New event to celebrate Ypsi's arts and culture ecosystem

Riverside Arts Center (RAC), 76 N. Huron St. in Ypsilanti, will host its first ever Fly Trap event, a combination of a fundraiser and celebration of Ypsi's growing arts and culture ecosystem, from 5-9 p.m. Saturday, May 5.


"While for many years we have had a successful fall event, a donor auction and dinner, we needed a handshake with the community," says Ariel Moore, outreach manager for RAC. "The idea was to have an event that was free and embraced all community members, sort of a bookend to the traditional fall event many organizations have."


The event is open to all ages and is free, though donations of $10 are encouraged to support RAC's youth art programs. Moore says the event will feature "something for everybody," and will include hands-on events for children and adults, as well as live music, free food from Go! Ice Cream and Panaderia La Bendicion Bakery, and a cash bar courtesy of Cultivate.


Kids will have a chance to make shadow puppets, and all ages are invited to make slime. Models will be provided for live figure drawing, courtesy of Love at First Try, and temporary tattoos will be available courtesy of Ypsilanti tattoo studio Brite Idea. Moore says that's part of an outreach effort with local businesses to let them know that RAC can provide a venue to enhance their business as well.


The FLY Trap event will celebrate the many partnerships and collaborations that RAC is facilitating, especially over the last year.


"Riverside has reignited its strategic plan with a focus on community-building and building an arts ecosystem," Moore says.


In 2017, RAC merged with the 10-year-old nonprofit FLY Children's Art Center, which is now an initiative of RAC under the name FLY Creativity Lab. Also in 2017, RAC received a grant from Sappi Paper Co. to rebrand and has changed its logo, color palette, and signage.


Additionally, RAC has been pursuing collaborations with Grove Studios, Eastern Michigan University's Bright Futures program, and the Parkridge Summer Festival. More recently, Riverside received funding from the Buhr Foundation to give scholarships to children who would like to attend summer art camps but don't have the means to do so.


"Our new brand reflects this work we're doing to be at the center of a lot of other people's work, using our space," Moore says. "Others have great ideas, too, and we want to be that base where people can make their creative ideas come true."


For more information about the event, visit or RAC's Facebook page.


Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in southeast Michigan. You may reach her at


Photos courtesy of Riverside Arts Center.

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