First things first! Red dots rule! This one sold before the Art Stroll even officially started on Thursday afternoon. Nothing beats an auspicious beginning…
The event featured art works in stores all along Dowagiac’s main street, known as Front Street. My venue was a fabulously unique business called Yarn on Front, which benefits from the fact that Dowagiac is plopped down in a fairly rural Michigan area that does not have a yarn shop on every corner. People come from all around, even as far as South Bend, Indiana to see the great yarn selection and take classes.
We had a steady stream of visitors all during the three-hour event, so I was kept busy both introducing my art to them and pushing refreshments on them. Note my signature art event outfit–black 3/4 coat with hand-crafted ribbon floral decorations, and Spanish riding boots with leather tassels…
I shared the space with a fellow artist/crafter from the group we both belong to, Cass Area Artists. Diana makes the most engaging dolls completely by hand. You can see a whole bunch more of her work here: https://www.facebook.com/dianasprimitiveplace/?pnref=lhc
After the Art Stroll, Sharron, who orchestrated the whole event, held a reception for all the artists around the corner at the headquarters of the Dowagiac Dogwood Fine Arts Festival. The Festival features musical performers, story-tellers, the Art Stroll, authors speaking about their writing, and for the kids Klassics for Kids, Youth Fine Arts and Youth Voices and runs for ten days. For a small town (maybe 6,000?) we do make quite a cultural footprint.
Sharron (above at far right) completely revamped the festival office, repainted the walls, and installed picture rail and a hanging system, not to mention replacing all of the tired baseboard. She effectively turned the office into a gallery, which will have shows rotating throughout the year.
My fellow artist and good friend Ruth, who has art in the store next door to Yarn on Front, decided that a hat would be appropriate–I did not ask how many birds gave up their lives for her “hat”. I suspect it is a very old hat.
So there you have it. Ruth will be orchestrating an enormous mural on a wall of the town post office. I have been assigned to do the horse…this should be interesting since I have never done a huge outdoor mural. The theme is the Orphan Train. Cribbing from the Dowagiac Area History Museum, here’s a bit of history about it: In the mid-1800s, homeless, orphaned children roamed the streets of New York City. In 1853, Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society to care for the children with the ultimate goal of having the children adopted. He came up with the idea to send the children on train to be adopted by families in the western United States (Michigan at that time was part of the western U.S.). He sent the first trainload of 46 children west in September 1854 with one destination– Dowagiac, Michigan. If you’re curious to know more of the story and more about the mural project, you can find it here: http://dowagiacmuseum.info/orphan-train/