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Our Programs

ACT provides art and creative expression programming that enriches the lives of people with and without disabilities throughout West Michigan.
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Student Story Title

STUDENT STORY

We Are All
Radiant

IMPACT REPORT 2022

The arts bring us all together into a segment of space and time where nothing else matters but the joy of letting go, being honestly oneself, and being adventurous. No limits.

—LAURA ARMENTA, MOVEMENT AND DANCE TEACHER

STUDENT STORY

Student Story Title

VIEW STUDENT ARTWORK

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OSSATERIA “OSSY” HEARD

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DJ VANDERMEER, STUDENT

Student Story Title

DJ, a new student at ACT, is the type of person who likes to make things. At home, he builds cat beds out of cardboard for his furry friends Batman, Hawkeye, and Einstein. At ACT, DJ gets to create using media like paint and colored pencils. His favorite subjects are characters, trucks, cars, and airplanes.


For students like DJ, one of the most important things about ACT is that it gives them both a sense of belonging and an outlet for creativity. Says DJ, “I love art. Many things at ACT make me feel proud, and I feel very welcome. I like being here.”

VIEW STUDENT ARTWORK

STUDENT STORY

Student Story Title

VIEW STUDENT ARTWORK

ACT art student Andres Paniagua has a smile that lights up the entire room. It's especially bright when he talks about his art class, which he loves because it's a hands-on experience. He likes working with paper, and his favorite recent project was a hand-drawn self portrait. Andres is also proud of the papier mache robot he submitted to ACT's art showcase.

Like many of the students, Andres is taking transition classes after high school to help him prepare for navigating life as a young adult. The art studio at ACT provides a healthy, creative counterbalance to more traditional classes. Hands-on guy Andres agrees. When asked why he likes ACT so much, he laughs and says, "It gets me out of the classroom."

STUDENT STORY

ANDRES PANIAGUA, STUDENT

Youth Programs

School-based programs for early childhood to transition-aged students and classes at the ACT studio.

Adult Programs

Classes at the ACT studio and community locations for individuals 16 and older.

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Health & Healing Programs

For hospital and long-term care patients and residents of health agencies.

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Community Programs

Special events and ongoing programs for people of all ages and all abilities.

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Creative Cube

Our mobile studio which supports all programs by providing art opportunities on the road.

Programs at a Glance

Our Impact

Simply put, ACT improves lives. We use the arts as a fundamental tool to help all people reach their full potential.

Partner Story Title

Lillian Cummings Pulliams, director of the Early Childhood Special Education classroom program for Wyoming Public Schools, has served as the point person for ACT< developing schedules and distributing information to the staff. She has always been proud to champion ACT at the school because she believes the program meets children where they are, no matter their ability, and encourages them to explore their unique interests.

Says Lillian of the program: "Through ACT, every child is allowed to participate to the best of his/her ability, made to feel valued, given a sense of belonging, and enabled to demonstrate their gifts and talents in their own way. No one child is made to feel more or less than their peers."

She says tgat this inclusivity is what makes the program so special, providing limitless opportunities for every child to create and explore. "The ACT students have taught me that no child should have limited access to decreased expectations based on what has been identified as a disability or handicap," says Lillian. "Through ACT artforms, our children demonstrated a joy that had not been visible before. As a result, their attempts to communicate increased in wats that staff had not yet witnesses."

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PARTNER STORY

LILLIAN CUMMINGS PULLIAMS

Volunteers by Year

“I serve as a volunteer during art classes and am the chair of the Campus Links program at GVSU. ACT helps with programming for our students. It’s a progam that includes everyone and provides everyone with a way to communicate. When you can see growth, joy, and inspiraton in the participants, you realize how special the program is.”

—DORI RUNYON, PARTNER, GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY

Community Partners

Our Impact

We are eternal optimists. In all we do at ACT, we hope to empower every child, youth, and adult to reach their full potential.

Teaching Artist Story Title

Laura Armenta, a Movement and Dance teacher, has been working with ACT since 2015. Her favorite thing about teaching? She loves making her students laugh, and appreciates how they all learn and grow together (Laura included!). She says, "When I share with them dance, yoga, or body movement, it's great to see them enjoying the relationship between their body and music they love. Happiness matters, and in the brief moment of our time together, we collectively experience happiness, goofiness, and joy."

As a teacher at ACT, Laura gets to observe the freedom and creativity that art inspires on a daily basis. "I have witnessed a transformation in my students when I teach. The arts bring us all together into a segment of space and time where nothing else matters but the joy of letting go, being honestly oneself, and being adventurous. No limits."

In Laura's opinion, this is why ACT is so important to our community. "ACT offers love, compassion, and acceptance. It's a great asset to have an organization that embraces all humans and builds connections among art, artists, and volunteers."

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TEACHING ARTIST STORY

LAURA ARMENTA

ACT as both an organization and a community has cultivated a generative space where relationships grow easily. Anyone who's tried to do this knows how difficult it is to create real community, but ACT does it daily.

—STEVEN EDELMAN, VISUAL ARTS TEACHER

LAURA SANTOS

Volunteer Story Title

Laura was introduced to ACT by a friend and fellow volunteer who told her that the very first time she helped out in a class, she immediately fell in love with the students and the classroom. Today, Laura has been volunteering with ACT for almost a year, and she completely understands what her friend meant.

