Heartside Gallery continues to grow

Heartside Ministry is a social service agency that provides the necessary resources to help those in need. They have a studio where people can express themselves through art called the Heartside Gallery and Art Studio. It has a safe and supportive atmosphere that allows people to have a creative outlet.Heartside Gallery and Art Studio started in 1993. It began as a small Heartside Ministry program and has been growing ever since.

This gallery showcases over 70 artists every year. The artists at Heartside are not your typical artists who have been studying art for years. They are self-taught. Although there are some artists who simply want to find their voice, many of them have harrowing background stories. While some of the artists have experienced abuse, others have been subject to confinement, and a few deal with physical and mental disabilities.

At the end of 2013, Heartside further developed their art programs thanks to a grant from the Dyer-Ives Foundation. This grant opened two new positions: street team coordinator and online sales coordinator. Both positions focus on broadening the art program through social media, art sales and art shows. Artwork can be bought online or at the gallery. After adding these positions, art sales increased by 30 percent.

The Street Team, a group within Heartside Ministry, travels to various places in Grand Rapids to represent Heartside and to display artwork. They participate in small events as well as larger events such as the annual Festival of the Arts in downtown Grand Rapids. A large portion of the art is displayed in local places such as The Salvation Army Divisional headquarters.

“This type of attention is very powerful and transformative,” said Alysha Lach, street team coordinator, in the The Rapidian article “Heartside Gallery Expands.”

This art is a form of therapy. It not only impacts the individual, but it brings the community together.

The newest addition to the Street Team is the podcast “An Irregular Heartbeat” which can be found on Soundcloud, an online audio platform. The podcast includes actual Heartside artists sharing their stories about art, life and the neighborhood. Go to https://soundcloud.com/anirregularheartbeat to hear artist Walter Pinder share about the Heartside neighborhood or listen to artist Angela Gipson’s insights.

The Street Team’s “greatest hope” is to have the community listen to these “amazing stories from the heart of this city.”

Support the gallery and local artists by purchasing a package to attend the studio on a Saturday where you can paint or meet artists. Take a look at their Facebook page or listen to the new podcast to find out about upcoming events.

Don’t forget to stop by the studio today, Friday, December 4, from 4-10 p.m. to support the artists during the annual holiday sale.