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d e s i r p r u S ART BY

Written by Emma Jackson and Doris Galvin

That’s what happened for many in the community when portraits popped up on a brick wall in downtown Chelsea. It all started when Tom Osbeck’s Washtenaw Intermediate School District’s, Chelsea Young Adult Program was invited to participate in a community art installation called The Portrait Project. The project was inspired by the #WhyYouMatter campaign at Chelsea High School, a response to recent teen suicides. It was designed to capture the unique and beautiful aspects of each student. The 15 students from Osbeck’s class, along with 25 students from Independence Hall at Chelsea High School, visited Chelsea’s USArtQuest to work on their self-portraits.


At USArtQuest, students were given a canvas depicting an outline of their likeness and given the freedom to choose paint colors, fill in their canvas forms, and select phrases from a poem that they composed in class to include on their portraits. Each student was assigned a mentor who provided guidance, if required. Osbeck said the project has been beneficial for his students. “Students gained comfort interacting with different community members and it boosted their confidence,” Osbeck said. “This project is a way to celebrate their differences, their uniqueness, and what our students bring to the table.”

Abby Hurst and her husband Joe Ziolkowski are in the process of purchasing 110 Jackson Street, an abandoned brick structure in downtown Chelsea (known as the “Mack Building”). While the building is undergoing renovations, the couple wanted to convey the message of transition, creatively. “We wanted to do something that would be fun for the community and represent the change that the building is undergoing,” Hurst said. She plans to use the upper building space for apartments and potentially create a ground-level incubator space for food vendors.

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