Film and Television (DAFT).

"I think sometimes we make the mistake of thinking the arts only exist in New York or California, and that's not true. Art can come from anywhere, and often does," Scanlon told reporters on a conference call this week. "All the reason why it's so important to have festivals like this, to let kids know there are others making art in Michigan. You shouldn't feel like you have to leave to find your artistic voice. You can find it, and you can get in touch with other artists easier. It's an exciting time for a young person to be interested in art. I think that if you think you have to go off to find your voice, you're never going to find your voice. You should be able to find it wherever you are."

“We’re absolutely thrilled to give Michigan’s top youth talent an interactive experience with such a renowned professional in the creative field,” said Marianne Dorais, Executive Director of Michigan Youth Arts. “It’s important for students to know that they can build exciting and promising careers in the arts, and we’re overjoyed that Dan Scanlon will be there as proof of that inspiring message. If students are encouraged to embrace their creativity, they are more likely to pursue work that fits their personal definition of success.”

The 19-year native of Clawson talked about what he hopes to accomplish at the MYAF this spring.

"There are a million reasons to not pursue a creative goal. I'm looking forward to speaking to students and hopefully inspiring them to keep it going. The most important thing you can be is honest. Tell your own story."

To participate in the Festival, Michigan high school students must earn the highest scores throughout yearlong adjudication events, coordinated by Michigan Youth Arts’ 16 statewide partner associations. The top 1,000 students are then invited to the Festival, which consists of three days and two overnights on the campus of Western Michigan University. All participants will attend discipline-specific master classes, led by industry professionals, and will showcase their work in the form of 50 live musical and theatrical performances, a film festival, a published book of creative writing, and a visual arts exhibit. All performances and exhibitions are free and open to the public.
Other featured Guest Artists at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival will include: Judy Bowers (All-State Honors Choir conductor), Kristen Harvey (dance clinician), Greg Jasperse (vocal jazz conductor), Mark Liermann (theatre clinician), Telaina Morse Eriksen (creative writing clinician), Ronald Newman (music composition clinician), Garik Pedersen (piano clinician), Bruce Uchimura (strings clinician), Donald Schleicher (Honors Orchestra conductor), and Scott Teeple (Honors Band conductor).


For more information, please visit www.michiganyoutharts.org/guest-artists