Small city, Great art

515 Art Gallery building in Clare, MichiganOn Saturday, July 23, I attended a “Block pARTy” at the 515 Art Gallery in Clare, Michigan. Now, I didn’t expect much, after all, Clare may be a nice city, but it’s in mid-Michigan for goodness sake, where art is usually found in the quilts the Amish hang from clotheslines on street corners to sell to tourists.

What I saw this weekend blew me away. And in an art gallery run by high school students, no less. The artwork was wonderful, mostly by area artists. All have talent.

I was especially taken by the paper sculptures of Jane Cloutier and would like to take home her piece entitled “Sumacs on a Rock Pile.” It’s wonderful with a badger and rabbit tossed in for good measure. According to the gallery brochure, Jane is a computer programmer. Left-brained AND right-brained. Go figure.

Then there is Judy Thurston’s “Begonias and Pears” watercolor, one of several of her works on display.  It too is a wonderful piece of art.  Judy teaches art at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, just down the road a piece.

Ryan Taylor is a potter. I would say he is serious about his art, yet doesn’t take himself seriously. There’s something appealing about his work and this from a person who is not really big on pots. I especially liked his piece entitled “Composite Floor Vase.” It’s big, but I have just the place for it.

One of the things I found most appealing about the gallery is the works are reasonably priced. The paper sculpture I liked is only $200.  Of course, it’s probably best I hold off purchasing anything until I get a job.  Then I can support the arts and boost the local economy.

The gallery is housed in an old brick building next door to  a very nice coffee house and sandwich shoppe called Coffee Talk and down the street  Cops and Doughnuts.

The Block pARTy was run by nine high school students from Clare who also run the gallery. According to the gallery’s website, they not only learn about the arts but also receive first-hand experience in running a business. How cool is that?  The pARTy was well-attended. I hope it did well and the art is sold. Well, all except for the pieces I like. I hope those will stay on the walls until I get a job. Or hit the lottery.

By the way, 515 Art Gallery is open Fridays and Saturdays  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by appointment. Stop by. You will be amazed at what you will see. I was.

Categories: Clare County, Economy, Life, Michigan, Travel and tourism | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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