We are honored to be featured in Concentrate Media’s profile of us, published on March 7, 2018. Thank you to writer Brianna Kelly and photographer Doug Coombe.
Here is an excerpt:
Riverside Arts Center (RAC) executive director Emily Tuesday envisions a beehive when she thinks about the role she wants the center to play in the Ypsilanti community. She draws parallels between the production of honey, with bees busily buzzing in and out of the hive, and the creation of art. Since the buzzing of bees is reflective of their productivity, Tuesday would like the diversity of sounds emanating from the building to be symbolic of the activity that’s happening inside.
“The sound level totally indicates community. The busier it is and the more the sound is increasing, I feel like we’re getting closer to our mission,” Tuesday says. “It means we’re alive. We’re more than just a building, we’re all the people within it. I love the idea that multiple rooms are lit up with totally different mediums and meetings and groups.”
RAC, 76 N. Huron St., is gradually fulfilling its goal of becoming a community hub by frequently hosting exhibitions, meetings, classes, and more. Program manager Trevor Stone sees each event that RAC hosts as an opportunity for leadership to connect with new people and ask them how they can be of service. Instead of simply offering space and opportunities to create, RAC staff are aiming to create a platform for community building and an outlet for bringing ideas to fruition.
RAC has been a fixture in Ypsi since it opened in 1995, but the center has taken a new direction since last year, when Tuesday and Stone took their staff positions and RAC merged operations with arts nonprofit FLY Creativity Lab. Last January, RAC initiated a 10-month public input period comprised of surveys, informal feedback, and formal focus sessions to find out what community members want from the arts center. After collecting the community’s input, RAC’s board of directors implemented a new strategic plan, which aims to create a safe space in downtown Ypsi where anyone is welcome to explore, create, and innovate.
“What we created was something that reflected the needs of the community, and that really is our blueprint for how we’re growing over the next three years and beyond,” Tuesday says. “It’s setting the stage for being that hub.”