Celebrate student artists during Viva City

Minneapolis Public Schools students’ creative talents in the visual and performing arts will be on display during the 19th-annual Viva City Fine Arts Festival running through April 5.

The district-wide event is a yearly showcase for the district’s arts programs, and includes art exhibitions and performances, with opportunities for students to win awards recognizing their work. All events are free and open to the public.

Student musicians perform in Fringe at the Cedar, 7 p.m. March 5 at the Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S.

Next up is Dance at the Ritz, 7 p.m. March 8 at the historic Ritz Theater, 345 13th Ave. N.E.

Student actors close the performance series with Theater at the Capri, 7 p.m. March 14 at the Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway Ave.

The middle school art exhibition runs through April 5 in the John B. Davis Gallery at district headquarters, 1250 W. Broadway Ave. The high school exhibition runs through April 5 in the Cargill Gallery at Hennepin County Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall.

The opening reception for the high school exhibition is 5 p.m.–7 p.m. March 7 at the library.

Go to bit.ly/12TIpNF to view a slideshow of student visual art from this year’s Viva City celebration. For more information on Viva City, go to the Arts for Academic Achievement website, aaa.mpls.k12.mn.us.

eMentors engage online

UnitedHealth Group in January was honored for its participation college- and career-readiness programs that connect their staff with students at about a dozen Minnesota schools, including an online mentoring program involving students at Southwest High School.

The Minnesota-based health care company was awarded this year’s BestPrep Humanitarian Award for its involvement with BestPrep’s business and mentoring programs. About 700 of the 4,000 working professionals from Minnesota’s business community who volunteer with the nonprofit come from UnitedHealth Group, making it BestPrep’s largest business partner.

“We have a lot of companies involved,” said BestPrep founder and President Bob Kaitz. “That 700 number [of UnitedHealth Group volunteers] is probably about double what anybody else is providing right now.”

Over the course of six years, UnitedHealth Group employees have corresponded with about 1,600 Minnesota high school students, including the group of Southwest students who visited the company’s Minnetonka offices Feb. 15. The students and their mentors were meeting face-to-face for the first time after corresponding online through BestPrep’s eMentors program.

Kaitz said the eMentors volunteers pass on communication and financial literacy skills through weekly e-mail correspondence with students. The seven- to 10-week program is built on one-to-one mentor-student relationships, and aims to prepare the teens for college and the workplace, he said.

The eMentors program is just one of six BestPrep programs that the organization says have reached more than 1.3 million students statewide since Kaitz, a former Breck School economics teacher, founded the nonprofit in 1976. Go to bestprep.org for more information on eMentors and other BestPrep programs.

Art Buddies seeks creative mentors

The Art Buddies after-school program is seeking creative professionals to join its mentorship program for five weeks beginning in April.

Operated by Minneapolis charity Creatives for Causes, the program recruits working adults from fields like advertising, public relations, design and architecture to work one-on-one with low-income students on creative projects. The mentors assist with art projects that help the students set goals and envision future careers.

Volunteer applications are due by March 26 for the five-week program that begins in April. Art Buddies operates in two locations: 3:30 p.m.–5:45 p.m. Thursday afternoons at Whittier Recreation Center, 425 W. 26th St.; and 2:45 p.m.­–5 p.m. Tuesday afternoons at Bancroft Elementary School, 1315 E. 38th St.

Volunteers can select which site they’d prefer when applying. For more information, or to submit an application, go to artbuddies.org

Share your experiences at a high school career fair

AchieveMpls is recruiting local adults to share their professional experiences with students at upcoming high school career fairs in March and April.

Schools are seeking adults from a variety of fields: everything from agriculture to finance and medicine to the arts. At the career fairs, they’ll have the opportunity to talk with students about their careers and what kind of training it would take for one of today’s high school students to eventually join them.

Career fairs are scheduled at locations across the city from March 13 to May 16, including 9 a.m.–11 a.m. March 15 at Washburn High School, 201 W. 49th St.

To volunteer, go to achievempls.org and complete an online sign-up sheet, or contact AchieveMpls intern Jevita Baheriy at 455-1559 or [email protected]

Reach Dylan Thomas at [email protected]