Riverside Art Center (RAC) announced this week that it is incorporating the FLY Children’s Art Center (FLY) as part of their organization.  The two Ypsilanti creative establishments are formalizing a relationship that amplifies their ability to provide better services in the community. The new program will be the FLY Creativity Lab (FLY) at Riverside Arts Center.

“Riverside Art Center is a hub of creative activity in Ypsilanti,” said Emily Tuesday, Executive Director of Riverside Art Center. “Having a mature children’s creativity program based at RAC adds an important piece to our offerings. We are thrilled with the partnership and what it means for our community. ”

The building that houses the Riverside Art Center was purchased by the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority in 1994 to provide a venue for plays, dance, music, and art. The building was a Masonic Temple originally, and the facility has beautiful features from its origin in 1909. DTE has generously dedicated the adjoining building for RAC’s Off Center that houses a dance studio, artists’ studios and a street level gallery. RAC has hosted scores of exhibitions, provided affordable studio space for artists of all kinds, and has, for the past year and a half, been the home of FLY Children’s Art Center.

“We moved into the RAC’s Off Center about a year ago,” Linette Lao, Board Chair of FLY explains. “It made sense for us financially, and we feel like having a location that hosts all sorts of art amplifies our creativity and community. Formalizing this relationship means that we can focus on plans to bring kids downtown to the studio and expand our offerings in the schools. We knew we wanted to join with another organization, and after careful review RAC emerged as a local ally with a similar vision.”

FLY was founded in 2009 to provide creative opportunities to kids in Ypsilanti schools and surrounding areas. Most recently FLY completed artist-in-residencies at two elementary schools.

Donald Loppnow, Riverside Art Center’s Board President, shares the excitement, “We’re pleased to see the RAC vision coming to fruition. Ypsilanti is home to many creative people and even more people who appreciate that creativity. The Riverside Arts Center helps bring this to life. Offering arts programming for youth in our community is one of our important priorities.  Incorporating the FLY Creativity Lab into the Riverside Arts Center’s programming helps achieve this important priority.“

Updates will continue through this fall as new opportunities for programming develop.  Those interested in becoming a part of the Riverside Art Center are encouraged to volunteer, and employment opportunities will become available in the future.

The Riverside Art Center offers, promotes and nurtures a dynamic arts and cultural environment in Southeast Michigan through arts education, performing arts and visual arts activities designed to engage and serve the community.

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