Pointe Artist Association then and now...
The Grosse Pointe Artists Association’s beginnings extend back to November 1937, when John L. Vogt arranged an exhibition of Grosse Pointe area artists at the Grosse Pointe Neighborhood Club’s new gymnasium. An exhibition of original artwork by Grosse Pointe area artists and Grosse Pointe High School students followed in April of 1929. The group was officially named and organized in 1938. This group of artists grew to 73 members and incorporated as a non-profit organization in April 1942.
During World War II, we painted posters for USO dances, raised funds for the Red Cross and taught art to wounded veterans at the Marine Hospital at Windmill Pointe. In 1947, the GPAA donated a 15th century bronze sculpture to the Detroit Institute of Arts. The organization conducted classes and held annual exhibits at the Alger House, later renamed the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. Funds from GPAA classes, lectures and dues supported the construction of the Fries Auditorium and the art wing at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial.
Over the years GPAA searched for a permanent home for its growing inventory, classroom and exhibition space. Once located at Jefferson and Maryland streets in Grosse Pointe Park, then at Wayburn and Kercheval before finding the current art center building located at 16900 Kercheval Avenue in the city of Grosse Pointe. The art center opened in February of 2008, now operating as Grosse Pointe Art Center (GPAC). It is due to the generosity of the Edward P. Frohlich Family Trust and Mr. James Bellanca, Jr. that the art center is able to reside at this address. This is not a permanent home, however, and GPAC continues to seek a permanent location.
Our constant focus is to bring a variety of creative opportunities to southeastern Michigan artists and to provide a venue for the community to share in that creative experience through monthly exhibitions. The center hosts 6-8 exhibitions annually, in addition to multiple community outreach programs. GPAC invites professional artists from regional Michigan to join the art center through membership and submissions, promoting their profession.
In addition to monthly exhibitions in our gallery, we have hosted the Wayne County Council for the Arts, History and Humanities’ Annual Shows, the Michigan Watercolor Society’s Annual Shows and the Great Lakes Pastel Society‘s National Show. In spring 2006, College for Creative Studies students’ participated in our first annual collaboration with them and professional artists, and in April 2007, we are featuring Wayne State University students. In the fall of 2006, Wayne State University’s Fiber Arts Departments, Michigan Surface Design and Grosse Pointe Artists Association joined in an All Fibers Art Exhibition. In 2005, we began a series of literary and artistic discussion groups that have developed, through outside grants, support for an Artist-in-residence and a Poet/Writer-in-residence.
Yearly, GPAC gives fine art awards in the form of financial support to North High School and South High School art students. We have worked with the local schools in a fine art project called Postcards on the Edge.
Since August of 2003, we have annually held an exhibition “Our River’s Our Lakes,” that displays artwork inspired by the great lakes. During this exhibition environmental groups from across the state and nationally are invited to provide brochures, pamphlets and videos that speak to the environmental issues and the citizens responsibilities for the health of our waterways.
When the State of Michigan was offering the film industry increased tax incentives, GPAC had the great fortune of working with the filming of “Scream 4”. Many artist members were given the thrill of having their art a part of the set of the film.
In 2010, thanks to Nina Goebel and Colt Weatherston, the art center hosted a photography workshop for the children of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen titled “Children of Hope”. The student’s work was framed and previewed in conjunction with the professional exhibition “Photos, Prints and Pottery”. The event was a huge success with all of the photographs being purchased the night of the preview. All proceeds went to the students. Due to the success of the program, in 2012, Nina Goebel with the support of Wayne State University, again hosted a workshop for the adult guests of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, this time a painting workshop titled “SELF”. The participants created multiple self portraits. The portraits were previewed with the professional show “Faces and Portraits” jurored by Scarab Club Artist-in-Residence, Bill Murcko.
Also in 2012, GPAC hosted an art therapy program for breast cancer survivors titled “Refocus and Renew” sponsored by Beaumont Hospital offered by Sheila Greilick Springsteen M. ED. A.T. And thanks to the support of the Aline Underhill Orten Foundation, GPAC hosted an art therapy program “Wings of Hope” assisting children with cancer. The art center is grateful to these funders for their support.
In 2010, the organization expanded its staff to include a Gallery Coordinator. After attending a Capacity Building seminar hosted by the Kennedy Art Center funded in part by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, GPAC launched its first 5-year plan. This master plan includes; exhibitions, community outreach, art education planning and Board Development. Both National and International exhibitions are in the plan. In 2009, the organization hosted its first National show “Embedded Light” – an encaustic show. Then in 2012, “Realism and Surrealism” sponsored by Flagstar Bank was jurored by Jim Nawara.
Grosse Pointe Art Center is honored to serve as the Grosse Pointe community art center. The organization takes pride in bringing regional fine art to the greater metro Detroit area. We offer membership to any working artist over 18 years of age and to the art admirer.