A Hidden Gem: Art Reach Center of Mid Michigan

Story and Photo by Patricia Alvord

“It started by just a group of art lovers that wanted to create opportunities for participation and enjoyment of the arts,” Gallery Coordinator Kim Bigard said.

Founded in 1981, the Art Reach Center of Mid Michigan is a quick getaway into the world of art among the local creatives.

Located in downtown Mount Pleasant, the center features pieces from artists from all across Mid Michigan. Before the pieces can be featured, however, they are reviewed by Bigard to determine if it’s appropriate for the shop. Art Reach is a cross between a gallery and a gift shop, both incorporated within one another to display what Art Reach is all about.

“We try to help people find avenues to exercise creativity. Whether they’re artistically trained or not, community members can enjoy many of our programs, like the Banner Festival,” Bigard said. “Anyone is open to participate in that, even if it’s just as a viewer.”

The programs Bigard describe include classes, special events, or simply learning more about art each and every week. Classes range from kid’s claywork classes or advanced three-day watercolor workshops, some with artists who do so every day.

While Art Reach accepts pieces from artists all across Mid Michigan, many of the featured artists are mostly from the Mount Pleasant area.

“We try to keep everything as local as possible, so the artwork in the shop is mainly Mid-Michigan artists. Plenty are local to Mount Pleasant and surrounding areas. A lot of times, local artists simply find out we exist, so they bring in their work and we then display it if we think it’s appropriate for the shop.”

Bigard has worked at the Art Reach Center for 7 years now and she happily continues to see the art population grow among her. To her, the goal of Art Reach is to help local artists live out their dreams, and to help those who aren’t find some sort of enjoyment or viewing pleasure.

“I think art is alive in Mount Pleasant. Although many people may not know it, often times people come along and they have these little secret, hidden abilities,” Bigard said. “They come and show us their work, their painting or whatever it is they do and then folks will come along afterwards and see it and their like, ‘I didn’t even know they painted.'”

As an opportunistic hidden gem within Mount Pleasant, Art Reach is a place worth checking out to satisfy your creative flare.

“It’s like they’re a little artist in secret, so I’m sure there’s plenty of people out there that are in that case.”