For gallery owner Annie Anglim, art is much more than simple expression. It is about inclusion, pushing boundaries and affecting a positive change in the world. “That’s why I named the gallery ‘Cause & Affect,’” explains Anglim. “Here, we are supporting various causes and we want to affect the Greater Flint community by giving a portion of our proceeds to non-profits. It’s art with a purpose.”
Located in Fenton, Cause & Affect Gallery showcases and sells art from artists all over the world and offers classes in a variety of mediums, taught by masters of the craft. Everyone is welcome to appreciate the art and to learn. Inclusion is an important part of the gallery and, understandably, the initial reason it exists.
Anglim is an accomplished silversmith with pieces in major malls and galleries around Michigan. Some time ago, a friend, Brenda, approached her and inquired about learning the trade. Anglim regrettably had to turn her down. Brenda has multiple sclerosis (MS) and is bound to a motorized wheelchair and at the time, Anglim could not accommodate her needs. “My studio was in my basement and I couldn’t teach her there,” recalls Anglim. “That weighed heavily on me – to think that I couldn’t do something for a friend or anybody else. It was then that I started looking for new studio space.”
Anglim soon found her space and, with Brenda’s help, began to design the workspace and the gallery in a way that catered to persons with special needs. “Our studio has adaptable workstations for people in chairs and hand-operated equipment,” informs Anglim. “I’m trying to be as inclusive as possible. I want everyone to be able to come in and create art. That’s my goal.”
From there, Anglim demanded more of the gallery. She envisioned it as a place that reflected her ideals and penchant for community engagement and positive change. The Cause & Affect Gallery speaks to the local community, raises awareness of important social issues and lends a hand. “Giving back has been a part of my business plan all along. A portion of all gallery sales is donated to a Greater Flint non-profit and the recipient changes every quarter,” she says. “In our first quarter, we donated to Fenton Arts Council, then Adopt-A-Pet Fenton. Our current non-profit is Voices for Children.” But why stop there? Through its relationship with the “Buy the Change” organization, the gallery is also helping others on a global scale. “Buy the Change” was founded to make a difference for women living in poverty in areas of the world without opportunity and where exploitation is common. When someone makes a purchase from the organization, those funds are used to make additional purchases from women artisans in impoverished countries – like Cambodia, a nation dear to Anglim. “I have adopted children from Cambodia and always wanted to do something for the country. My partner and I worked with No Child Left Out, worked with orphanages and have rescued children from dumps there,” she says. “We have helped women get out of human trafficking and have built wells there. Cambodia gave me my children, so I want to give back.” When gallery patrons browse the beautiful works of art in the gallery, they are also browsing hope.
“I’m trying to be as inclusive as possible. I want everyone to be able to come in and create art.”
Annie Anglim, Gallery Owner
In addition to charitable giving, Cause & Affect Gallery also works with the Fenton Community Schools art and theatre students. Art can be a lucrative career and Anglim is helping students understand the business side. This year, she will have high school senior, Clair Grob, as an intern and for the gallery’s grand opening, three other Fenton High seniors conducted an exhibition on school shootings and it made a resounding impact. “It was not at all what the community expected,” states Anglim. “There was an outline of a dead body on the floor. They used rose petals to simulate blood and they were raining from the ceiling. On a table was a small vase filled with spent bullet shells, each bearing the name of someone killed in a school shooting. It was powerful.” With that exhibit, the gallery told Fenton and Greater Flint that it is more than an art store. “I want to address topics here that make people stop and think about what is ailing our society,” says Anglim. “That’s how we change the world.”
Since opening, Anglim has seen wonderful works of art pass through and students of all ages and accommodations have come in to make amazing creations. One young gentleman from Fenton named Max came to her from a school that had no art classes. He wanted to learn to draw and his first attempt (a picture of parrots) was very impressive. So impressive that it is now part of the gallery and in perfect Cause & Affect fashion, the artist wants to share a portion of the sale with a national bird rescue. Anglim speaks highly of another young student named Gabe who has a unique gift with metalworking. In just his third try at the craft, he created a Samurai warrior statue to Anglim’s absolute delight.
For Anglim, working for others in the local and global communities is what it’s all about. “I’m not here to be a millionaire,” she says. “This gallery is a place of community. I want it to be a safe place for people to express who they are. I want them to come here and enjoy. I want the gallery to affect our community and world in a positive way.”
Those interested in taking classes at the Cause & Affect gallery are encouraged to visit their Facebook page or call 810.354.8214.
Photography by Kayce McClure