Art Reach supports Michigan artists by keeping art alive and accessible
Hundreds of colorful banners line the roads and a painted mural at the intersection of Main and Broadway streets are a few pieces of art that help draw people to downtown Mount Pleasant.
These unique additions to the city were created by community members and installed by the Art Reach of Mid Michigan.
The Art Reach of Mid Michigan provides community members the opportunity to participate in, learn about, and educate others in all things art related.
“Art Reach serves as the little bit of splashes of colors that add to the community,” said Kim Bigard, Art Reach administrative coordinator. “I feel that every city should have some form of arts organization that gives a voice to artists and offers an outlet for creativity."
Founded in 1981 and located at 111 E. Broadway St., Art Reach has an annual average of 15 different programs that are art and cultural based.
The art center is sectioned into three parts: the artist consignment shop, the Morey Family Gallery Center, and the educational and outreach programs.
The artist consignment shop is a place for artists to showcase and sell their art locally. Within the gift shop, visitors can find jewelry, ceramics, photography, paintings and other wholesale items.
The shop is staffed primarily by volunteers and is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Morey Family Gallery Center is a space for Michigan artists to showcase and sell a few of their art pieces. Art reach seeks out artists and offers the space for opening receptions.
Art Reach also creates promotion for the exhibits, offering a way for artists to gather more recognition.
When discussing the importance of art, exposure promotes curiosity, said Lorrie McNeilly, Mount Pleasant High School classroom assistant.
“Art is so important because the more art that is shown and available, the more one might be educated on something new,” McNeilly said. “When someone learns how something is made, they tend to appreciate it more.”
For artists, there is a fee for using the gallery center. However, there is no charge when visiting the gallery.
Exhibitions rotate through the gallery every month from January to October. For the last two months of the year, the gallery becomes an extended area for the gift shop.
The last section of Art Reach is the educational and outreach programs. This branch gets community members involved and gives back.
There are numerous educational programs that occur year round ranging from one-time canvas painting sessions to week-long intensive skill workshops. Classes are open to the public and have a small tuition fee varying on the class.
While educational programs have a tuition fee, outreach programs are open to the public and are free of charge.
“There is a ton of free programming that happens throughout the year in an effort to uphold our mission, which is to provide art opportunities and to keep the arts alive and accessible in the community,” said Amy Powell, executive director of Art Reach.
These programs are made to be impactful and engaging for the community, Powell said. Several of the more common outreach programs include:
· Festival of banners
· Art walk central
· Painting the intersection
· Let’s do lunch
· Kids and culture
· Picture program
For more information on the consignment shop, the Morey Family Gallery, or any of the programs call the Art Reach Office at (989)-773-3689 or visit their website at https://www.artreachcenter.org/.