"I love the creative atmosphere," says Laura. "When it comes to creating art, the possibilities are endless for the students. I'm just happy I get to be a part of it and witness their creative process.

It's not surprising that Laura is learning a lot from the students and teachers, too. "They've taught me the ability to be open and try new things with enthusiasm and excitement," says Laura. The staff is so encouraging and hardworking, and they are so passionate and dedicated to keeping this wonderful program going."

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VOLUNTEER STORY

Our Donors

ACT would not be possible without the support of generous organizations, companies, and people like you. We deeply appreciate your support year after year.

3 IN ONE Solutions
​ADAC Automotive
Adrianne Snyder
Amy & Chris Knape
Angela VanDam
Ann Zoellner, in memory of Audrey Jandernoa
Anonymous
​Aon Foundation
AUXILIARY
Bernard & Harriet Mitchell, in honor of Richard H. Mitchell
Bill & Kathy Bush, Drew Bradbury

Binh Ha, Donor

I’ve always wanted to support an organization whose work I could trust. ACT immediately came to mind. I was impressed and moved by the work that the organization does to empower people with disabilities through the arts. I feel deeply connected to ACT’s mission and culture and am truly grateful for the opportunity to give back by becoming a monthly donor.

​Bob & Margaret Nault
Carissa & Patrick Beadling
Carl & Kelly Jandernoa
Casey & Katee Aubil
CDV5 Foundation
Chad & Jill Zagar
Chemical Bank
Chris & Bruce Hayden
Chris Belding
​Chris Milostan & Emily Evers
Christopher Wilson
Dan & Sherry Bowen
Daniel & Pamela DeVos Foundation
Darlene Berghorst
Dave Baumgartner & Patty Norman
David & Leslie Hooker
David & Mandy Matthews
Dawn Pumford
Debbie & Charles, in honor of Drew Bradbury

Donors

Denise Arthurs, in honor of Drew Bradbury
Derrick Hollowell
Dick & Barb Wells
Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation
Dick & Flo Koster
Dirk & June Hoffius
Dixon Interior Design
Don, Diane & Katie VanOeveren
Doug & Maria DeVos Foundation
Dr. Ben & Lisa Doctor, in honor of Antonio
Dr. Kirk Brink
Ed and June Prein Charitable Lead Annuity Trust

Gayla Deininger
George Adams & Michelle McHale Adams
Gotcha Covered
Grand Rapids Community Foundation
Herman Miller Cares
Horizon Bank
Irwin Seating Company
Jack Lensink
James & Judith Flater
James & Judith Thompson
James & Kim Bradbury
Jan Reynolds

Jeanne Elders DeWaard, in honor of Drew Bradbury
Jeff & Karrie VandenBerge
Jeff & Karrie VandenBerge
Jeff & Kim Ridings
Jennifer Craig
Joanne & Thomas Deschaine
Joe Volpe
John & Kristine Fox
John & Sue Erickson
John A. & Marjorie A. Neering
John Estabrook

Judy Siekman, in honor of Ben & Camille Cebalek

Ty Cook, Donor

The students of ACT have taught me that the power of art is that it returns happiness to those who practice it, act ACT fosters those interactions in a way that is natural and long-lasting.

Kathleen O'Brien
Kathryn Chaplow
Kathy Keehn
Keith & Mary Kay Hopkins
Kelly DeWispelaere
Ken & Edie Muraski
Kimball Family Fund
Krista Pischner-Coon & Dustin Coon
Kyle & Erin Dressander

Mary Beth Fitzgerald, in honor of Erwin & Lois Fitzgerald
Matt Cole
Michael & Valerie Feehan
Michele & Brent Dykstra, in memory of Sid Boonstra
Michele Suchovsky & John Gabrosek
Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs
Mike & Kathy Cairns, in honor of Drew Edgerton
Mike & Sue Jandernoa
Mike & Sydney Azzi
Murray Howe
Nancy Wanty
Nat & Marcia Love
Nick & Katie Butterfield
Nikki Outhier
Norris, Perné & French LLP
Pam Haffenden
Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation
Rachel Hyde, in honor of Professor Frank Speyers
Rhonda Lubberts & Mary Jane Pories
Rob & Angela Steele
Ron & Patty Dressander
Ruth A. & Raymond A. Reister

Sadie Erickson
Sam & Toni DeLuca
Shay Kraley & Jeff Hayes
Spencer & Kaitlin Olson
Steve & Beth Olson
Steve & Holly Jandernoa
Stevens Advertising
Susan Wold
Sujatha Pillai
Ted Adornato
Terrie Criner

Terry & Mary Beth Rott
The Meijer Foundation
The Steve & Amy Van Andel Foundation
Timothy & Char Hill
Tom & Karen Weaver
Tom & Kelly Olive
Tom & Kris Crimp
Twink Frey
Twink Frey Donor Advised Fund
Ty & Cortney Cook
Whirlpool

Our Financials

This year marks another year of financial stability for Artists Creating Together. Our strong fiscal oversight will allow us to conduct art and cultural programming for years to come.

2022 Funding

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Help us change lives.

A donation to ACT will bring hope to hospitals, smiles to our studio, and creativity to area classrooms. With your help, we can continue to build confidence, friendships, and a creative community.
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Thank you for making ACT possible.

Design and development by Design Project Center, College of Business, Ferris State University.

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