About this idea
We offer after-school and evening classes and camps for students, however, the backbone of the studio is our Open Studio times that are offered throughout the week.
These times are for anyone to come to our inclusive space to explore their ideas and try new mediums as a way of expression, with the hope that these tools will foster a sense of self and mental well-being.
I have always been an 'art person', and was lucky enough to grow up with a single parent who supported the arts and would get me into arts programs with financial scholarships as often as she was able to. However, I also grew up knowing that not every parent was as supportive of their child.
As an adult, I have spent time working in mental health in a hospital setting, seeing the challenges that people (my own children included) of all ages and backgrounds are facing, from many different perspectives, and again, the need and lack of support were highlighted.
Watching the news, meeting people, chatting with families, and seeing kids and adults struggle with mental health, the conversation remains consistent, and that is what the studio is all about. We provide a nurturing, inspiring, safe space to thrive creatively and without financial burden is the driving force behind the studio.
I have spent the last year building after-school art classes and programs at the studio that have been warmly received in our neighborhood, however, I would like to branch out into the community more in the coming years.
We have started slowly with our outreach programs, going to assisted living communities, having kids classes for vulnerable children (including one this summer for autistic children in East Grand Rapids), holding meditative art classes with sober living and women's group homes, and hosting teens with challenging histories.
I love the direction we are headed! It's exactly what I had dreamed about. But I would love to branch out more and be able to offer experiences like this more consistently and to more people.
If chosen for the award, the studio would be able to inclusively employ teachers for outreach as well as at the studio so that we can operate both areas of reach at the same time. If chosen, we would be able to supply events like this for a lower cost or for free as well as help with operational costs. If chosen, we would expand the variety of classes we offer for these intuitive art sessions.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story and I hope you consider helping us bridge the gap between creativity and mental well-being in our area.
The long-term goal is the benefit of instilling safe, healthy, creative coping mechanisms in people of all ages and abilities, with little to no cost to them. It's a hidden goal, but incredibly important.
My ultimate goal is to have spaces in a variety of neighborhood centers in Grand Rapids, that are employed by the people in those neighborhoods so that there is relatable, walkable accessibility for families to have a supportive artistic space.
What I'll do with $5,000
I would love to hire inclusive help at the studio, in order to broaden the scope of what we offer. I would also begin talking with other neighborhoods in Grand Rapids about having a space like this. And lastly, I would use the funding to help with the goal of becoming a non-profit organization in the hopes of starting something much bigger.