The Next Generation of Creativity Luncheon 2018

Join us as we celebrate 2018 endeavors and look to future opportunities. Throughout the past year, we successfully partnered with multiple area schools and youth-centered nonprofit organizations to complete eight after school educational programs, launched The Mosaic YouTube Project, and so much more. We have a lot to share with you about how your support has impacted students in West Michigan and the exciting future of The Mosaic Film Experience.

Register by Monday, October 22.

When: Thursday, October 25th from Noon to 1:00PM
Where: GVSU Eberhard Center 301 Fulton St W # 210, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

The Mosaic Film Experience uses the platform of digital media to provide students with an opportunity to tell their unique stories and equip them with the critical thinking, collaborative, and creative skills necessary for career preparedness. There are three aspects to The Mosaic Film Experience:

  • The Mosaic Event is an annual interactive experience that provides students access to industry professionals through creative, career-inspiring workshops.
  • Mosaic Mobile is an annual mobile film competition that develops students’ storytelling skills. All Mosaic Mobile films are shot, edited, and entered on mobile devices.
  • Mosaic Community includes year around events and collaborations ranging from afterschool curriculum to industry guest speakers and film screenings.

Mosaic Film Experience: The ArtPrize Film Challenge

The Mosaic Film Experience welcomed more than 100 Michigan high school students to the ArtPrize Hub on September 28 for the first-ever Mosaic Film Experience: ArtPrize Film Challenge. Students from Grand Rapids Montessori, Grand Rapids University Prep Academy, Southwest Community Campus, City High, and Innovation Central, attended the interactive field trip, which consisted of a mobile filmmaking workshop as well as time to explore ArtPrize 10 and begin creating mobile films.

Once the students filled the hub’s theatre, The Mosaic Film Experience education leads, Mallory Patterson and Randy Strobl, opened the workshop by introducing Mosaic Mobile, a short film competition for West Michigan high school and college students where entries are shot, edited, and entered via mobile devices.

All Mosaic Mobile films must be two to three minutes in length and must meet three requirements.  Entrants must “tell a story” as a theme for their film, include some form of art as a prop, and the words “it’s different now,” must be spoken or used in the film.

To help the students visualize what Mosaic Mobile is all about, last year’s Mosaic Mobile winner, “A Short Film: Tomorrow” by Mariah Barrera, was shown.

The film resonated with the students, some of whom recognized Mariah, who is currently a junior at City High. The short film demonstrated that even as teenagers, student’s stories matter and they can convey these stories without the use of professional video equipment. Mallory and Randy also discussed how using a mobile device to shoot a film presents a fresh perspective that can be lost with high-end cameras.

“You have the power to make a film in your pocket,” Mallory told the students. “Think about your experiences from the last 24 hours that can be turned into a story.”

A bit skeptical at first, the students hesitated to believe something important could have happened to them in merely a day. However, once a couple of stories were shared, they realized that what may seem like an insignificant moment, interaction, or feeling actually has incredible meaning and potential.

Mallory and Randy proceeded to walk the students through some the main elements of a story, such as characters, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution, outlining them on a whiteboard. They then used one specific student’s story to provide examples for the main elements.

The students then broke up into groups to discuss what they wanted to include in their films, brainstorming how to incorporate artwork and the phrase “It’s different now” to create a story.

Creativity and excitement flowed through the room as Mallory and Randy brought the groups back together and discussed the technicalities of shooting a film during the last 15 minutes of the workshop. Their main points included lighting, audio, and the use of different shots. They also reminded the students of the plethora of apps one can find on a smartphone, encouraging them to think outside the box.

At the end of the hour, the students brought everything they learned during the jam-packed session with them out the door and took to the streets of ArtPrize throughout downtown Grand Rapids. Although overcast and a little rainy, they were able to enjoy the artwork and the first gusts of autumn as they found some inspiration.

Eligible student films created during the Mosaic Film Experience: The ArtPrize Film Challenge will be entered in the 2018 Mosaic Mobile competition. The top Mosaic Mobile 10 films will be shown, and winners will be announced at The 2018 Mosaic Film Experience Event on November 7 and 8 at the Wealthy Theatre.

ArtPrize On Screen

150 Grand Rapids Public School students gathered at the ArtPrize Hub on September 21 to view a special ArtPrize On Screen showing of “Long Time Coming: A 1995 Baseball Story.” The Mosaic Film Experience and Celebration Cinema arranged for this special screening to take place on a Friday morning, specifically for the students, because of the film’s messages of “diversity, sportsmanship, and belonging.”

