Ypsilanti Area Community Fund awards generous grant to Riverside Arts Center to begin “Art Therapy for Teens” program.

Ypsilanti Area Community Fund

The Ypsilanti Area Community Fund recently awarded the RAC a grant to begin a weekly art therapy program for at-risk high school students.

So what is art therapy?

Art therapy is a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by the art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.

A goal in art therapy is to improve or restore a client’s functioning and his or her sense of personal well-being.  Art therapy requires knowledge of visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, and other art forms.) and the creative process , as well as of human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques.

Art Therapy Research

Today art therapy is widely practiced in a large variety of settings.   During group sessions art therapists elicit their clients’ inherent capacity for art making to enhance their physical , mental, and emotional well-being.  Research supports the use of art therapy within a professional relationship for the therapeutic benefits gained through artistic self-expression and reflections for individuals who experience illness, trauma, and mental health problems and those seeking personal growth.

Here at the RAC

The art therapy sessions will take place from February through June .  We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the Ypsilanti Area Community Fund for affording us this wonderful opportunity.

The visitors to the art gallery cast their votes throughout the month of October as they visited the Great Lakes Small Works exhibit.  And the winning pieces are: Flight Club for 2D and Stacked for 3D.

Flight Club by Mary Jo Olson


“Flight Club”

12 x 9″

by Mary Jo Olson



Stacked Paper by Katie Mongoven







2 x 9 x 6″

by Katie Mongoven

Congrats to these two artists in winning the People’s Choice Awards.  If you have not seen all of the award winning pieces, check out this blog post.

From the Desk of Christie Lypka

From the Desk of Christie Lypka

A new study came out this week from the National Art Education Association.  According to the study students who participate in the arts both in school and after school demonstrate improved academic performance and lower dropout rates – 22% lower.  Low socioeconomic status students with a high participation in the arts have a dropout rate of only 4%.

Students who are involved in the arts succeed in school.  They are four times more likely to participate in an art and science fair; three times more likely to win an award for school attendance; four times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement and three times more likely to be elected to a class office.

Low income students who are highly engaged in the arts are more than twice as likely to graduate college as their peers with no arts education.

For teachers, instructors and artists this is not groundbreaking news.  However, one of my jobs is to educate the public about the benefits of the arts so I wanted to share this with you.  Holmes Elementary in Ypsilanti currently has no budget for art supplies.  Call them today and make a donation. 734-221-2100.  Your help could change a child’s life.

Students and Art

This is our 5th Annual Great Lakes ‘Small Works’ juried exhibit.  The call for this show is open to 2D and 3D artists from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  All artwork in the exhibit is no larger than 12″ on each side.

Exhibit run through Oct 25, 2014
Gallery Hours: Thur-Sat 3-8pm and Sun 1:30-4pm
Visitors can vote for their favorite 2D & 3D art pieces, so remember to cast your vote for the People’s Choice Awards.


Juror for this exhibit:

Norma Penchansky-Glasser holds a B.S. in Education and M.A. in Fine Arts.  She is well known for her human figure in motion series, both in line drawings and figurative sculptors.  She has won national, statewide and local awards, including the Medal of Honor from the National Association of Women Artists.  Norma’s work is in sixteen major collections in five different states, including a monumental outdoor sculpture in Oklahoma City.  In 2003 she earned the Berkowitz Gallery Purchase Award.  Norma is also part owner in the Washington Street Gallery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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