The VFAA's SHAC will serve as a community arts center where artists of all ages and skill levels can practice, share, teach, showcase and inspire others through their craft. Although specifically designed to cater to the needs of area youths and people with special needs, the SHAC will also offer studio and practice space for both beginning and established artists of all ages.
The VFAA has been around since 1992 as a 100% volunteer organization. The community has been our venue, with meetings and events held at various locations around town: free lectures at the Milford Presbyterian Church, art shows at Milford Public Library and the Huron Valley Council for the Arts, gallery space at local businesses such as The Blue Grill and Caribou Coffee, and facilitating community projects at Huron Valley Hospital, the Healing Arts program at Henry Ford Hospital and The Learning Center.
In April 2012, the opportunity arose for dreaming bigger. We were offered funding in the name of Suzanne Haskew, one of our founding members. We were asked, "What is your vision for the future?"
The VFAA board of directors labored long and hard about what to do in her memory. Our conversations kept coming back again and again to having our own space, which has been the VFAA's dream since the beginning. We would call that space the VFAA Suzanne Haskew Art Center, a.k.a. The S.H.A.C., and we hope it becomes a special jewel not only in the Village of Milford, but to surrounding communities as well.
Click on the photo to see the interview with Andrea Perry as she describes her job as Director of Development for the VFAA. Thank you to HIghland Activity Center and Lakeland High School Video Production Students for the great opportunity.
An essential part of our vision was to provide a service that no other art organization in the area is already offering. Currently, there are galleries, artist co-ops and the Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA) supplying the usual art opportunities. Upon asking local artists, parents of creative children, and especially young adult artists (high school through college graduates) what they would like to see in the Milford area with regards to the arts, we kept hearing the same word over and over again: a PLACE to create art. A PLACE to congregate with fellow artists, to share each other's creative work, ideas and inspiration. A PLACE where kids can get the art education that the schools struggle to provide. A PLACE for my studio other than my basement, attic, closet, dining room table, etc.
And it will continue being a home for our already well-established programs (lectures, art shows, workshops,).
Research has revealed several models already in operation around the country that meet the above mentioned criteria, and the Village of Milford currently has no community space for creative, visual art endeavors. We believe that adding this element to the VFAA while collaborating with businesses and programs already offered in the area will provide the Milford Village with an important community asset. We believe the S.H.A.C will help nearby businesses with increased traffic while working as an "anchor" to help support the area in which we are located, all the while continuing to serve our current mission and do so in a unique, community-based way.
For over two decades, the VFAA has been a magnet to the Village of Milford. Even though the group was founded and is headquartered in Milford, most of our membership and event participants come from various neighboring communities. Milford benefits greatly when they do because they dine at the local restaurants and shop at the stores. Many were first introduced to our beautiful Milford public library by participating in our annual spring Poetry Art Night event. In conjunction with other activities, we set up our artwork to entice residents and visitors to the downtown area and enhance community events. We've already been doing this for years. It's time we did that better, too. A place of our own was the next step, and in the spring of 2014, the Suzanne Haskew Art Center (SHAC) was opened.