Thursday, December 18, 2014

Families who play together, stay together at Family Center of Arts

by Zinta Aistars
Published in Southwest Michigan's Second Wave Media
December 18, 2014

Petite, her dark hair in braids and tucked beneath a navy woolen hat, Rebecca Achenbach doesn’t look so very different from the children who scamper through the door of Family Center for the Arts at 6136 S. Westnedge at the back of Southland Mall in Portage. She’s the owner, and she bounds around the spacious center, walls painted sunshine yellow, with unstoppable energy.
Rebecca Achenbach at FCA

"You know, I think busy parents have forgotten how to play with their kids," she says. "I want them to learn how. A parent will tell me, my child wants to learn about music, but I don’t have a musical bone in my body. Oh, but they do!"

Achenbach beats a rhythm with her palm on the table. "Timing, rhythm, we can all do this. I empower parents to play with their children."

Music isn’t the only art form Achenbach brings to Family Center for the Arts (FCA). Along with dance, drama and art are also available for ages birth to adult, or, as Achenbach says, "as long as you can dance."

Achenbach has been working with "children of all ages" for more than 25 years. Prior to opening FCA in September 2014, she was child care executive director for the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo for 10 years. She oversaw the Y Art Center, in the same location, until she took over the lease and the operation, making it her own. 

"I grew up on a farm in Fulton," she says. "It was a commune-like environment, and it made me passionate about community. We worked with ...


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