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Promoting the Arts in Flint

By Vanessa Nason

Created on the love of art and an understanding of its importance in the community, the Greater Flint Arts Council (GFAC) strives to promote artists and to educate Genesee County and surrounding communities about the wonderful art being created around them.

GFAC's programs and services strive to support Michigan artists, engage those around them in the creative process, and develop sustainability in arts agencies, among many other things. "GFAC provides support series and we are also presenters as we strive to create professional venues for Michigan artists to build their careers and enhance economic development," says Greg Fiedler, the president and CEO of GFAC.

One of their programs, ARTWALK, does just that.

ARTWALK is a collaborative effort between a dozen businesses and cultural organizations in the downtown area. ARTWALK is designed to show Flint residents how diverse the gallery offerings are in their own downtown area, by hosting open house receptions that are free to the public.

It's a great way to give local artists exposure, and to show the community what wonderful artists are living next door. ARTWALK is always a big hit and, according to Fiedler, there are four top reasons why.

"First and foremost," he says," it's all about creativity. We are all creative beings and sharing creativity is an integral part of human nature." Second, it's an easy and fun way to experience the artistic community in greater Flint. Third is the sheer excitement of the event. And, finally, Fiedler says the last factor in ARTWALK's continued success is economics. "In these stressful economic times," he says, "people are conscious of their budgets. And ARTWALK is free!"

In addition to many programs supporting working artists, GFAC also has many opportunities to advance art education at all levels. There are two youth programs, ARTSHARE and City Arts Team, and GFAC also supports the art and music programs at University of Michigan - Flint, Mott Community College, Alpha Montessori School and High Schools in Genesse, Shiawassee and Lapeer Counties.

These programs are supported "through art exhibitions at the GFAC Gallery and Flint Public Library, and [the] hiring of young musicians to play at ARTWALK, Tunes at Noon, JAZZWALK and Flint Jazz Festival," says Fiedler. Through dedication and hardwork, GFAC actively works to promote the artists of today and educate the artists of tomorrow.

"At GFAC," says Fiedler, "we believe that emerging art can transform our community and we can be instrumental in creating an environment where art can emerge."

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About The Author

Vanessa Nason is a fourth year journalism major at Northeastern University. She's...

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