Pioneer English class to hold fundraiser tonight at the Neutral Zone

Ty Harris, far right, came up with the idea of a class fundraiser to be held at the Neutral Zone. Daniel Zacks, center, and senior Mo Soumarro, seated, were among the students who helped with the project.

Story and photos by Jo Mathis/AAPS District News

When Pioneer High School senior Ty Harris heard his English teacher, Bret Trocchio, ask if there was something the class could do to make the world a better place, Ty immediately had an idea.

The art sale and bake sale fundraiser Ty spearheaded with his classmates will be held tonight, Dec. 14, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Neutral Zone, 310 E Washington St, Ann Arbor.

Proceeds from the event will go towards winter care packages for Washtenaw County’s homeless.  The event will feature art from high school artists as well as a bake sale.

Admission is $3 for students and $5 for adults.

“As an artist, I’m more of a creative myself,” said Ty, who designs clothing. “I felt like the way people display their art isn’t up to par, and there a lot of great artists here who don’t get enough recognition. So I figured the best way to help the community is to really focus on a group of people who don’t get represented enough, to give them a platform to display their art to as many people as possible.”

“I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but Mr. T. really brought it to us and gave us a platform to put it into action.”

Ty used his connection to the Neutral Zone to secure the location. Students in the class divided into three times to tackle the project.

Featured will be 25 art pieces—mostly from Pioneer high school—and lots of baked goods for $1 each.

Neutral Zone Music Programs Coordinator Charlie Reischl said it’s important to give young people opportunities to have authentic decision making power about how to organize their communities through art.

“At the Neutral Zone we are very conscious of creating a judgement-free, discrimination-free, censorship-free space for expression for young people,” he said. “This show was entirely conceived of, and implemented by young people. When we give people a chance to create with self generated original ideas, we see amazing results. This is a philosophy we carry through out all of our programming at the Neutral Zone.

Senior Daniel Zacks led the “logistics department” charged with getting care packages together to give to the homeless.

“Now we’re considering giving the money itself to the shelter because they can use the money much more efficiently than we can,” said Daniel. “I’m glad we did this because it’s a way to do something in class that has a meaningful immediate impact on the community. It’s a good way to work together to achieve a goal.”

        Bret Trocchio

Trocchio says he’s very proud of his students’ work.

“It is entirely student conceived and generated.  By offering an opportunity for the high school community to display their art, as well as support those in need, these students are having a significant positive impact on their community.”

“Folks around the community can help by attending our event.  There really is some impressive art that will be on display.”



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