Performance Engagement Educational Residencies (PEERs)

PEERs provides mentorship and mini grants of up to $2,000 to music, theatre and dance students to help create educational performance residencies with underserved communities throughout Michigan. Whether students are working with children in Flint, communities in Detroit, veterans, foster care centers, residents in senior centers or in hospitals, prisoners or runaway teens, they will have the opportunity to discover and engage in new peer relationships with people all across Michigan and see the impact their art forms can have on others, as well as learn from community members.


PEERs provides guidance to individual students, groups, and student organizations who are interested in working with underserved communities, whether this is their first time or not. In cases where students have a concept for a project but do not have a partnering community, PEERs will help pair them with a community. Non-SMTD students may participate in a PEERs funded project, but the primary member must be a currently enrolled SMTD student. Throughout the entire length of any given project, students will receive support and guidance from the PEERs office.

Once a semester, all SMTD students and potential group members are welcome to attend a Mutually Beneficial workshop, led by the Ginsberg Center on campus. This is a great session to attend if you are thinking about working with an underserved community for the first time or gain more general insight on working with underserved communities.

Mutually Beneficial Workshop Fall 2018: TBA

Participants from all accepted projects will attend an E3 meeting 2-3 weeks following the application due date. E3 stands for Entering, Engaging and Exiting a community. In a workshop hosted by the Ginsberg Center on campus, you will learn how work to with your specific community in a respectful and thoughtful manner.

PEERs provides mini grants of up to $2000 for SMTD students to support individual or team projects that have significant community impact. Funding for a PEERs project helps to eliminate all costs for students. Funding may go towards travel, supplies, hosting, personnel and any other materials needed to support the project. Students are expected to request the amount that is desired for their project, and does not need to equal $2,000. We also ask that students submit a budget proposal for the entire project including all other income sources. All budget submissions should show a balanced ratio of expenses to income.

Students may apply for funding with a community partner in mind or not.

2018/2019 Funding Cycles and Deadlines
Round 1: deadline is October 5, 2018 / notification date: October 29, 2018
Round 2: new deadline is November 28, 2018 / notification date: December 10, 2018
Round 3: new deadline is February 4, 2019 / notification date: February 18, 2019
Round 4: new deadline is March 18, 2019 / notification date: April 1, 2019 (pending available funds)

PEERs will not consider Round 2 applications until after Round 1 is completed. Likewise, if all funds are exhausted through Rounds 1-3, PEERs may cancel round 4.

How to Apply
Please complete the Application Form

The application includes:

  • Basic information of participants
  • Project Outline – upload a document addressing the following:
    • The goal of the project
    • The impact you hope your project will make on a community.
    • If you already have a community partner: community partner’s name, location, and what categorizes them as underserved.
    • If you do not have a community partner, please tell us the type of community with whom you would like to work. Please also give a general idea of the days of the week and times during the day that would work for your entire group. (ex: M/W/Th from 3-6PM.)
    • Timeline for your project (number of performances, number of visits)
  • Budget
  • Faculty Approval

PEERs Student Project Coordinator
Rikki Morrow-Spitzer

PEERs Community Partner Liason
Robin Myrick

Featured Projects

Voice Student Working with Alpena Community

Student: Elise Eden, MM Vocal Performance ‘18
Community Partner: Alpena Community
Number of visits: 2
Project: Elise performed a song cycle entitled “Craigslist Lieder” for members of the Alpena Community at Alpena Community High School and led masterclasses for youth. In addition, Elise helped raise funds to support music lessons for youth from Alpena.

Performing Arts Technology (PAT) students teach Detroit youth how to use a recording studio

Students: Everett Reid, PAT and Jazz ‘18, Ben Brown, PAT ‘18, Stone Stewart, PAT ‘18
Community Partner: Boys and Girls Club of Highland Park, Detroit
Number of visits: 20+
Project: Four Performing Arts Technology (PAT) students partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Highland Park. They helped rebuild a recording studio and then visited weekly to teach students how to use it.

Front Porch Quartet teaches music storytelling to youth

Students: Benjamin Jackson, Violin ‘19, Jacob Rogers, Percussion ‘19, Karalyn Schubring, Composition ‘20, Maddy Wildman, Bassoon ‘19
Community Partner: Detroit Leadership Academy
Number of visits: 3
Project: Front Porch presented workshops to teach students how to tell stories through three guiding statements: “Music can tell a story,” “I can tell my story through music,” and “we can create group stories through playing music together.”

Their curriculum largely drew from two educational programs put on regularly by Fifth House Ensemble, a Chicago-based chamber ensemble that is known for its community outreach work. As part of their PEERs project, Front Porch had advising sessions with Fifth House and were given permission to use and adapt their curriculum.