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DIA Volunteer at Rivera Court
DIA Volunteer

Volunteer Award Winner:
Alyssa Mertz

Art to the Schools - October 2006

Alyssa Mertz, a native Detroiter, has been selected by the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Art to the Schools (ATS) Committee as its Volunteer of the Year. Trained Art to the Schools docents present an overview of the museum’s collection in the classroom for third through sixth graders. They visit public, private, and parochial schools in the Metro Detroit area.

 

Mertz has been a volunteer at the DIA for 16 years and has given a variety of art talks. She has learned a great deal of teaching methods through the Visual Thinking Strategy approach. “The talk titles came and went, but the anticipation of what the next class would be always kept me interested.”

 

Mertz attended Mumford High School and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BA in American History. She taught eighth grade American History in Birmingham, Southfield, and Grosse Pointe.

 

Many ATS and Volunteer Board positions have been held by Mertz. She was Chairman of ATS in 2000-2001. While on the Volunteer Board, Mertz arranged for volunteers to visit the Inn on Ferry Street, Ford Field, and the Detroit Public Library.

 

Mertz was asked to be on the committee to create curriculum based talks that were added in 2000-2003. She felt it was important to give teachers a wider choice of talks.

 

“Over the years, I have appreciated the enrichments offered through the DIA’s Education Department. I feel fortunate in being able to have so many ATS friends, especially my training class buddies. The biggest benefit I get is to see the children’s hands waving as they want to participate in talking about the arts.”

 

Mertz is married to Richard Mertz, a retired ophthalmologist. They have been married 38 years and have a daughter, Julie, and a son, Jeff. When Alyssa isn’t going to the schools, she enjoys boating, knitting, reading, and traveling.