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Nick and Yen Azzaro: Connecting Ypsilanti, EMU and Local Schools


Stamps alums Nick and Yen Azzaro (BFA 2003), co-owners of the Chin-Azzaro studio, are featured in an MLive article detailing their work with the Ypsilanti community.

Recent projects include: the Ypsilanti Community Schools’ Bright Futures photography program; We Are Ypsi,” a monthly showcase of artwork from YCS and EMU students ranging from elementary to college age; Y Trikes, a project created to call attention to local non-motorized transportation issues while bridging the city and university communities; and a new EMU partnership that utilizes the Chin-Azzaro studio to teach students about art administration, running a retail gallery and commercial photography.

…the projects in which the Azzaros are involved are smoothly connecting the university, city, township and Ypsilanti Community Schools communities — something that rarely happens easily or on a meaningful level. EMU and the city sharing road salt is nice, but the Azzaros’ projects are playing a big role in further developing the Ypsilanti community’s cultural identity.

Russ Olwell, an Eastern Michigan University housing and K‑12 researcher who partnered with the couple on several efforts, called them genuinely community-minded” and said their work changed how he approaches economic and cultural development.

Nick and Yen have completely transformed community collaboration in Ypsilanti. I don’t know how we ever lived without them,” Olwell said.

Ypsilanti couple’s expertise in the arts connects the city, EMU and local schools | MLive