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Madison Heights

February 20, 2013

Students dress up cups with inspiration, dreams, gratitude

Coffee shop asks patrons to vote for their favorite pieces of art

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Erica Bartels, manager of the Caribou Coffee in Madison Heights, tends to the front counter while cups decorated by Lamphere and Madison students dangle overhead.

MADISON HEIGHTS — The public is invited to judge coffee cups turned into art, made by students from the Madison and Lamphere school districts, reflecting what moves them in the present, and their deepest desires for the future.

The Express Cup Challenge and Art Show is a new event presented by Caribou Coffee, located at 1413 W. 14 Mile, in collaboration with the Madison Heights Community Family Coalition (MHCFC).

Students were asked to use 20-ounce coffee cups as canvases for art depicting one of three themes: A Cup of Inspiration, a Cup of Gratitude or a Cup of Dreams.

“That’s their starting point, the things they can select,” said Linda Williams, the city’s economic development coordinator. “Then it’s up to their imaginations what they want on these canvasses.”

The results are now on display at Caribou Coffee until March 2. Around 70 entries were received by the Feb. 8 deadline.

Patrons of the coffee shop can cast their votes in a People’s Choice Award. A panel of local artists and business owners will also select winners in each theme category, as well as an overall show winner.

“Wait until you see them — they really are amazing,” said Erica Bartels, manager of Caribou Coffee. “The kids are thinking outside of the box.”

Students from Wilkinson Middle School, John Page Middle School, Madison High and Lamphere High decorated the cups. Each one is different. Some are painted or feature cutout stars. One student turned his cup upside-down and designed it to hang that way; others designed patterns on computers and laminated them on top of the cups.

A number of cups feature inspirational quotes. One even has a self-portrait image on one side, with a dream bubble wrapping around the cup, showing who the student wishes to be someday.

“I haven’t seen all of them yet, but the dream topic seems to be the most popular,” said Rick Lewis, executive director of the MHCFC.

The collaboration between the MHCFC and Caribou Coffee resulted during talks between Bartels and Lewis, along with Alan Horn, executive director of the Madison Heights/Hazel Park Chamber of Commerce, about ways they could partner up.

“Kids have a great ability to take something ordinary, like a cup, and make something extraordinary, looking at it in a different way,” Lewis said. “We want kids to think about their dreams, what inspires them, and what they’re grateful for, but more than that, we want them to realize they have the ability to create and to make a difference with their thoughts — to realize their ideas matter to our community.”

The student art gallery at Caribou Coffee, 1413 W. 14 Mile, is open until March 2. For more information, call the store at (248) 585-9163.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at akozlowski@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1104.