A former Pine Bluff High School math teacher, Acker was inspired to create an artistic outlet after spending three years in the classroom as a math teacher with non-motivated students.

Ryan Acker won’t be returning to the classroom this school year as an educator. A former Pine Bluff High School math teacher, Acker was inspired to create an artistic outlet after spending three years in the classroom as a math teacher with non-motivated students.

“They didn’t believe in the value of their craft and what they could do with it,” said Acker who said her students did not have the drive to push themselves to do what they really loved. “They didn’t believe that people would want to see their art or be interested.”

Acker created Agape Arts, located at 1520 S. Poplar St in Pine Bluff, which is more than an art gallery.

Integrating all forms of art, Acker likes to think of it as creative studio, offering art, dance, fitness, craft parties and much more.

“Agape is a term for the highest form of love – charity,” said Acker who feels art gets pushed to the wayside. “It is unconditional, selfless and sacrificial.”

Though Acker knows she will be sacrificing taking this business move on full time, she said she wants to be an example to her own children.

This mother of four said she wanted her children to value what they believe in.

“Before I opened this space there was no space somewhere in a neighborhood like this,” said Acker. “I wanted to be an example for them and thought about what I would want them to appreciate in the community.”

Local artist’s paintings are showcased in the gallery for purchase with all proceeds going to the artist.

“People use the space for birthday parties, baby showers, meetings or any type of event or creative expression,” said Acker. “That is what this place is used for.”

Acker first year out the classroom will still be an asset to students as she will be offering tutoring services to those in need. All appointments for any of her services can be made online by visiting her website at www.agapeartistry.org.

“I love my neighborhood. It’s an appreciation here because of the talent and the drive here,” said Acker. “I had to see the beauty first before I was able to put something into fruition.”