Charity Spotlight: REACH Studio Art Center

Accessible art-making experiences and education for kids and adults.

REACH Studio Art Center runs educational art programs that are affordable and close to Lansing residents. By exposing more people to art and creativity, REACH helps enrich lives and bring communities together.

In this charity spotlight, I spoke with the Executive Director of REACH Studio Art Center, Alice Brinkman.

Origin Story

While teaching an after-school program at Moores Park School, Alice noticed that there were very few art classes offered outside of regular school hours. The art classes that were offered did not tend to be economical or at a convenient location for many of the residents of Lansing.

Alice thought that art shouldn’t only be available to those who can pay for it. This idea became a dream that she would hold onto for years while she connected with the community to find a studio space at an accessible location where she could offer affordable art classes.

By 2003, Alice had found a space close to downtown, within reach of thousands of Lansing residents, and started teaching classes. The building had one large classroom where all of the original programs were hosted. These classes were available to any age—adults, teens, even toddlers—and utilized a variety of materials including fiber and clay.

This one classroom would become the foundation upon which REACH Studio Art Center would be built.

Today

In 2013, REACH expanded into the surrounding five buildings. They continue to offer a variety of classes to all ages and make sure classes are affordable to anyone who may wish to attend.

Adults can learn a variety of clay, drawing, and painting techniques through the studio’s adult clay, Picture This, and Mud & Mug classes. Similarly, kids as young as age two can find clay, drawing, and painting classes that fit their skill level.

The center offers art exploration classes, a K-3 summer school program, and an open studio for teens. The studio also participates in Lansing School District’s Late Start Wednesday and offers additional programs to homeschoolers.

REACH also features the works of local artists in their gallery, hosts special events, and participates in a variety of community events. Their art truck travels to other locations across Lansing to further improve the community’s access to art.

Big Wins

REACH’s expansion has been a great boon to their mission. More classes can be held simultaneously, which means the studio can reach more people than ever. Working with the Lansing School District has also helped expose more kids to art.

The Teen Open Studio’s Community Art Projects has also been a great success. The studio connects teens with local businesses to create public art exhibits. It has had a wonderful impact on the community. You’ve probably even seen some of the exhibits!

Goals

The art center has only completed some of the renovations in their facility expansion project, leaving them plenty of room to grow. As new wings are completed, REACH will explore new possibilities with those spaces, including a fiber arts studio, digital media lab, and a performing arts studio.

For Nonprofits

“If you think that you want to continue doing your own art, think twice.”

This was the advice Alice received from her mentor, Carol Rose. Alice explains that when you find something important enough to open up opportunities for others, it may close some for you.

Operating a nonprofit is challenging and it’s easy to get burnt out. Starting a nonprofit requires a lot of personal growth and trust in others. Make sure you’re committed.

For Donors and Volunteers

Nonprofits have to be careful to accept donations and volunteers they know they can use. If an organization can’t utilize your time, skills, or specific donation requests, it may cause more work if they accept your time or gift anyway.

You can avoid this by being flexible with your donations. Try not to be too specific with your requests and understand that your contribution might not be used right away.

Get Involved

If you want to learn more about REACH Studio Art Center, you can reach them by clicking one of the buttons below.

Photographs courtesy of REACH Studio Art Center.