LOK Young Artist Expo
Since June 2013 the LOK Wishing Tree Foundation has hosted an annual Young Artist Expo, showcasing young artists with an art exhibit and special musical and dance performances. The event is hosted at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City, one of LOK’s arts partners. The Lubeznik Center has used received funds to offer photography lessons, modern dance and also art classes that even extend into the realm of carbon monoxide (CO) awareness.
While a student at Indiana University in Bloomington, Lindsey O'Brien Kesling volunteered as a big sister at the local Boys & Girls Club where she encouraged area youth to pursue their dreams. With the funds from LOK, the club developed an award winning arts program in Lindsey’s name that consistently produced talented visual and performing artists. Some of the kids in the program travel to the Lubeznik Center who either attend in person or via their artwork displayed. Charlie Brown learned to play the violin through the program and has attended in person on multiple occasions; he has also shown himself to be a dedicated volunteer to help spread the word about the dangers of CO.
The South Shore Dance Alliance of Griffith, Indiana is the third partner, led by Executive Director Larry Brewer. Their performances during the expo are a particular highlight of the evening and have included everything from African tribal dance to ballet to flash mob style modern dance outside the museum to engage passers by to attend. Almost immediately, SSDA program alumni began to attend the event in support of the younger participants. There have been many success stories -- we know of at least one young woman who is now enrolled in a dance program at Julliard and another who became a dance instructor herself, offering classes to young dancers.
There have been many opportunities for collaboration and sharing.,, "All of these kids are my kids," Brewer said to a standing room only crowd during one of the expos. "When they succeed, we all succeed. They are a gift to all of us, and the best thing we can do is to encourage them to experience greatness in their life." Brewer has extended dance scholarships to some of the kids from the Lubeznik Center’s program and has made every effort to be as inclusive as possible.
LOK has also invited talented young artists from around the region who provide inspiration and possible success paths for the younger kids. Chicago rapper Ridgio made and appearance in 2017. Award winning origami artist Hayley Schuberth has participated for multiple years. Each year, the alumni list gets longer and more talented. Our arts partners truly make the most of the seed capital they are given!