The Cultivate team is composed of 40+ professional artists, established curators, certified and trained teachers, and

industry experts.

We are passionate.  Dedicated.  Community serving. 

Walking In Gallery


We cultivate. We cultivate an inclusive, holistic approach to community.  We cultivate a sense of belonging.  We cultivate learning and inspiration.  We cultivate success and celebrate mistake making.  In short, we cultivate an environment of respect that is loving and welcoming all people.  

We believe that all people are creative.  Our model is slow, intentional, gentle learning.  

We intentionally create a culture of care.  When people come to our space, they are welcome to explore, make a cup of coffee or tea. Art classes are structured to allow students of different ages and abilities to interact in a safe and productive manner. The environment and community is both inspiring and challenging.  


Our model is designed to educate and develop fluency with art tools and language, practice with critique and conversation, and uplift and support in a safe space for experimenting and creativity.  


Art is expression.  

Art is a tool. Learning the proper use and function of materials, processes and techniques for developing personal art.

Art is mistake-making.  Encouraging students to reach beyond their perceived limitations and embrace the opportunity to learn from mistakes and accidents.

Art is seeing.  Learning to attend to visual context more closely than ordinary “looking” requires - learning to notice things that otherwise might not be noticed, and learning to see, think, wonder.

Art is a creative approach to pushing oneself.  Learning to develop focus and other ways of thinking helpful to working and persevering at art tasks. (We often talk about this with sports, but art is a great way to do this as well.) 

Art is community, as you get to know yourself and others. A sense of belonging in an intentional culture of care. 

Art is accessible. With a robust scholarship program, programs in our brick and mortar space and significant community outreach all over Grand Rapids, we create opportunities and hold space for all. 

Painting Class

Cultivate Core Team 

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Mallory Shotwell

Director and Founder

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Claudia Pimentel

Director of Education

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Brian Criner

Director of Operations

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Kae Pershon

Director of Exhibitions


Ryker Huizinga

Volunteer Coordinator

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Hailey Ciesluk

Digital Media Coordinator

Cultivate Curatorial Board 

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Dulcee Boehm



Maureen Nollette



Bettina Cousineau



Stephen Smith


Tamara Fox

Tamara Fox


Cultivate Teaching Staff  

Lisa DuBois


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Alec Zemper


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Kat VanderWeele


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Gail Long



Shannon Mack


Cultivate Interns 

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Dani F Hughes

Fall 2022 Intern

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Matthew Bliss

Fall 2022 Intern

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Will Gee

Fall 2022 Intern

Cultivate Advisory Board 

We are grateful to have our Cultivate Advisory Board.  From Los Angeles to New York City, we have a team of art consultants, gallery owners, curators, art dealers, art professors, and art journalists that guide and support this work and mission.