Arts Roll Call Episode 18: Reach Studio Art Center–passing The Torch

Arts Roll Call Episode 18: REACH Studio Art Center–Passing the Torch

Welcome to Episode 18 of Arts Roll Call–a podcast for the arts curious. In this episode, host Robin Miner-Swartz talks with REACH Studio Art Center’s founder and executive director, Alice Brinkman, along with incoming executive director, Melissa Keeley. Together they paint a picture of REACH’s past and share a vision for what’s ahead as Alice prepares to pass the leadership torch after more than 20 years at the helm of the organization.

Meet Alice

Alice J. Brinkman, she/her Founder, Executive Director

Alice Brinkman grew up in East Lansing and attended college out of state where she received her Master’s in clothing and textiles from the University of Illinois. In 1986, along with her husband Gary, she returned to Lansing, where they raised two sons.

She has been a practicing fiber artist and teaching artist for over 40 years. In 2003, after many years of dreaming of opening a neighborhood art space, Alice founded REACH Studio Art Center in REO Town. REACH provided room for art-making with area youth, while also giving her the space she needed to create her 20-foot commissioned textile hangings. In 2013, she led the seven-year, 1.3-million-dollar redevelopment of the REACH facility, transforming the center from a one-classroom studio to a block of connected and redeveloped buildings, housing seven studio classrooms.

Since 2019, Alice has served on the City of Lansing Arts and Culture Commission. She believes that making art and exercising our imaginations broadens our capacity for being better humans and that everyone should have access to the benefits of self-expression through art.

Meet Melissa

Melissa Keeley, she/her Incoming Executive Director

Originally from New Jersey, Melissa attended Calvin University and Ohio State University. She holds a Master’s in cultural policy and arts administration. For the last eight years, she has served as the director of development at Lansing Christian School, where she oversaw the school’s fundraising efforts and helped to support their communication and marketing initiatives.

Melissa is also a professional photographer who has exhibited her work in the Midwest and founded and operated Telltale Photography. Previous to her time in Michigan, Melissa also worked in development at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

As a 14-year resident of Lansing and a visual artist, she is passionate about reducing barriers for people in our community to make, exhibit and experience art, and she is excited and humbled to be joining the REACH staff as the new executive director.‍

Have a watch!

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