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The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio -- Mike Tate

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/Heartside Gallery and Studio

/Heartside Gallery and Studio

/Heartside Gallery and Studio

Heartside Gallery and Studio began in 1993 as a small offshoot of Heartside Ministry, a program working to enrich and empower the people living in the shadow of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second largest city. Since then, this ever-expanding program continues to offer the Heartside community a safe, supportive environment in which to create, exhibit and sell art.

Our artists come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. Some have experienced the disadvantages and hardships of homelessness. Others suffer from various emotional, physical or mental disabilities. Many are people from the Heartside neighborhood who simply wish to share their talents and expertise with their neighbors.

Art is a valuable outlet for self-expression and creativity. Many Heartside Gallery and Studio artists have never experienced formal training, yet the artwork in our studio shows that talent often comes naturally and intuitively. Heartside Gallery and Studio is dedicated to providing a space for showing our artist’s unique responses to the experiences of their lives, as well as offering guidance and opportunity for trying new types of art.

Our beliefs:

  • Given a supportive environment, all people have the capacity to create
  • Visual art is a universal language
  • Creative expression fosters personal growth and the development of self-esteem
  • Socio-economic status and/or disabilities are not barriers to self-expression

Our featured artist for January is Mike Tate. Mike is a 53 year old man living with schizophrenia, a curvature of the spine and sickle cell anemia. Mike has lived in an adult foster care homes since he was 21 years of age, and continues to be an involved and creative member of the Heartside community. Here's a little bit about the artist, in his own words:

‘It all started years ago… I was 5 when I started making cartoons. Mainly, I was discovered 15 years ago by Ruth Swier at Casey’s Restaurant in Grand Rapids. She said she knew a place where I could show and sell my work, and that’s where I am at now. This art I make, it’s just me, it’s just fun. I make it because of my family and myself. I’d like to let people know that they should feel free to buy more art and do it more often. I’d like to do big wall sketches, like murals, but people just don’t buy work enough. Art magnifies the gift that God gave me. Without it, I’d be sitting around the house. Artists produce good thoughts, and we can make something magically appear with a pencil.’

The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio is a monthly feature to highlight some of the wonderful people of the Heartside neighborhood.  Visit www.heartside.orgFacebook and our Flickr page to keep up with us, to learn about volunteering and other ways to get involved.

Sarah Scott is Arts Coordinator for Heartside Gallery and Studio, and can be reached at [email protected]

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