Artists Creating Together Announces $1.1 Million Fundraising Effort for a New Art Studio

PRESS RELEASE — Last week, the leaders of Artists Creating Together (ACT) announced the Impact campaign, a $1.1 million fundraising effort to provide expanded art studio facilities for individuals with disabilities.  

Founded in 1986, ACT serves over 6,000 local individuals by providing enriching recreational, social, and skill-building art programs for area people with disabilities each year.  These activities help build a thriving network, leading to life-long friendships, increased confidence, and provide a connected community for families and the many others that support children and adults with disabilities. 

Launched in 2018, the Impact campaign has raised more than $925,000 over the last several months, 81% of the overall campaign goal.  Seventy-six community donors, local businesses, and area foundations have supported the campaign to date.  

Artists Creating Together leaders plan to move into their new space at 1140 Monroe, NW later this year. When complete, the expanded facility will feature expanded performing and visual arts space, a roof top garden, a kiln area for clay work and more space for offices and collaborative meetings. An additional goal of the campaign has been the funding of the Creative Cube, a mobile art studio that will be transported to area schools and other locations to bring arts into every corner of the community for people of all abilities, especially special education programs.

At today’s public announcement of the fund drive, Shannon Gary, Vice President of Alliance Beverage and Steve Jandernoa of 42 North Partners invited the public to join in the fundraising effort which will continue through the end of the year.  

“As we work to provide the very best in programming for children, youth, and adults with disabilities, I am pleased to be part of an effort that helps kids find ways to express themselves through the arts and helps them develop long lasting friendships.” said Gary. “Demand for our programs is increasing,” said Jandernoa, “In the last five years, we’ve grown from serving 4,000 individuals to over 6,000 today. There are over 14,000 youth and 90,000 adults with disabilities in Kent County, and we anticipate serving more individuals and families over the next several years.”  

Gary announced that the campaign has received support from local and regional foundations, area businesses, and generous community donors. To date, supporters of this campaign include the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and The Meijer Foundation. “Grand Rapids Community Foundation is working alongside our partners to create a West Michigan where everyone can apply their talents and creativity to fuel our future,” said Janean Couch, program director at the Community Foundation. “We are excited to support A.C.T. as a valuable partner in making the arts accessible, so that together we can unlock the creativity and ingenuity of everyone in our community.”

Gary shared, “We have been so fortunate to receive gifts for this important campaign. Our Campaign Cabinet joins me in thanking the community for their meaningful gifts. We now invite the broader community to help us complete this campaign effort.  We welcome gifts of all sizes.”

Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the public phase of the $1.1 million campaign.  

“This is an exceptional opportunity for the community to help build a strong network of support for children, youth and adults that may struggle to find opportunities on a consistent basis,” said Jandernoa.  “If we can provide a venue for these services, we know we can impact more families.”

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