Fox Run's Arts a la Carte Committee Explores Detroit's Vibrant Arts/Culture Scene

NOVI, MI (December 3, 2013) -- Pat Smith spent her career as a teacher. She's retired now, but in a unique way she is still helping people learn. Pat leads Fox Run retirement community's  Arts a la Carte committee, which organizes monthly outings for residents to take advantage of Detroit's vibrant arts and culture scene. The Arts a la Carte committee launched in 2011. Over the last couple of years, Fox Run residents have attended a number of operas, orchestra performances, and plays, and explored a variety of museums. Fox Run provides shuttle buses, and the committee secures group ticket prices, making the outings affordable for residents. Last year, a group took in a performance of Book of Mormon, the satirical Broadway musical produced by the creators of the television show South Park, who are known for pushing the comedic envelope. "Most people liked it," Pat says of the popular offbeat production. On another outing, residents gathered for a "do-your-own-thing" tour of the Detroit Institute of Art. Everyone wandered around to take in the exhibits that most appealed to them, and the group reconvened in the cafeteria for lunch. The museum was popular among residents, so Pat says the Arts a la Carte committee will plan another visit there next spring. Recently, the committee organized a visit to the Detroit Historical Museum. Afterward, they had lunch at Traffic Jam & Snug, a popular Detroit restaurant and brewpub. Residents also have been to the Michigan Philharmonic. "We saw a young pianist who was amazing," Pat says. Periodically, the committee brings the culture to Fox Run by arranging for a "historyteller" to give an in-depth presentation about a topic of interest to residents. Last July, to coincide with the birth of England's royal baby, the Arts a la Carte committee hosted a speaker who discussed Queen Elizabeth I. "The historyteller spent about an hour talking about a lot of things you don't normally hear," Pat says. "We're going to do that again next spring." A particularly popular outing among residents has been a bus tour of Detroit. The tour begins at Woodlawn Cemetery and then travels to the Boston-Edison Historic District, an affluent neighborhood where Henry Ford lived. As the tour travels down Woodward Avenue, the guide (a professor at Wayne State University) points out different styles of architecture and historic landmarks. The bus also goes through Indian Village, an upscale neighborhood renowned for its architecture. A favorite stop on the tour is Eastern Market, a bustling, six-block market where 250 food vendors sell locally produced jams and syrups, grass-fed meat, in-season produce, and fresh-cut flowers. "After the tour, we end up at a restaurant on the waterfront for lunch," Pat says. Pat has always enjoyed art, music, and theater, and she says after she retired in 2000, she started to attend more performances and visit museums more frequently. Running Fox Run's Arts a la Carte committee is the perfect outlet for her to more fully explore her interest in the arts. And now, she is connected with a vibrant group of people who share her passion. "Having this kind of thing is nice," she says. "The people on the committee are wonderful, and everyone really takes charge of planning the outings they suggest."