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The Artists of Heartside Gallery and Studio-- Jane VanDommelen

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Jane Van Dommelen in the studio

Jane Van Dommelen in the studio /Heartside Gallery and Studio

Underwriting support from:


The Accident

The Accident /Heartside Gallery and Studio


Supercat /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 April is Jane VanDommelen, who is an inspirational artist having overcome tremendous adversity in her lifetime.  As a teenager she suffered extensive abuse, and was placed in a group home until early adulthood. During this time, Jane was diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia and Bi-Polar Disorder. In 1998 she was hit by a drunk-driver and was hospitalized for 6 months during her recovery. She is now 59 years old, and lives happily and independently with her cat and 2 fish.
 Here's a little bit about the artist, in her own words:
‘My name is Jane Van Dommelen, and I like to do art because it relaxes me and helps me focus on reality. I’ve been doing it ever since October 1998. I got started after my accident, when I couldn’t do sports anymore. After recuperating, I lived with my boyfriend and my 12 cats.  Now I make art, and I do my shopping on Mondays. 
I like to make art about cats, the outdoors (like camping), and scary movies. And I like fuzzy stuff, like fur and kitty cats, and I put it in my artwork. At night I go downstairs and make my art, when there is no one to disturb me. It’s a good time of night.’
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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