Mosaic’s Skot Welch and Celebration Cinema’s Emily Loeks welcomed the students and opened the showing with a brief discussion on the importance of storytelling.

“Who gets to tell a story? Who gives those stories importance?” they asked. Skot and Emily shared how crucial it is that everyone has a voice and can share their stories regardless of who he or she is—a great lead-in to Mosaic Mobile, a short film competition for West Michigan high school and college students where entries are shot, edited, and entered via mobile devices.

With a deeper understanding of why they were there, the students sat back and enjoyed the independent film. Written and produced by Ted Haddock, “Long Time Coming: A 1995 Baseball Story” is based on a true story of two Floridian little league teams, the all-Black Pensacola Jaycees and the all-White Orlando Kiwanis, and their fight against segregation. The story is told through the team captains’ memories, 60 years later as they reminisce at a diner. The film first premiered at the 2018 Florida Film Festival.

ArtPrize On Screen is a series of narratives, documentaries, and shorts shown throughout ArtPrize. The program presents critically acclaimed work from local and national talent including Michigan-made shorts before each film.

The special screening was one of many community events The Mosaic Film Experience holds throughout the year. Between afterschool curriculum to industry guest speakers and film screenings, and more, The Mosaic Film Experience is always working toward creating the next generation of storytellers and looking for unique ways to partner with other community organizations.


City Stories: Reflections at ArtPrize

Following the ArtPrize 10 Opening Ceremonies, young filmmakers, their families, and other spectators gathered in the parking lot across Rosa Parks Circle next to the Ledyard Building to watch three silent films directed and produced by Grand Rapids high school students. The students’ films are stories that portray how they see their neighborhoods.

The completed piece is called City Stories: Reflections and is a collaboration project between The Mosaic Film Experience and WMCAT, sponsored by LIFEWTR. The project is also an entry for the ArtPrize Youth Collaboration Award, an ArtPrize competition designed for youth that is sponsored by Western Michigan University. The goal of the competition is to give K-12 students a platform to express their creativity and share it with those attending ArtPrize and beyond.

The first film in the project, “A Southside Journey,” was written, directed, and edited by Mariah Barrera and co-produced by Dagan McClure-Sikkema, both juniors at City High School. The film begins with a young girl preparing for her day like any other. She then takes viewers on an adventure crossing between the poor and gentrified areas of Eastown.

“We are Westside” is a black and white film created by McClure-Sikkema and Arieal Jackson, who is a junior at University Prep Academy. In the film, the audience is brought around west side of Grand Rapids, highlighting local businesses and street corners. Through their shots, the creators were able to truly capture life in the neighborhood and the different cultures that inhabit it.

“The Acceptance of Mixed Families,” created by Erion Adams and Micah Garmon, seniors at Grand Rapids Montessori and CA Frost Environmental Science Academy respectively, was the third of the three films. Based on a real-life experience, the very brief scene exemplifies how strange being part of a mixed family can seem to others and how it affects the family as a whole as well as the family members who are seen as “outsiders.”

After watching these three shorts, the audience was impressed that teenagers could not only understand the complexities of their neighborhoods and daily interactions but were also able to depict them using real equipment and their knowledge of filmmaking.

City Stories: Reflections will be shown every night of ArtPrize in the same location they premiered, beginning at 5 p.m. and will loop throughout the night until dawn. Vote #68845 for The Mosaic Film Experience and WMCAT to win the ArtPrize Youth Collaboration Award.

NEWS RELEASE: Mobile film contest provides West Michigan students with a platform to tell their unique stories.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – September 25, 2018 – The Mosaic Film Experience (MFE) today announced the kick-off to its fourth annual Mosaic Mobile film contest, a short-film competition for West Michigan high school and college students.  All Mosaic Mobile films are shot, edited, and entered on mobile devices.  Entries can be submitted via the MFE website until October 12 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

“The Mosaic Mobile film contest is about challenging the conventions of storytelling,” said Skot Welch, founder of The Mosaic Film Experience. “With technology leveling the content creation playing field, our focus is to teach youth how to use today’s tools to tell original and engaging stories.”

