65 years of art
It began 65 years ago, when a group of women painters were evicted from a house in Birmingham located in the old Jacobson’s parking lot, and were looking for a place to use as studio space. They spotted an abandoned building on Cranbrook Road that was a former Water Works plant from the Roosevelt Works era, and these amazing women persuaded the city of Birmingham to help them create an art association with studio space that would also be open to the public to showcase art. Originally called the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Association, today, the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center – also known as the BBAC – is a powerhouse regional art center that has grown to over 25,000 square feet after numerous additions. President/CEO Annie VanGelderen said they now have multiple studios with arts education for all ages, youth to adults, with specialized Alzheimer classes, and offer more than 500 classes a year, as well as having five galleries with exhibitions open and free to the public that change every four to six weeks. Some artists are local or classroom artists, others are regional or national in scope. VanGelderen noted that “Art is subjective. Here, there is no wrong answer. Our vision is that we live art every day.” VanGelderen herself started as a student at the BBAC, then progressed to a printmaking instructor, and has been president for the last 11 years, where she said they truly are a family. “We’re celebrating our 65 years here,” she said. “It was the brilliance of these women, and the city of Birmingham, who appreciated the importance of arts and culture, and continue to do so.”
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