Winter Exhibitions at Ypsilanti’s Riverside Arts Center
by Ryan M. Place
The thing I like most about Ypsilanti’s Riverside Arts Center is the lack of “artsy-fartsy” pretentiousness thatinfects most art galleries, subsequently alienating the general population by attracting a small group of smug, self-satisfied art snobs. RAC is beautifully different in that it’s an open, all-inclusive honeycomb of art spaces that most people will enjoy.
“Our RAC people are an immensely talented and dedicated group of community volunteers. […] They’ve made our space a very welcoming and inspiring facility to people of all types,” says RAC Gallery Director, Dee Overly, tells says.
RAC consists of two connected buildings. To the right of the main RAC building is RAC Off-Center, featuring a second floor dance studio offering Russian ballet, tai chi and yoga. The RAC building itself is over 100 years old, and the RAC volunteers have done a beautiful job restoring it. In 1994, Ypsilanti’s Downtown Development Authority purchased the old Masonic Temple building on North Huron, which had been vacant since 1987, and leased it for one dollar a year to the volunteer organization, the Riverside Arts Center Foundation, to repair and operate. In 2004, RAC received a Michigan State Housing Development Authority Cool Cities grant, and Michigan Economic Development Corporation funding to renovate the building next door, creating the adjacent RAC Off-Center.
The 60 foot by 50 foot RAC Art Gallery is one of the largest exhibition spaces in Washtenaw County and offers over ten exhibits every year, featuring receptions where patrons can meet the artists. RAC also offers live theater, dancing, summer drama workshops and Saturday “Art Adventures” classes, taught by Eastern Michigan University Visual Art Education majors.
Riverside Arts Center will be featuring three dynamite art exhibits this winter:
January 6-29: “Four Seasons” This exhibit features the work of seven female artists, Nora Venturelli Ballario, Amy Yamasaki, Sharon Fay, Angelis Jackowski, Barbara Bushey, Catherine Shinnick and Nancy Wolfe, and focuses on how the four changing seasons affect nature. Reception Saturday, Jan. 8, 5-7 p.m.
February 3-26: “Growing Up” This solo exhibit features University of Michigan grad Dan Farnum’s photographs of America. Reception Saturday, Feb. 26, 5-7 p.m.
March 3-26: “Memory” This exhibit is an invitational mixed-media exhibit of art, based on strong memories, coupled with a written explanation by each artist.
Riverside Arts Center is located at 76 N. Huron street (at Pearl street) in Ypsilanti. Gallery Hours: Thursday-Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call: 734-480-2787.