Residents of the lakes area who love either creating or viewing fine works of art don’t have to travel to Detroit, Birmingham or across the state to see them. Instead, residents can stay right in their own backyard as there are galleries open to the public throughout the lakes area, including a new gallery set to open in Waterford Township, along with numerous exhibits and art shows set to take place this summer.
“I believe that we have a creative community and there are many different outlets for them (area residents) to participate in the arts. Many different avenues are open to them,” said Kristie Everett Zamora, coordinator of the Oakland County Office of Arts, Culture & Film.
She added that the office will soon be placing a call to artists for entries into the Oakland County Galleria at 1200 N. Telegraph in Pontiac, and in the Executive Office Gallery at 2100 Pontiac Lake Road in Waterford, and that exhibits could start in the fall with mostly two-dimensional art featured.
Nevertheless, there are other lakes area art organizations and galleries that are looking to satisfy the visual senses of lakes area residents.
‘Huge art community’ in
west Oakland County
The Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA) is located at the historic Highland Station House on 205 W. Livingston Road in Highland Township. The council was founded in 1999 and was given status as a not-for-profit, 501(C)(3) organization in 2000 before moving into the Highland House in 2003.
“Our core mission is supporting all the aspects of the arts in Michigan,” said Leah Ohmer, the HVCA’s executive director.
The council hosts 12 rotating exhibitions each year in the building’s gallery exhibition space. The building is also home to The Art Shop, which is described by Ohmer as a co-op of about 21 Michigan-based artists.
“They display their work there and they jury in other members,” she said.
Not only is art sold in the shop, but artists have a chance to network with one another there.
On Friday, July 8, the council will be hosting an exhibit from mixed-media sculptor Laura Wartel, followed by an exhibit of painter Pam O’Neil’s work on Aug. 7.
On Sept. 9, the gallery will host the Horses of Highland amateur photo contest, followed by an exhibit by photographer Lynn Markarian on Oct. 7.
Views & Visions Fine Arts will take place in the gallery on Nov. 4 in conjunction with the Milford Village Fine Arts Association, and the year will conclude with the Holiday Artist Market on Dec. 2.
“I was in a position where I used to run galleries and you have to look at the profitability of a show, but in our case, we really just get to look at the level of the work and really support artists in a whole different way than any other gallery can,” Ohmer said.
She added that the gallery usually draws about 70 to 150 people for an opening and that sales in the gallery are up, but that sales in The Art Shop are steady and the shop’s foot traffic is down.
“People come and shop and support us. We only take 25 percent of profit from our artists to help other types of programs that we do like family concerts in downtown Milford and classes,” Ohmer said.
“We have a unique issue. We have individuals leaving our community for a more urban setting because we are a little bit more rural, but there is a huge art community — it’s just not as well touted as other industries that we have. We represent hundreds of artists in the area.”
She added that she believes non-profit organizations are playing a role in the revitalization of the economy.
The gallery and art shop are open by appointment on Monday and Tuesday; from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. They are closed on Sunday.
For more information visit huronvalleyarts.org.
‘Very faithful clientelle’
keeps art alive in Milford
Not to be outdone, the Milford Village Fine Arts Association (MVFAA) is another not-for-profit, 501(C)(3) organization that has been around since 1992 and is looking to do more for local artists with less.
“With the down economy, our membership is down slightly, contributions are down and grant money is next to impossible to get,” said Sue Gollon, the MVFAA’s executive director. “We had a strategic planning meeting when the economy started to go bad, and we decided we needed to get the most bang for our buck.”
The MVFAA hosts 10 meetings a year between January and October at the Milford Presbyterian Church, located at 238 N. Main Street in Milford. Meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday of each month beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Gollon said that during each meeting, after regular business is conducted, there is a guest speaker who gives a presentation, does a demonstration, or discusses topics related to the arts.
Tonight, Wednesday, June 22, there will be a figure drawing demonstration presented by Amy Foster.
The MVFAA in April held its annual Poetry and Art Night at the Milford Library, which challenges artists to not only submit an original piece of fine art, but also read a poem to go with it, whether it’s an original poem or not.
Prizes were awarded for fine art and original poems.
On Nov. 4, the MVFAA will team with the HVCA to put on Views and Visions at the Highland Station House.
“Artists can compete for prizes and have their works judged by well-known artists in the area. We also have a children’s competition there,” Gollom said.
She added that the MVFAA doesn’t take a commission from the artists but does publish phone numbers if a patron is interested in buying a piece.
“We’ve had better attendance and entries there at our meetings and shows,” Gollom said.
“We get some support from the community, but it could be better. So much of our support is being cut off,” she said, adding that most of the group’s funding comes from membership dues, sponsorships, and patrons and entry fees for the group’s two shows. Roughly 2 percent of their budget comes from grants, she said.
For more information, visit milfordvfaa.org.
Another artists’ home base is Main Street Art at 432 Main Street in downtown Milford, which has been around for close to 30 years.
Barb Moorhead, one of the co-owners of the store, said that it not only sells art supplies, but also picks up art from shows across the country to put up for sale.
“Every month, we switch out one of our windows and feature a local artist,” she said. “We have a very faithful clientele and so I think we’re doing quite well, even in these hard times.”
For more information, visit mainstreetartmilford.com.
The biggest showcase for artists in Milford is the annual Milford Memories Festival that will take place in downtown Milford from Aug. 12-14.
The featured artist this year is illustrator Donna Pellegata, and the festival is still taking applications for artists to feature their works.
Those interested can visit the festival’s website at milfordmemories.com.
in our own backyard
West Bloomfield is home to two of the most prominent art galleries in the state, Art Leaders Gallery at 33030 Northwestern Highway and the Danielle Peleg Gallery at 4301 Orchard Lake Road.
