Ten years ago, Newaygo-based artist Regan Dykes discovered her purpose in downtown Grand Rapids. She had a revelation while creating an art installation for Art Prize - she was drawn toward putting a compassionate face on the publicly dismissible and invisible – the homeless. Regan created 52 beautiful watercolor portraits of people she met on the streets, capturing everyone’s personality which ranged from a stoic dignity to exuberance. This experience and her work at Heartside Ministries led her to commit to finding a way to help the underserved find positive experiences through art.
After raising her children and seeing them start families of their own, Regan is now making her vision come to life by taking bold steps. She is currently enrolled in an Associates Degree program in Applied Science at Muskegon Community College (MCC) with an emphasis on Visual Art Entrepreneurship. The MCC program provides students with a well-rounded education covering practical business concepts, art studio skills, art history, and hands on gallery/museum experience. Like a true entrepreneur, Regan created a business plan for her idea of providing a free open art studio space for the unhoused and underserved, and approached the Muskegon Rescue Mission. They were impressed by her idea and enthusiasm and hired her as one of their Community Resource Coordinators. Regan currently works part-time at the mission running the food pantry and handling certificates for clothing distribution. Starting on Tuesdays in mid-March her vision of an open studio will become a reality and in October the Muskegon Rescue Mission will be hiring her to run the art studio full-time. In the meantime, as part of her practicum for the Visual Art Entrepreneur program at MCC, Regan has committed to an internship at the ACWL-Nuveen. During her internship Regan has assisted in hanging Tatsuki Hakoyama’s paintings for his show HUMAN/NATURE, helped sort and organize studio supplies, assisted with artist receptions and learned about contracts and administrative tasks associated with running an arts nonprofit.
The ACWL-Nuveen has truly benefited from this new friendship with Regan and the partnership with the MCC Visual Art Entrepreneur program. We are impressed with Regan’s dedication and look forward to seeing her vision come to life. We also welcome future collaborations with other artist visionaries enrolled in the Visual Art Entrepreneur program!
Three examples from Regan Dyke's 52 Portraits