Hope Central Helping children discover a love for the arts


It’s obvious from her radiant joy and positivity that AnnaMaria Horn is a born performer, from the way she fills a room with theatrical energy to how she practically sings as she speaks. The mother of six and her husband, Daren Horn, have spent the past four years spreading their passion for the arts with students in the Lansing School District (LSD).

Horn and her husband each have a background in performing. Daren, originally from Detroit, was part of a touring band playing mostly Motown funk music for many years. Horn had a career in musical theatre and has a lifelong passion for singing. She is also a natural caretaker with a knack for teaching.

“I’ve always worked with children, and I always knew that I would … I was always the church babysitter and then went on to work at summer camps, and they always put the troubled kids in my class, because they would end up the best campers,” Horn said.

When the LSD was forced to cut the arts from their curriculum for underfunded schools in the fall of 2012, the Horn family got to work and opened Hope Central, which became an official nonprofit in March 2013.

“There are offsite activities for children available. You can go to a dance school or to a music school. But what is unique about us is that we are housed on campus at Lewton School,” Horn said. “This year will be our first year working with grades K-6. We offer seven classes: dance, acting, voice, drums, violin, video production and audio production; all classes are free.”

Hope Central works to bring the arts to children living in the urban core, referring to schools in an urban area where most families live at or below the poverty level. Horn has utilized her background in the arts and child care to make a lasting footprint in children’s lives.

“I knew where I was going and I knew what I wanted, and that was to help children discover a love of music, technology or dance,” Horn said. “I want them to discover the feel of their feet on the dance floor as their hands are moving and it feels like they’re moving time and space as they’re dancing. It’s those types of connected moments that give purpose to a child’s life.”

Hope Central is devoted to improving the next generation and giving all children an equal opportunity to flourish. For more information, find them on Facebook.


Ellen Dowling

Ellen Dowling is a student at Lansing Community College. She plans to transfer to a university where she intends on studying journalism. She loves photography, poetry, art and exploring the city she loves with her dog by her side.

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