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1986: Inception

Artists Creating Together (ACT), originally known as VSA Arts of Grand Rapids-Michigan, was brought to the community by the Junior League of Grand Rapids in 1986. During a study, the Junior League identified a lack of arts education opportunities for students with disabilities in the community. These findings were supported by the Kent Intermediate School District, Superintendent of Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Director of Special Education for the Michigan State Board of Education. Initially, the Junior League made a three-year financial and volunteer commitment to the new organization, including the planning and presentation of an annual art festival curated to special education students.

1990's: Year-Round Art Offerings

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2006: Becoming an Independent Nonprofit

In March 2006, ACT became an independent nonprofit organization. At that time, there was one full-time Executive Director and we offered five programs. In the following school year, the first art class for transition students (18-26-year-olds) in the Grand Rapids Public Schools district began, serving 15 students in a customized curriculum addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities.  

2011: A New Home for ACT

In March 2011, operations moved into a new home at 1140 Monroe Ave NW from Ottawa Ave. This space included a larger, accessible classroom and activity space for holding on-site programs as well as administrative office space for staff.  

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In March 2012, our name changed to Artists Creating Together. This name was chosen to show that we are dedicated, focused, and committed to serving the people in our local communities. This was also an opportunity to introduce a refreshed logo which better reflected our organization’s story and incorporate our popular and creative hands!  

2012: Name Change

In March 2012, our name changed to Artists Creating Together. This name was chosen to show that we are dedicated, focused, and committed to serving the people in our local communities. This was also an opportunity to introduce a refreshed logo which better reflected our organization’s story and incorporate our popular and creative hands!  

Today

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In the late eighties, the organization hired its first executive director to lead the organization as the first part-time employee. By the mid 1990’s, programming grew to offer dozens of workshop series for children and youth, as well as conducting several performances and exhibitions each year. 

Our History

Learn about the story of ACT and how our impact on the West Michigan community has grown over the past 30 years.

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