Alma Community Art Center - Almost Home!
The ACAC provides space for and exposure to educational art opportunities for people of all ages and abilities in Gratiot County, Michigan. Area visual artists share both their artwork and their artistic skills with the community through display, sales and instruction in art.
We began this endeavor two and one half years ago in a vacant storefront in downtown Alma. The space was generously donated for our use, and community volunteers spent many hours renovating and cleaning prior to our opening on November 11, 2011. We have offered classes in diverse media, an artist mentoring program for children and young adults, summer art camps, private classes by appointment, and held art events for groups (both on site and off). We also have provided gallery space for several exhibitions, including the work of community artists, artist guilds, art professors from both Alma College and Central Michigan University, students from area schools, Child Advocacy, and Above the Influence. Openings have been well attended and received. We have worked with the county development association annually to offer a banner project, where county residents can enter designs for banners to be displayed in the downtown areas of three cities. We participate in city and county events throughout the year, including Fall Festival and Come Home to Alma, providing free activities to community members. We also offered the work of local artists for sale through our retail shop.
Funding for our programming, publicity, exhibitions and part-time staff has come from class fees,
special events, commissioned sales, monetary donations and grants.
We have had a very positive response and considerable support from area communities. Our dedicated corps of volunteer docents, instructors and friends have given thousands of hours of their time and talent towards making the Art Center a success.
In the fall of 2012, again with the help of generous donors, we found a permanent home at 318 Woodworth Avenue in downtown Alma. With hundreds of hours of volunteer efforts, the building is undergoing major renovation, including the creation of two apartment spaces on the second floor. These apartments will provide ongoing revenue for the Art Center. Gallery, retail shop, flexible classroom and meeting space will occupy the first floor. There is a full basement for storage, and a large, divided garage on the property for storage and future classroom space. We have ample parking as well. We hope to create a ceramics studio in the garage space, to provide meeting space for arts guilds, and to be a force for creativity in Gratiot County.
In the summer of 2013, it was time to move out of our original space, as a major renovation project was due to begin on that building. We were fortunate to find an office space immediately next door to our new building, where we could easily oversee the progress there. Our current space is small, but provides ample room for small classes and managing the Art Center’s day to day activities. While waiting for the construction on our new home to be completed, we’ve applied our creativity to finding ways to continue to offer popular classes, and to add new ones. We’ve used the time to refine individual classes and to find additional instructors with various expertise. We’ve also reached out to local businesses, churches and libraries for larger classroom space and an opportunity to bring art instruction out into the public.
We have continued into our fourth year of the community banner project, and hope to extend it across more cities and towns in coming years. We take our classes and instructors out into the neighboring communities with our current classes, and plan to take future classes directly to those who may have difficulty getting to the Art Center. We continue to offer events for community members to participate in and enjoy the visual arts.
There are very few organizations offering educational visual art opportunities in our county, and we strive to keep the cost of our classes very accessible so as to include the broadest group of community residents. During the construction of our new home, our classes are our primary means of financial income. We are able to continue paying rent, utilities and our part-time manager, but need to raise funds to replenish our supplies for art classes. Once we are in our permanent home, we will be able to add retail sales, special events income and rental income to our finances, and also will be able to offer additional classes without incurring fees for use of space.
We must replenish and expand our art supplies, in order to continue to increase and improve our classes, and to help carry us through to our new building.
318 Woodworth Avenue, Alma, Michigan, 48801 • 989-463-8366 • firstname.lastname@example.org