Reb Roberts, whose signature often reads "REB", is a local Grand Rapids artist and gallery owner who has made great strides in promoting local art in the Eastown District of Grand Rapids. He and his wife Carmel Loftis opened an art gallery in 1999, The Sanctuary Folk Art Gallery, which works closely with the Heartside Ministries art program nurturing creativity and artistic expression of low-income and homeless people. On his work he says, "Art can be a part of a sustainable urban environment... With some true collaboration, neighborhoods and artists can work to incorporate original ideas into an art filled city. What an opportunity Eastown has presented to all of Grand Rapids...art is the next truly urban frontier."
Carmella Loftis and her husband, Reb Roberts, opened an art gallery in 1999 called The Sanctuary Folk Art Gallery, which works closely with the Heartside Ministries art program nurturing creativity and artistic expression of low-income and homeless people. They have both done extensive work in promoting the arts in the East Grand Rapids district.
Born and raised in New Orleans ,La. ; Reb arrived in West Michigan in 1972 enrolling as a student at Willam James College.
In the mid 1990’s following 20 years of working as a specialist in child development programs Reb began creating and scattering his style of urban folk paintings throughout Grand Rapids’ neighborhoods.
Reb’s art would show up on boarded up storefronts , in vacant lots and at construction zones. Simultaneously his artworks were also being hung and displayed on the interior walls in public and private buildings.
In 1999 Reb opened Sanctuary Folk Art , a gallery in the Heartside neighborhood of Grand Rapids.The gallery specialized in showing and selling the artworks of regional contemporary Folk and Outsider artists. Over the years Reb collaborated with the majority of these artists to create artworks for use in public and private art installations.
Reb and Carmella Loftis , his wife and fellow artist utilized Sanctuary Folk Art as a home base to launch many dozens of public art initiatives that included project based partnerships in every neighborhood of Grand Rapids with no exclusions.
In 2018 Reb closed Sanctuary Folk Art to return again to scattering art and collaborating with community artists in a continued movement to accentuate public art in the neighborhoods