artist painting on a canvas
New arts, crafts center in Pinckney spreads creativity across generations

August 4, 2021


Read the full Livingston Daily article here.

Vivian Combs already is a talented painter at 15. She recently added “art teacher” to her resume.

Combs is teaching kids art classes at Art Learning Center and Gallery, a new fine art gallery, arts and crafts studio and education space at 125 Pearl St. in Pinckney.

The art center offers classes and one-on-one art instruction for adults and children.

It features a gallery space for art exhibitions and an art studio in back. There is a crafting space in an attached building next door.

On Monday, Combs was set up at a canvas and easel working her first portrait. The painting, inspired by LGBTQ+ activist Marsha P. Johnson, features artificial flowers and a string of beads.

“For kids, we do anything that is in their age bracket. We don’t want to push the little kids too hard,” Combs said. “We try to find projects that are good for everyone.”


people standing in front of an art exhibit


Co-owner Cindy Mitchell said she wants to bring up the next generation of art teachers and provide a space for artists to show and sell their artworks.

Mitchell is a painter who previously taught at Light of the World Academy, which has been located across from the art center for more than 15 years and continues to provide art education for the charter school. She also gives one-on-one lessons.


person sitting on chair in art learning center


She said teaching out of her new art center is different from teaching in a school setting.

“The kids who come here all have a real passion for it,” Mitchell said. “They aren’t forced to be here.”

She said three of her five art teachers are teenagers who are her students.

“My idea is to bring up young people so they can take this over one day.”


young girl doing a craft with a teacher


Morgan Doersch, 18, is spending some of her summer break teaching at the art center before heading to college. Mitchell was her art teacher growing up.

“She’s definitely influenced me. She was the one who showed me all the mediums, oil painting, watercolors, pastels,” Doersch said.

She said she learned more than how to make art.

“I’ve definitely learned a lot of patience, and also with the teaching aspect, I’ve learned people skills and how to work with people,” Doersch said.

Having the new art center is also presenting opportunities for professional adult artists.


artist standing by art exhibit


Sarah Grusin of the Brighton Art Guild is exhibiting a painting created by her mother, retired painter Jane Coates, 90, through late September.

“It was serendipity. All summer, I worked on a catalog of her art,” Grusin said.

She said Mitchell kept telling her she wanted to come over the check out Coates’ artworks in person.

Grusin said she wanted to do the exhibit to celebrate her mother’s award-winning art career and sell some of her work.

“I’d love for these works to find good homes,” Grusin said. “There are only so many I can keep or pass down.”

The art center will hold a reception for the Jane Coates exhibit from 4- 7 p.m. Saturday. The proceeds will benefit polio research through Brighton Rotary Service Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association and the art center.

Next up, photographers are invited to contact the gallery about submitting photographs for an upcoming exhibition.



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