Transforming our Community with ArtThe Greater Flint Arts Council


gfac-6Greg Fiedler loves art of any kind and was a performing artist for many years. For the last 23 years, he has put that love and passion for art into his position as CEO and President of the Greater Flint Arts Council. The purpose of GFAC, a non-profit organization, is “to be a catalyst of, and advocate for, increased artistic and cultural enrichment in our ethnically diverse community.”

According to Greg, the idea of bringing art to local communities began at the national level in the 1960s with President John F. Kennedy’s initiative to show the whole country the important role that art plays in our daily lives. “But, JFK was assassinated before anything could happen,” says Greg. Luckily, President Lyndon B. Johnson followed through with the initiative, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) came to fruition. The NEA is an independent federal agency that supports arts and works to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America.

gfac-8The GFAC was formed in 1967, and membership has grown to 600. “The whole idea is to improve the frequency and quality of cultural and arts programs,” Greg explains. “Our focus is to support the work of artists and help them build their careers and obtain public recognition.”

While many local artists support themselves in others ways, there are some in the area who can make their art a career. The GFAC works with all types of artists – visual, performing and literary arts – and helps them by providing a space to showcase their work, and opportunities for exhibitions, concerts, supporting theatre groups, and book signings, to name a few. The GFAC serves other agencies, such as Buckham Gallery, local theatre groups, and the Cultural Center.

The GFAC also supports art education for all ages by hosting an annual exhibition for the University of Michigan-Flint Art Department. “We have gotten professional artists from that program!” Greg exclaims. They also serve the annual Young Artists Today High School Exhibition at the Flint Public Library in corroboration with the Flint Institute of Arts, and an exhibition for young artists attending the Alpha Montessori School – a partnership they’ve had for 25 years. “They put together an incredible exhibition,” Greg reports.  “These are just a few examples of our programs for children, as well as an example of the level of creativity of the kids.”


Another service that GFAC provides is funding to the art community. “We grant funds to other organizations for art programs,” Greg says. The GFAC has been a Regional Regranting Agency for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) for Genesee, Lapeer and Shiawassee Counties.

Another area of focus for the GFAC is to make the public aware of the vast number of opportunities that are available to them. To accomplish this, they have good media relationships that help promote events. “We make it our business to be busy bodies about what’s going on in the arts and culture scene,” Greg says with a laugh. In 2004, the GFAC established a website,, where community members can post event information for free. Events from all around Genesee County are posted to the site and because it is connected to the national organization in Silicon Valley, viewers can see what is going on in other cities, as well. The website gets 1.4 million hits per year, and the GFAC has over 6,000 Facebook followers.

As the CEO and President of the GFAC, one of Greg’s duties is to oversee the work of his staff, two of which are full-time and four are part-time. He also supports many local festivals, thanks to a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The GFAC has built partnerships with more than a dozen Downtown locations to produce the Flint ArtWalk, which is held on the second Friday of every month and attracts more than 2,500 visitors to enjoy many disciplines: poetry, music, dance, theater and book signings. GFAC also produces the Flint Jazz Festival, Tunes at Noon, and the Flint Festival of Quilts.

According to Greg, Flint is very lucky to have an art community that is so strong and resilient. And, despite the hard work and sometimes crazy hours, he is very happy to work in the field he loves. “I always wanted to work in arts,” he says. “The GFAC Board gives me a lot of freedom to be creative.”  

While his days are filled with deadlines, seeing the difference that GFAC has made is the payoff. “It is satisfying to see how the opportunities we have provided have affected lives,” Greg shares. “We are an incubator. The most important aspect is that we are here to help people realize their vision.”  

Photography by Eric Dutro


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