Mosaic Mobile Meets ArtPrize

New for Mosaic Mobile 2018, MFE is teaming with ArtPrize to host the first-ever Mosaic Film Experience: The ArtPrize Film Challenge.  As part of ArtPrize Education Days, more than 100 Grand Rapids high school students from four schools will meet at the ArtPrize Theater on Friday, September 28 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  The event will feature an MFE-taught mobile film workshop and time for students to explore ArtPrize to shoot their films.  Films will be completed over the weekend and submitted by 1:30 p.m. on Monday, October 1.

Completed films may be eligible for submission to the 2018 Mosaic Mobile competition and will have a chance to be highlighted on ArtPrize’s social media channels or premiered at a special screening at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 6 at Rosa Parks Circle.

“Filmmaking is a creative storytelling art form that can be accessible to everyone with the right tools,” said Welch. “Art involves great storytelling opportunities and ArtPrize is the perfect event to find those creative storytelling opportunities.”

Mosaic Mobile Contest Details

All Mosaic Mobile films must be two to three minutes in length and must meet three requirements.  Entrants must use “tell a story” as a theme for their film, include some form of art as a prop, and the words “it’s different now,” must be spoken or used in the film.  Art used in the film must be self-produced or shown with permission of the artist and credited.

A juried panel of experts will award first, second, and third place cash prizes in high school and college categories.  First place winners will each take home $1,000, second place winners will receive $500, and third place winners will each win $250.

In addition to the juried cash prizes, a public vote will determine the high school and college Rick Wilson Student Choice Awards.  On October 24, MFE will announce the top 10 high school and college films, as determined by the juried panel.  The films will be posted to the MFE YouTube channel.  Public voting will open at noon on October 26 and close at noon on October 29.  The high school and college Rick Wilson Student Choice Award winners will each receive a $500 cash prize and video production gear.

Mosaic Mobile high school contest winners will be announced at the seventh-annual MFE Event on November 7 and 8 at the Wealthy Theatre.  Students can enter up to two entries each.  Complete rules and contest requirements are available on the MFE website:

Boys and Girls Clubs Students Take on Green Screens

Thanks to Wege Foundation grant funds, Mosaic Film Experience partnered with West Michigan nonprofit afterschool programs to provide storytelling and digital film classes. Education Leads Mallory Patterson and Randy Strobl of Wrinkle Creative had fun leading the education courses, but they also worked hard to uniquely cater Mosaic curriculum to each student group.

Soon after arriving at the Boys and Girls Clubs programs at the Steil and Siedman Centers, Patterson and Strobl noticed the facilities had green painted walls. They immediately knew the students would have a blast learning about green screen technology.

Siedman Center Project

The Siedman Center project focused on hopes for the future.

“We challenged students to write out what they wanted in the future for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said Patterson. “Students shared their future hopes and dreams in front of the green screen and paired what they shared with the images behind them. We created a compilation video for the project.”

The students wanted to take their green screen fun a bit further by creating their own separate zombie apocalypse scene. Patterson shared that the zombie scene was an “interesting” but very inspiring piece!

Through this project, one student in particular fell in love with Stop Motion Studio, a free iPhone app, and used it to create a number of animations at home.

“She has even taught her brother how to create an animation with action figures,” shared Strobl.

Steil Center Project

Two projects were developed during Mosaic’s time at the Steil Center. The first project was created by a group of boys who immigrated from Africa.

“They shared that the first time they had ever seen a highway it took them aback,” Patterson said. “They had landed in Chicago and they experienced culture shock.”

Based on that experience, the group chose an action genre. The boys developed a storyline about the main character having a special medicine his brother needed, but people were after him for the drug. The film included a chase scene on a highway and a fight scene in front of the green screen.

“One student who held the idea became the director. He really took it seriously and kept the other students on task,” said Strobl. “At the end, as they were editing, he was very interested in when the film would be shown. He asked if he could bring his mom because he wanted her to see his work up on the screen and be proud. He also wanted to dress up for the red-carpet premiere event.”

The second Steil Center project was created by one student. She told the story of a girl who didn’t have friends in school and how important it was to have a support network. She utilized the green screen to curate her own settings. For example, because she was confined to filming inside the school, she used images of the outdoors behind her to signify her leaving school.

Once again, Mosaic leveraged the power of storytelling to teach students they have the power to create using mobile phones and free digital resources.

“This experience opens their eyes to a whole new world of career options,” said Patterson.

