A2AC History

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Historical Timeline of the A2AC



As of February 2022, A2AC proudly owned both buildings mortgage-free! On May 18th, the A2AC celebrated the Grand Opening of their fully connected and renovated buildings with the A2AC Gala (formally known as Vine & Dine). A2AC now has four new art education studios, a second ceramics studio, two new art exhibition spaces, and a new HVAC system for everyone to enjoy. All the spaces are fully accessible, providing reasonable accommodations to make your time with us more comfortable. For an overview of the changes done in the space, please visit DFDG’s A2AC Expansion and Renovation article found HERE.

In July of 2022, the A2AC’s President and CEO, Marie Klopf, left the organization. After a thorough search, Jenn Cornell Queen was named as a replacement the following December.


In spring, A2AC began construction to renovate and connect our two downtown buildings. We expanded the number of classroom/flexible spaces, adding a second ceramics studio and another gallery space. Finally, making visual art more accessible to passersby with a street-facing exhibition gallery.


In March, the COVID-19 pandemic began and forced the US and many other countries to lock down. In April, the A2AC launched ArtBox: Outreach. This program started to provide youth no longer in school with art supplies, but it has since evolved and expanded. It now provides art supplies to all vulnerable populations – from childhood involved in the juvenile justice system to adults and their caregivers participating in memory care programs. A2AC also started a free art resource website, complete with art challenges and projects that people can complete with items found around one’s house, and launched a full online shop, the A2AC Shop. In July, A2AC raised $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to continue the growth of Art in Public and A2AC Murals. These funds paid the artists a living wage and covered other mural expenses like equipment rentals, paint, permits, etc.


The Ann Arbor Art Center provides services to the Metropolitan Statistical Area of Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, with a population of 370,963 people, as well as to the surrounding counties of Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, and Wayne: and serves over 85,000 patrons.


The Ann Arbor Art Center serves a diverse and highly educated community that was ranked the nation’s most educated city. Ann Arbor has the highest percentage of bachelor’s degree-holding residents for a population of more than 50,000.


The City of Ann Arbor contracted A2AC to curate art exhibitions in City Hall chambers.


A2AC completed the third-floor renovation with an upgraded and modernized Jewelry and Metalsmithing Studio launch.


POP-X, an outdoor exhibition of contemporary art, launched a reignited the Art Center’s exhibitions and engagement programs. The third-floor renovation was completed leading to a doubling of facility rentals.


We launched the Roseann Hebeler Brown ARTLab (digital arts studio) and filled it to 110% capacity. The Ann Arbor Art Center installed the Aquarium Gallery with a grant from the Ann Arbor chapter of the Awesome Foundation.


The Art Center hired Marie Klopf as its second President and CEO.


The Ann Arbor Art Center celebrates its 100th Anniversary!


We launched the www.annarborartcenter.org website. The Board of Directors established Marsha Chamberlin President’s Fund to honor her 20 years of organizational leadership.


Lester John Challenge raised $217,000 to beautify and develop the exterior grounds of the Art Factory.


Endowment Fund established raised $95,000 in the first year.


The Ar Center launched ArtMakers Teens. We purchased The Art Factory on Felch Street to expand the ceramics, tile-making, sculpture, jewelry, and fiber studios. Finally, funds provided by Chrysler enabled the Art Center to renovate a section of the Liberty Street building to house the Feat of Clay Studio.


The Ann Arbor Art Association was renamed the Ann Arbor Art Center.


The Ann Arbor Art Association received the prestigious Governor’s Arts Award for exceptional leadership as a Michigan arts organization.


The first annual Sommelier Dinner was held.


The Art Association was a runner-up for Crain’s Detroit Business Best-Managed Non-Profit Organization. We expanded programs with ArtVentures Studio. Finally, we launched Art n’ Facts in the Ann Arbor Public Schools.


Completed restoration on the facade of 117 West Liberty. We offered Art Consulting Services to local and regional businesses.


The Art Association began improvements to programs with support from several sources. We received the Michigan Equity Grants for capital improvements. 50% increase in Michigan Council for the Arts funding.


The Art Association started community outreach programs for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, the developmentally disabled, senior citizens, and schools that do not have art instruction. We initiated a Corporate Membership Program with 150 business participants who underwrote shows.


Recipient of the Annie Award from the Washtenaw Council for the Arts as an outstanding arts organization.


The Art Association celebrated its 75th year of service to the city and region. ArtMakers was launched.


The first annual WineFest was held.


The Print Exhibition was established.


The first annual Potential! Exhibition was held. This yearly exhibition recognizes the work of outstanding artists of high school age and salutes their teachers who help train them.


In March of 1975, the Walker Carriage Works building was purchased and renovated—the first time in the Art Association’s history that it possessed its own space.


The Ann Arbor Art Association donated its entire permanent art collection to the University of Michigan Museum of Art to complete its role as a non-profit organization with tax-exempt status. The collection was valued at $500,000. The Art Association rented 2275 Platt Road as a temporary gallery and studio space until they purchased 117 West Liberty.


The 50th Anniversary of the Ann Arbor Art Association was celebrated. Emil Lorch and Jean-Paul Slusser co-author a book on the history of the Art Association titled, A Survey of Fifty Years: The Ann Arbor Art Association, 1909-1950.

The Art Association, local retail merchants, the South University Organization, the Chamber of Commerce, and the University of Michigan organized the first Ann Arbor Art Fair.


The Art Association loaned the University of Michigan Museum of Art 24 works from their permanent collection for storage purposes, including five oils, six watercolors, twelve prints, and a sculpture, totaling $3,356.


The University of Michigan Museum of Art has been inaugurated thanks to the intensive work of the Ann Arbor Art Association members. This effort led the Art Association to direct its primary efforts toward promoting local and regional artists.


Ann Arbor Art Association resumed membership dues, and we brought 63 new members into the organization.


As a result of the war, the Art Association would collect no dues, and only the All-Media Exhibition would be held for the time being. For the first time, prizes were awarded at the exhibition, consisting of blocks of War Savings stamps.


Membership numbers and funds were at an all-time low. In addition, The University required all of the space within the Alumni Memorial Hall. As a result, the Art Association was left solely with Rackham galleries for its future exhibition space.


The Horace H. Rackham Building was built and served as more gallery space for the University of Michigan and the Art Association. The following year the Michigan School of Art was established.


The Michigan Daily established an Art Column in response to the community’s increasing interest in art. The column reported on new local exhibits and provided information on specific works of art, along with opinions and discussion questions.


The Ann Arbor Art Association established an Art Lending Service. This service allowed individuals to rent original pictures by local artists for their homes, offices, or institutions for two-month periods at an inexpensive fee.


The 1st Annual All Media Exhibition was held.


Alumni Memorial Hall was built (now the University of Michigan Museum of Art). The space also functioned as a location for the Art Association to operate.


The Ann Arbor Art Association was founded. Nearly thirty years before the University of Michigan undertook its own program of art, a group of Ann Arbor art enthusiasts and Architecture students had their first general meeting on January 22, 1909, to create a volunteer arts org called the Ann Arbor Art Association (which later became the A2AC). The goal was to make Ann Arbor and its students art conscious through exhibitions and lectures, for which the Art Association provided many until the University created its own Museum of Art in 1946. The first exhibition from the Ann Arbor Art Association took place at the Ann Arbor High School Auditorium from May 12th-22nd. Drawings, paintings, Japanese prints, photographs, educational art, and pottery/textiles were included. Pieces were loaned from various collections in the United States and Detroit’s Pewabic Pottery. By the end of its first year, Art Association membership grew to 600 from just 300 when this exhibition took place.