On this week’s episode, EMU Theatre closes it’s season with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The '12 at 22' exhibit showcases EMU graduate candidates' artworks, and The Construction season kicks off in Ypsilanti with a road reconstruction project. I am your host, Jacob Walter Kendrick, and this is the Eastern Echo Podcast.
Starting off, EMU Theatre closes it’s season with a Spelling Bee.
Eastern Michigan University Theatre will close its 2021-22 season with performances of "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" on April 1-3 and 8-10.
"The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" follows the story of six young spelling bee contestants and three adults who are attempting to run the show. In 2005, it won a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical.
Four audience members at each performance will be invited on stage to participate as guest spellers. Anyone interested in joining EMU Theatre on stage will need to bring proof of COVID-19 vaccination and wear a mask.
The performances on April 1, 2, 8, and 9, will be held at 7 p.m. and on April 3 and 10, at 2 p.m.
Performances will be held at the Legacy Theatre in the Judy Sturgis Hill Building at 1030 E. Circle Drive. Parking is available at the Alexander Guest Lot, Pease Guest Lot, Ford Commuter and Staff Lots, and parking meters on campus. Masks are required for the events.
Tickets are $18 for regular admission, $14 for those 60+, and $12 for EMU students and MAINSTAGE patrons. Tickets are available for purchase at the Judy Sturgis Hill Ticket Office, by phone at 734-487-2282, and online at www.emutix.com.
Next, The '12 at 22' exhibit showcases EMU graduate candidates' artworks.
The “12 at 22” exhibit at the 22 North Gallery in Ypsilanti is showcasing Eastern Michigan University MFA and MA graduate candidates' artworks through April 23.
“12 at 22” showcases 24 pieces of art created by 12 graduate candidates at EMU who were selected for the gallery. Each candidate was asked to submit three to five pieces of work and two works were chosen from that pool.
Sandra Murchison, the director of art and design at EMU, and Nan Plummer, the 22 North Gallery director, curated the show with the selected pieces, having cohesion and variety in mind.
There are a lot of concentrations in the exhibit, including photography, graphic design, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Each artist brings their own unique style forward, using many mediums like fibers, wood, collage, watercolor, steel, graphite, digital prints, and more.
Beth Blackford, a MFA candidate in graphic design at EMU, said in a written statement:
“The university and many of the staff have a connection to the community and local spaces, and the gallery itself seeks to provide exhibition space, exposure, and collaboration to emerging artists,” An exhibition opportunity isn't always available, but EMU’s graduate art program strives for professional practices. They give students the opportunity to prepare artist statements, deliver “hang ready” work, and complete applications.
Blackford continued by saying: “This exhibit was a wonderful opportunity not only to display our work but also to better understand the steps that go into curating and setting up a show. 22 North allowed us to be a part of the process and utilize their beautiful space.”
This EMU program gave students a chance not only to showcase recent works but to actively participate in organizing and setting up the show. All MFA and MA candidates were invited to apply, and all are participating in the exhibit.
Those interested in the exhibit can find more information on 22north.org.
Lastly, the Construction season kicks off in Ypsilanti with a road reconstruction project.
The Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority (YCUA), the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the City of Ypsilanti will be working together to improve the safety of the city’s drinking water and transportation system beginning late this year or early next year.
On March 21, residents of Ypsilanti may have noticed that Huron Street, between the I-94 westbound offramp and Harriet Street, was reduced to one lane going northbound.
Ypsilanti’s decision to reconstruct the roads came after a study was completed in 2011, in which speed limits were increased in the area. From the study, MDOT and the Michigan State Police Department concluded that in order to decrease speed limits, the design of the roads would have to be changed.
The checklist for the project began in 2014 and despite the unanimous support from the Council in 2015, the project had stalled.
In Feb. 2018, the project was revived and the City Council reaffirmed its support for the project. This led MDOT to conduct a road safety audit within M-17 between Summit and I-94 in Ypsilanti.
In the following year, the City Council added a clause in the proposal to remove a lane for three major roads: Hamilton, Huron, and Washtenaw. This new addition would turn these three-lane roads into two-lane roads. Later on, this proposal would be amended again to include two intersections, Cross and Huron and Washtenaw and Hamilton.
As a result of public feedback on the proposal in December 2019, MDOT expanded the project from their initial proposal and offered to look at changes at the Washtenaw and Hamilton intersection and the Cross and Huron intersection, which also created additional safety changes to be made to the bike lanes as well.
These ideas by MDOT were presented to the public at an open house that was held at the Ypsilanti City Hall in Aug. 2021.
The Ypsilanti Community Utilities Authority will also be replacing and upgrading many of the underground water mains throughout the city, including some of Ypsilanti’s oldest and weakest pipes.
The lane reduction is expected to begin in either late 2022 or 2023 in coordination with MDOT’s scheduled maintenance project, which is planned to follow YCUA's proposed water main and service line repairs/replacements.
Reported: Meghan Forystek, Marie White, Breanna Harris
Scripted: Tre Briscoe
Produced: Chase Hunter
Host: Jacob Kendrick