Building Vibrant Communities: Flyover Art Brings New Creative Opportunities to the Rural Space
on Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Building Vibrant Communities Grant Program
Starting this fall, rural southwest Michigan residents will have the chance to develop their artistic skills like never before, thanks in part to a Building Vibrant Communities grant from MEC.
Flyover Art is an upcoming work and learning space in Marcellus, which will help people living in the country overcome barriers to exploring professional creative opportunities. The installation is expected to offer the equipment, software, and training needed for community members to develop their capabilities.
Director Sarah Ayers grew up in Marcellus with an interest in the arts, but quickly left to explore her creative talents. She later returned with a mission: bridge the opportunity gap that kept her from staying in the first place.
Ayers first established a commercial art gallery in Marcellus called Patch & Remington before developing Flyover Art in early 2020. Flyover was originally envisioned as a mobile art studio that would travel to communities throughout southwest Michigan. However, after spending time speaking with Patch & Remington visitors, and with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighting the drawbacks of the original plan, Ayers determined that her existing gallery would be an ideal hub for the community workspace. By early 2022 the project was fully funded and the transformation began.
Flyover Art will have opportunities for people of all age groups and professional levels. After-school programs will be aimed at teens, with evening and early morning classes for adults.
It's not just creativity that Ayers wants to foster, but business savvy as well. In addition to trainings like graphic design, Flyover Art will offer classes on brand management, financial literacy, and other important topics for those pursuing a career in art. Faculty members from local colleges like Southwestern Michigan College and Kalamazoo Valley Community College are expected to provide instruction.
As for future development, Ayers says plans will evolve alongside people’s needs. This includes revisiting ideas like the original plan for Flyover – a mobile unit could reach people who are unable or prefer not to travel, for example.
Ayers says winning a Building Vibrant Communities grant helped make Flyover Art a reality. Our BVC program is funded by partnership dollars from our power supplier, Wolverine Power Cooperative. If you represent a nonprofit serving individuals in our service territory, you might be eligible to apply. The next deadline is Dec. 31 – visit teammidwest.com/community-grants for more information.
Flyover Art opens to the public this fall. Visit patchandremington.com or find Patch & Remington on Facebook and Instagram to connect and learn more.