Three years ago, Annie Anglim set out to open a studio space that was accessible for people with varying needs. This mission came after a friend of hers, Brenda, asked Anglim to teach her silversmithing – the only catch was Anglim’s studio at the time was in her basement and her friend was in a mobility chair because of multiple sclerosis. So, Anglim found a solution, opening Cause & Affect Gallery in Fenton.
“One of best memories from the last few years is having my friend Brenda in the studio taking a class with me,” says Anglim. “She happens to be one of the artists we have in our gallery doing fused glass and leatherwork.”
Originally, Anglim set out to just open studio space that was inclusive to all, however, when she found her current location in Fenton, Michigan, the plans changed.
“I stumbled across the location by chance,” says Anglim. “I could see the potential and decided to also open a gallery showing art from Michigan artists – many in our local area.”
Since opening Cause & Affect Gallery, Anglim has aimed to be inclusive not only in her studio but in her gallery as well. She also makes sure the exhibitions she shows take on tough subject matters because according to her when art speaks on hard topics that is where it succeeds and bridges gaps.
For example, Anglim presented a show last year around violence against women – the most-attended exhibit they have had to date – that created a lot of conversation between individuals who attended the exhibition.
Currently, Anglim along with her two high school interns are planning two shows for this year, one on identity and another on repurposing. In the meantime, the art gallery and studio continue to be a thriving part of the community.
Why open in Flint & Genesee?
Because I reside in Fenton, number one. Number two, Fenton is a very ‘art forward’ community and I felt that the time was right to have this kind of gallery there.
How would you describe the area to an outsider?
From an art perspective, we are so fortunate in Flint and Genesee County that we have an arts millage that promotes the arts throughout the county. And to have a population that voted for that millage really tells you how important art is to the people who live here.
Your gallery focuses on inclusivity, why is that important to you?
We live in a diverse world, and I want that to be represented. One of the things in the art world that’s been coming out even more recently is how artists of color are not represented. Beyond that, I want to make sure everyone is represented – and that’s inclusive of LGBTQ folks as well.
Outside of business what do you do?
I spend time with my family. I also like to read and do some gardening. I don’t get many days off – my personal artwork is sold at Inspire Marketplace at Twelve Oaks Mall and Partridge Creek, and I help manage those places in addition to the gallery.
How is your family involved with the gallery?
They have been extremely supportive. I could not have done it without the support of my wife in particular. My kids love coming to the gallery when they’re around as they’re both currently away at college.
What is your business philosophy?
We are there to be part of the community. Everything we do is about fostering community, as well as being a welcoming safe space for everyone.
How is your business involved in the community?
I am the vice president of the Fenton Arts Council, I am part of the city’s Arts and Culture Commission, we do a donation to a community organization each quarter, and I am also involved with the Fenton and Linden Chamber of Commerce.
What advice would you offer other business owners starting out?
Make sure you have all your ducks in a row and that you have talked to the city before you get started. Also, be sure to know what your marketing strategy is going to be and get involved with your local Chamber.
For more information on Cause & Affect Gallery, visit CauseandAffectGallery.com.