Tracy Reese, founder of Detroit-based sustainable brand Hope For Flowers and world-renowned stylist for former First Lady Michelle Obama, introduces a new program for young people called the Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment Program.
The free program will launch this fall at The Hope For Flowers Studios located at 7375 Woodward Ave. in Detroit.
âThe reason I want to offer free art classes on Saturdays is that I enjoyed the regular Saturday classes when I grew up in Detroit,â says Reese. “It made a huge difference in my understanding and enjoyment of arts and culture and opened the door for me to a creative career.”
Starting this fall, the studio will offer children and adults of Detroit free classes and workshops on weekends and evenings. Although focused on the enrichment of art, the program is written to foster local and creative talent while strengthening life skills and reviving the sustainable living practices that are historically and intrinsically part of black culture.
âI started the Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment program because I wanted to create more opportunities for young people in Detroit to experience art and culture without having to pay for specialized classes,â says Reese. âGrowing up in Detroit, I had incredible exposure to Detroit’s rich cultural community. I want to be a part of creating these same types of opportunities for the young people of Detroit today.
She adds that the program will allow the children of Detroit to expand their life and career possibilities in the arts beyond what they currently imagine.
âWe want to help them ‘color their world’. I believe that experiencing the arts enhances our view of the world and our place in it and gives us the opportunity to create rich and vibrant lives.
Reese says she started Hope For Flowers because she wanted to have a “responsible design brand that walks lightly on this earth.”
âIt’s my mission to have a brand and a company that respects people and the planet. ”
She says it was also her dream to produce clothes in Detroit, her hometown. A graduate of Cass Technical High School, Reese moved to New York and studied at Parsons School of Design. She worked in several major design houses before launching her own brand.
âThe lion’s share of our collection is produced overseas, but we’ll start producing products right here in Detroit,â Reese said in a video interview. Reese notes that she hopes to build relationships and collaborations with local Detroit artisans to increase their visibility.
In 2011 and 2012, Reese hit the mainstream when then-first lady Michelle Obama wore several dresses she designed while visiting Hawaii. Obama has also worn Reese’s designs on several other occasions, including his much celebrated speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Reese has also designed dresses worn by Taylor Swift and Sarah Jessica Parker, and his brand appears in Anthropologie stores. and Saks Fifth Avenue.
In the new art program, Reese says she will offer free classes to students at Detroit Public School to encourage creativity and sustainability awareness. In addition, community engagement workshops will be open to all ages.
âBuilding sustainability in communities of color starts with changing the narrative that sustainability is an elite concept,â she says on her website. âWe plan to incorporate lessons and examples of sustainability into all of the courses and workshops offered. Hope for Flowers artisans will be involved in teaching classes to illustrate how neighborhood artists can both work and give back to the communities where they live.
Classes will be free for participants and will take place every Saturday at the Hope for Flowers design studio. For more information or to register for the Hope for Flowers Art Enrichment Program, visit website.