About the apprenticeship program
ACT’s apprenticeship program is designed to provide high caliber, intensive art apprenticeships to eight young artists with disabilities from the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Transition Campus. Artists are gaining experience under the direction of professional teaching artist Becky Baker.
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“Art to me means fun – it’s exactly how you feel.”
On a Thursday morning in January, the ACT apprentices were installing their artwork at Cerasus Studio for their upcoming art show. We caught Alison Ching that morning and got the chance to talk to her about the program and her art process. Alison is one of the eight artists from the apprenticeship program, launched in October, designed to provide high caliber, intensive art apprenticeships to eight young artists with disabilities from the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ Transition Campus.
Alison Ching has said that she finds inspiration in the world around her, especially animals and nature. Alison moved to Wyoming, Michigan when she was four years old. She has gained most of her art experience through education. She primarily enjoys drawing, using paint and chalk to create art based on what she sees. She gets inspired during her daily life and applies this to her work with curly shapes and colorful pieces that bring movement to her artwork.
“I want people to feel happy,” Alison said about people seeing her art. “I want them to see me as happy.”
Over the first half of the apprenticeship program, Alison has created several pieces using acrylic and chalk, building in her own unique style with each piece. So far, Alison’s favorite piece she has made is called “Light Side, Dark Side” – an acrylic painting that has rows of swirly inverted colors. The piece evokes a whimsical and free feeling along with light and dark colors. With her work, Alison likes to show that there is always a light side and a dark side to every situation and the world in general.
Despite the wonderful work she’s been putting together, Alison wants to continue pushing herself throughout the rest of the program, becoming more confident in her abilities as a versatile artist. She’s driven by her curiosity and desire to constantly do more.
“I want to try clay sometime,” Alison shared. “I don’t know how, but I’m curious.”
Through the apprenticeship program, the artists are able to work and train under a teacher who has experience as a professional artist. They will gain experience in arts administration, professional development, and artistic training. Through gaining this experience, the artists learn crucial skills for their careers in art, such as writing an artists' statement, marketing work on social media, and displaying work, as well as honing their natural artistic ability.
The ACT Apprentices will be holding several art shows this spring. Join us to see Alison's artwork on display, as well as the seven other apprentices, on the following dates:
April 21st – Reception at The Factory
April 27th – Reception at Lines and Rabbits
To support Alison and her artwork, visit artistscreatingtogether.org/shop.
This article is part 2 of 8 in ACT’s series highlighting each individual apprentice throughout the coming weeks. Follow ACT on Facebook to stay tuned to learn more about the other apprentices.
Artists Creating Together empowers individuals with disabilities to learn, grow, and celebrate through the arts. ACT provides art and creative expression programming that enriches the lives of people with and without disabilities in every corner of West Michigan.