Bonnie Mansour, one of the owners of Art Leaders, said her gallery has been around since 1992 and represents an impressive range of art.
“We have anywhere from contemporary art to traditional works and master works,” she said.
The gallery consists of two floors and has recently hosted exhibits including “The Art of Dr. Seuss.” Mansour said that Art Leaders is currently hosting a group exhibit with local and national artists themed around landscapes.
Art Leaders features artists not only from Michigan, but across the country and around the world.
“I think the gallery is as strong as the artists it represents. Many of the artists have been featured in national publications,” Mansour said. “We have calls that come in from out of state, and we ship all over the U.S. and the U.K. Sales figures have been pretty good. We can’t complain. I’ve seen an increase.
“We can sell anything from a $25 paperweight to a $25,000 painting,” she added. “I’ve sold works that have been $100,000.”
Some of the unique features of Art Leaders include its lay-away program and custom framing, as well as its in-home art service, where a consultant can visit a potential customer’s home or office to make an assessment on if and how a piece will fit in and complement a room.
“We hold their hands throughout the entire process,” Mansour said.
She added that pieces are rotated throughout the gallery because a lot of the gallery’s art was purchased , since some nationally-known artists don’t cosign to galleries.
“The work that we house in this gallery is more than five galleries in Birmingham put together,” Mansour said.
Art Leaders also accepts submissions from artists, but portfolios can only be sent via e-mail to email@example.com or by high quality photos, CD-ROM, or floppy disk through the postal service.
The gallery’s hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment. For more information, visit artleaders.com.
Not far from Art Leaders is the Danielle Peleg Gallery on Orchard Lake Road, which has been in business for the past 31 years.
“We have art from all over the U.S. and internationally, and people have always loved art and art galleries. It’s very important to the community. It’s part of the culture,” Peleg said.
Peleg’s gallery also provides an in-home art service to customers and features art ranging from traditional to modern and contemporary as part of a holistic approach.
The gallery’s hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit daniellepeleggallery.com.
A focus on visual art
coming July 29-31
The Ninth Annual Orchard Lake Fine Art and Craft Show will be taking place from July 29-31 in West Bloomfield, south of Maple Road, west of Orchard Lake Road, on Powers and Daly roads, which will be closed to traffic for the shows.
The head of the event is Patty Narozny, a White Lake Township resident who has worked previously in television and publications and also has worked in event production for events such as the Comerica Tastefest and now helps run Hotworks, the show’s producing company.
Hotworks also puts on three shows in Florida and one in Charlotte, N.C., and Narozny said that those events are used to recruit artists to come up to Michigan for the Orchard Lake Show.
“The focus is the visual art,” she said. “We travel all around the country to recruit the best artists to come to this event and it has given much nationwide exposure. They are then judged by art professionals in the art industry.”
She added that $2,500 in artists awards will given out at this year’s show, and there will also be a youth art competition with a $100 first-place prize and three $50 awards.
There will also be three demonstrations, including a wood demonstration by Jerry Starler of Southfield, and demonstrations by Susan Kelleghan with mixed media and Don Persinger with metal.
Narozny added that those interested in purchasing art will find a wide arrange of prices because artists are accommodating people with lower budgets.
She said she is expecting 15,000 attendees this year and that there is a suggested donation of $5. For more information, visit hotworks.org.
‘A little more edgy
Those looking for an edgier kind of fine art will soon have a new home when Gallery59 opens on Saturday, June 25 at 6 p.m. at 7633 Highland Road in Waterford, with a exhibit by Antonio “SHADES” Agee displaying his works of graffiti.
SHADES’ artwork will be on display until Sept. 25, before Gallery59 hosts the “Peace Love Rock & Roll” exhibit, which will tap into 1960s hippie culture and its effects on art and music in 2011. That will be on display from Oct. 1 until Nov. 23.
Then from Nov. 26 through Jan. 6, 2012, Gallery59 will host the Game Art Show exhibit, which will explore the evolution of video game art from Pong to Tron.
From Jan. 7, 2012 through March 31, 2012, Gallery59 will host a tattoo art show featuring the area’s premier tattoo artists. The show will include an “Ink and Drink” event on Jan. 7 that will feature a Michigan beer tasting.
“What we are is an urban art gallery, promoting local artists from Waterford and Michigan,” said Gallery59 co-owner Robin Lark. “We’re going to kind of stay away from your more traditional art. We’re going to look for artists that are a little more edgier or controversial.”
Lark said that she and her partner, Bill Smitty, came up with the idea for Gallery59 about six months ago when extra space became available in the township.
“We love going to the galleries and we were gallery shopping and were bummed we couldn’t afford anything,” Lark said. “We thought, ‘Let’s try and see if we can get people to come in and buy art who would not normally go to a gallery or don’t have the funds or don’t want to go downtown. We want to bring art to the regular people.”
Lark said the gallery will pay artists on commission and that prices will range anywhere from $50 to maybe $6,000 per piece.
“I don’t think we’re going to have a problem at all pulling artists in, especially in this area. I’ve been amazed at all the wonderful people that we’ve talked to,” Lark said.
For more information, visit Gallery59′s official page on Facebook.
While Gallery59 is looking to hold the fort, the Waterford Cultural Council is looking to rebound from a loss of funding from the township and its schools, and re-establish itself in the township.
The council has been in existence since the 1980s and was responsible for putting on events such as the annual Summerfest near the Waterford Township Hall and also bringing in different exhibitions.
However, the council recently just helped put on the Third Annual Peacefest at the L.A. Cafe in Waterford during the weekend of June 4, and is now encouraging artists to put up works in a designated hall at the Waterford Parks and Recreation offices. The group is also looking to scout a potential new location for the council.
For more information, visit inwaterford.org or call 248-618-7529.