It’s an honor to partner with local organizations like the Boys and Girls Clubs to help equip students with the critical thinking, collaborative, and creative skills they need for career readiness.


Loop Program Students Learn Storytelling and Filmmaking Skills

Many Grand Rapids Public Schools offer LOOP afterschool programs that provide academic support and enrichment activities for students. Mosaic Film Experience partnered with University Preparatory Academy Middle School (UPrep) and Alger Middle School LOOP programs to lead after-school curriculum centered around storytelling and mobile video production. The project was possible thanks to grant funding from the Wege Foundation.

The UPrep Project

The UPrep project challenged students to create stories based on inspiring song lyrics. Everything was on the table—from Tupac’s “Keep Your Head Up” to SpongeBob’s “Best Day Ever.” After they wrote their stories, students turned them into the plot of their film.

One student made a particular impact. In the last week of class, Mosaic Education Leads, Randy Strobl and Mallory Patterson of Wrinkle Creative, redirected this student’s distracting classroom behavior to a more positive role as director. It fit perfectly. The student directed a beautiful scene, pushing her actors to feel the emotion of a mom telling her daughter about life’s hardships. Eventually this student fell into the film’s mom role and nailed the performance.

UPrep students worked together to produce a creative film. But more importantly, they learned about their individual strengths, which will benefit them moving forward in whatever career they pursue.

The Alger Middle Project

The Alger Middle School project was based on student’s experiences. Strobl and Patterson broke students up into three groups of four. Two groups told bullying stories while the third group chose a high-stakes basketball game as their story focus.

On the last day of production, the basketball group came into class ready to film. One student had become the clear director and the group supported his vision and made it happen. At one point, there was an argument about who was going to make the winning shot in the fictional basketball game, but the director spoke up saying, “We don’t have time for this, we just have to make it happen.” The rest of the students agreed, and they quickly made a collective decision and recorded the scene. Throughout the filming process this group learned what it meant to work together as a team.

Throughout the week-long afterschool project, the Alger students also quickly picked up on and implemented filmmaking lingo.

“We heard them calling ‘quiet on set’ or ‘truck forward’ when directing the camera to move forward,” said Strobl. “They also discussed closeups, wide shots, and medium shots with each other, determining which would be best for each scene.”

Two groups finished their production early and began editing.

“On the final day we started packing up, but the students didn’t want to be done. It was a beautiful thing to see these students, who were often hard to engage in the classroom, so focused on the work of editing as a group,” shared Strobl.

Overall, the large class size came together to create three great projects.

Project Premieres

At the end of both programs Mosaic Film Experience hosted parent nights complete with a red carpet as well as catered food and popcorn to eat while screening the films. After each film, the student creators talked about what inspired their films and their creative process.

LOOP also invited Mosaic Film Experience students to share their creative work at their end-of-the-year Collaborative Youth Fair. Each LOOP site showed their projects at the event. While many other students displayed their science-based experiments, art projects, and interactive developments, the Mosaic Film Experience students shared their films with pride.

“It was a lot of fun watching the kids see themselves on screen and share their projects with their peers,” said Patterson.

The students persisted throughout the highs and lows of both projects while creating honorable work, developing new skills, and learning about a powerful creative outlet they had in the palm of their hand all along.

G-Cubed Program Teaches Girls They Have a Voice

Thanks to a grant from the Wege Foundation, Mosaic Film Experience had the opportunity to partner with Grand Rapids Public School’s newly developed G-Cubed program, a four-pillared afterschool program for girls in grades 3-12 from the seven middle and elementary schools feeding into Ottawa Hills High School.

“The goal of G-Cubed is to engage students in investigating and developing their life story through learning about stories of women in history and social justice lessons,” said Maleika Brown, Director of Equity and Inclusion for GRPS. “We want to help girls uncover their untold stories.”

With this goal in mind, Mosaic Education Leads Mallory Patterson and Randy Strobl of Wrinkle Creative taught students the value of elevating their voices through storytelling and how to create digital films to share their stories.

Throughout G-Cubed’s programming, girls learned about amazing women in history who broke the mold. The lead example was Lorraine Hansberry, the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. In response to the inspiring, powerhouse women they were learning about, Patterson and Strobl tasked students to think about their role models and have conversations with people in their everyday lives.

