Our Programs

What We Do

The Art Experience is proud to offer an array of programs which empower our community to create.

Our Studio services five key needs within the community- bringing art back to our children’s schools, creating an open studio space for everyone to create, providing focused art therapy for at-risk individuals, providing an artist in residency space for passionate artists, and serving our broader community through custom-tailored group events.

Open Studio for Anyone to Create
Community Art Lab for Youth in Pontiac & the Metro Detroit Area
Art Therapy for Special Populations
Artist in Residency Program for Passionate Artists with Special Needs
Custom Group Art Classes for Parties, Families, Team Building & More


We provide students and participants with a forum to express their creativity in a supporting environment.


We seek out ways to empower all participants (especially those with special needs) by providing the tools for self expression and independent creation.


We seek to enrich the lives of children in the pontiac community by bringing the arts into their schools with our Community Art Lab.

Support Community Art Lab

Support our communities’ schools by bringing the arts to students who are missing out due to a challenging economy. Together, we can employ the arts as an engine of economic recovery.

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Open Studio

Our Open Studio is a community program focused on art education, developing fine art skills and technique, and enrichment for all.  Founded in 1996, our Open Studio has seen upwards of 1200 budding and professional artists exercise their creativity in our facility.  Participants are invited to explore during Open Studio time. All participants choose their own medium, choose basic fine arts materials, and go! Every Open Studio session is staffed by a skilled artist to help you achieve your artistic goals- it can be exhilarating to have such creative freedom!

Open Studio is offered to the general community and is inclusive of people with and without disabilities.

Community Art Lab

The team of staff, board, volunteers at TAE recognized an opportunity to support our communities’ schools by bringing the arts to the students who were missing out due to a challenging economy. We are a small part of the larger effort in Pontiac to employ the arts as an engine of economic recovery.

Our artists, our generous sponsors and donors, and scientific data conclude that arts programming helps develop skills necessary for creative and innovative thinking–something in demand now more than ever in our global economy.

We have experienced an overwhelming response from schools and are happy to hear from other agencies and organizations who serve youth to partner with us in our endeavor.

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Art Therapy

Our specialized programming is art therapy based. Creativity is used to work toward specific goals. Participants develop an appreciation for the value and enjoyment practicing the arts bring to their lives. Experienced art therapists work with adults and youth who are in recovery from mental illness and substance use, those who have developmental disabilities, those who have cognitive or physical impairment, and children who are at-risk due to socioeconomic circumstances. Participants become more self-aware, learn how to express emotions in a safe manner, build self-esteem and identity, along with learning skills to develop healthy social relationships and coping techniques. Art is empowering, and even more so for those society often overlooks.

We often custom create programming to address the specific needs of different service populations. For example, we developed successful mothers art groups and preschool programs with Grace Centers of Hope, youth programs with The Baldwin Center, and programs with the Kingsley Montgomery School, Leadership Oakland, Common Ground, and the Macomb Oakland Regional Center, among others.

Artist in Residency

Artist in Residence Program – Renard Small, our Artist in Residence, spends 20 hours/week in the studio producing original art. This position provides a source of interaction with others, something otherwise impeded by having autism and limited conversational capabilities. He sells and exhibits his art in the studio and the community thereby strengthening his identity around ability as an artist rather than a disability. He has been the Artist in Residence for 13 years.

Poet in Residence – James, our Poet in Residence, comes to the studio weekly and writes poetry and music. In 2011, he self published a book of his poetry with assistance from staff. He has been regularly attending the studio since 1997. His poetry provides a route of expression that is safe and helps him manage symptoms of mental illness.

Custom Group Art Classes

The Art Experience creates custom programming for groups upon request. Ranging from birthday parties to therapeutic group sessions, we can do it all! We’d love to talk to you about options and availability to suit your needs.

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