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Artist Claire Moore uses items found around the house to make a piece of art during the MADE IN 60 M

Riverside Arts Center Turns to Online Art to Bring People Together

Artistic livestreams and an online photo gallery show the diverse culture of Ypsi artists.

by Stephanie Sorter

Published in June, 2020

Since it opened in 1995, the Riverside Arts Center (RAC) has been using the arts as a way to bring the community together and showcase the rich culture of Ypsilanti. This mission hasn't been stopped by social distancing. With in-person classes and workshops on pause, the RAC continues to bring people together with online art initiatives.

"Present: An Online Exhibit,"invites Washtenaw County residents to showcase ways to stay grounded and "present" in these uncertain times. It has received 135 submissions from seventy different artists since it began in March-and numbers are still increasing. WIth everything from snapshots of flowers and pancake art, to an oil painting of fried eggs, it "speaks to how, through the arts, we connect people together in dialogue and create space for mutual understanding, bringing the ripple effects of combined healing," says RAC executive director Eliza Guyton.

Earlier in June, the RAC teamed up with EMU's School of Art & Design for an exhibit titled "MADE IN 60 MINUTES." In a livestream event, six local artists were challenged to make a piece of art in under an hour using only common household art supplies. Since then, two of these artists, both MFA students at EMU, have been teaching online classes. Claire Moore, whose livestream project was a picture of a face made from plastic she found around her house, has been teaching a class on making mixed media portraits. Domenique Annoni, who made prints of everyday objects during the challenge, teaches how to make art from your environment.

The RAC is working with local collaborators to plan programming that can happen safely outdoors and has a donations page for anyone wanting to help them continue through these hard times. "We need art to heal ourselves, to process all that is occurring, to help us gain clarity" Guyton says, "to keep moving forward with diversity, inclusion, and equity."     (end of article)

[Originally published in June, 2020.]


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