Red Lotus Gallery is in good hands

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– PHOTOS BY CYNTHIA PRICE

Red Lotus Center for the Arts has a new owner who sees great potential in the space, located in the basement of the Century Shops at 356 W. Western.

“I am very excited about the purchase of the gallery - downtown Muskegon is coming back and I’m excited to be part of the growth,” says Renae Hesselink, who was already rather busy managing the Kitchen 242 food business incubator and being the Vice President of Sustainability for Nichols (Paper and Supply).

Hesselink took over when current owner Heidi Stukkie decided to relocate, but Stukkie says she is not leaving until mid-December, so there is plenty of time for the two to transfer institutional memory.

Hesselink ­– herself a photographer – says she currently has no plans to make big changes, but based on her research, she will likely change some of the gallery’s emphasis.

“Right now I'm receiving a lot of feedback from our [artist] members and others in the community.  On the days that I have worked the gallery I am amazed at the number of people who... have just moved to Muskegon or have moved in the past year, and they are looking for ways to connect. Several of them have been artists.  So I'm absorbing a lot,” she says, “and one thing I can immediately work on is to do more things that attract younger artists.”

She plans to continue the gallery’s successful Open Mic Nights for poets and writers, and add an “open studio night” for artists as well as offer additional classes. There will also be a featured high school artist every month.

Member artist volunteers will continue to staff the gallery.

Red Lotus is open Tues.-Fri. 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (though often open later), and closed Sundays and Mondays. Visit their Facebook page for any updates or additions to open hours.

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