Public art, writing tour kicks off in Ypsilanti

Nonprofit partners with UMMA for communitywide event

Sculpture at the Michigan Avenue branch of the Ypsilanti District Library.
Sculpture at the Michigan Avenue branch of the Ypsilanti District Library. (YpsiWrites)

ANN ARBOR – Nonprofit YpsiWrites partnered with the University of Michigan Museum of Art to launch YpsiWrites: A Public Art and Walking Tour on Thursday.

YpsiWrites aims to support and develop writing in the Ypsilanti community and is powered by Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti District Library and 826 Michigan.

The immersive experience consists of three walking tours that span Depot Town, downtown Ypsilanti and Eastern Michigan University’s campus. Each tour features several stops with a piece or art or architecture along with imaginative writing prompts.

To see the tour maps, click here. The maps indicate where nearby parking structures and bus stops are located to make participation accessible for community members.

The outdoor activity is designed for both individuals and groups of all ages and aims to help people explore Ypsilanti while finding inspiration in public art.

“Our core belief at YpsiWrites is that everyone is a writer and everyone’s writing matters,” co-founder of YpsiWrites Cathy Fleischer said in a statement.We created these tours to encourage writers of all ages and skill levels to find inspiration in art that is around us in our daily lives. UMMA’s expertise in museum-style prompts combined with our passion for supporting writers in the area resulted in the creation of an experience that we hope is meaningful to everybody.”

Fleischer, along with YpsiWrites co-founder Ann Blakeslee and UMMA Curator of Museum Teaching and Learning, Grace VanderVliet, came up with the walking tour idea and put out a call for volunteers. Ten community members came forward and scouted locations, prioritized accessible routes and generating the writing prompts to create three engaging tours.

“UMMA and YpsiWrites want our communities to thrive,” VanderVliet said in a statement. “Exploring visual art through writing is a fun way to unlock creativity and learn more about our neighborhoods and ourselves. The paths are accessible for all ages and people with different mobilities. Be sure to look closely at the banners in Depot Town; themed around Public Education, they feature over 50 artworks created by Ypsilanti Community Schools students.

“Emily Considine, a graduating senior at the U-M Penny W. Stamps School of Art and Design, crafted the maps based on volunteers’ descriptions and prompts. Because of her many talents (and edits), she produced a tangible, fun final product.”

Participants who complete the tour are encouraged to submit their writing on the YpsiWrites website for a chance to have their work posted. The nonprofit also offers virtual writing consultations for writers who want to develop their craft and get feedback.

For more information, visit www.ypsiwrites.com.


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