“We challenged students to interview their family, neighbors, or community members about themselves,” Patterson shared. “Then we filmed a compilation video to use at the beginning of G-Cubed’s year-end ceremony. By pointing out the positive, amazing qualities of the women around them, we wanted girls to see they can embody those qualities, too.”

The project held themes of young women empowerment, goal setting, and so much more. Girls were challenged to find creative ways to talk about their role models. Some students used poems to share how their moms inspired them, while others utilized animation and words on paper to express why Beyoncé was their icon.

Students shared how their various role models encouraged them to follow their dreams, put in the hard work, and speak up because they have a voice.

“This project opened our students’ eyes to new opportunities and new concepts, and gave them a chance to lead, tell their story, and support each other in new ways,” said Brown. “They had to be creative thinkers and problem solvers and I love that they were able to use and hone these skills in a new setting. Just being able to see themselves and their work on the ‘big screen’ was a huge confidence booster.”

We’re grateful for the ability to walk alongside GRPS’ G-Cubed program to empower and equip young members of our community with the skills they need to think critically, collaborate, and create as they prepare to step into careers. Another inspiring Mosaic Community program is in the books!

Baxter Community Center and the Periodic Table

With a generous grant from the Wege Foundation, Mosaic Film Experience hosted eight after-school programs for students in Grand Rapids. Each program’s curriculum was designed to teach students about storytelling as well as how to utilize filmmaking and editing techniques to create a mobile project. The workshop experiences were all very unique due to different class sizes and students’ interests.

In January 2018, Mosaic Film Experience partnered with Baxter Community Center for one of the after-school programs.

“Not long after we gathered together, we found the direction of Baxter students’ film project,” said Mallory Patterson, Mosaic Film Experience lead and owner of Wrinkle Creative. The Baxter students were excited about their teacher’s vision to create a film based on the periodic table of elements.

This project was anything but another educational science tool. The students had a blast using a table of elements song they already knew to guide their film.

Students learned how to cut in elements like animations, science experiment clips, and interviews with Lady Science, a character they created.

“We also showcased the center’s student talent in the film by including a karate routine and two dance steppers,” said Patterson.

As the project came together, one student was particularly interested in creating a unique beat for students to sing along to, making the periodic table song more their own. After instructors introduced him to the Garageband tool, he began mixing his own beats within minutes. Soon the whole class had downloaded the app and was making “sick beats” in a program they had never used before.

“Once you open the door of possibility for many of these kids, it’s really cool what they end up doing with it,” Patterson.

That’s true for every aspect of Mosaic. Whether it’s Mosaic Experience, Mosaic Mobile, or Mosaic Community programs, we utilize digital media to provide students with an opportunity to tell their unique stories and equip them with critical thinking, collaborative and creative skills all while educating them about new career possibilities.


Standing Up for Michigan Arts Programs

On April 18, Mosaic Film Experience partnered with Creative Many to advocate for Michigan arts programs. Creative Many is a statewide organization that develops creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan through research, advocacy, professional practice and communications. For the first time in nearly 10 years, individuals and organizations in Michigan assembled at the capitol building to speak directly with lawmakers about the importance of support for arts, culture, arts education, and creative industries.

“The day was filled with discussions, an intimate rally on the capitol steps, and meetings with government policymakers,” said Liz Merriman who attended along with Derk Baartman on behalf of Mosaic Film Experience.

The atmosphere outside the capitol was positive with so many people calling for change. Inside the capitol, according to Merriman, it was business as usual.

Merriman and others had a chance to speak with representatives and senators about the benefits of arts programming and why they should get behind it.

“Arts mean more innovation,” Merriman said. “The artistic process fosters analytical thinking, problem solving, and innovation. Investing in arts programming can turn around failing schools and nurture children from under-resourced neighborhoods.”

For lawmakers to catch this vision and make changes accordingly would be huge for Michigan’s students and future.

“Creativity is among the top five applied skills sought by business leaders, per the Conference Board’s Ready to Innovate report,” Merriman said. “With 72 percent saying creativity is of high importance when hiring. Research on creativity shows that Nobel laureates in the sciences are 17 times more likely to be actively engaged in the arts than other scientists.”

As the statistics show, an investment in the arts comes with great benefits for students and communities. That is why we’re advocating for change in Michigan. We hope the messages our politicians heard at the capitol on Arts Advocacy Day will ring loudly in their ears when it’s time to make decisions.

Learn more about the positive impacts of arts programs: