‘Sail’ away during first Keego Harbor Art in the Park

By: Sherri Kolade | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 19, 2017

 Doc and June’s restaurant partner Matt Mullins stands July 11 with some of the art.

Doc and June’s restaurant partner Matt Mullins stands July 11 with some of the art.

Photo by Donna Agusti

KEEGO HARBOR — The vestibules at Doc and June’s are dead giveaways that community collaboration is key to making Keego thrive.

Multiple pieces of art — like an oversized dreamcatcher on a white wooden beam, along with framed paintings of sunsets, dogs, flowers and abstract art — hang in two of the newly established restaurant’s vestibules. The art fit in perfectly alongside the eclectic 1950s-style ambiance of the restaurant at 1967 Cass Lake Road. 

And don’t forget about the rustic, multicolored bike rack out back — with a bicycle hanging on a wall inside — and the bars of handmade local soaps in the general store that also sells eggs, cards, and pretty much the kitchen sink.

The art was provided by four artists with ArtSail, a group for local creative individuals to discuss, meet and promote their work. The group represents the local lakes area, but is focused on Keego Harbor, Sylvan Lake, Waterford, West Bloomfield, Bloomfield Hills and Orchard Lake. 

ArtSail is a play on the word “sale” and pays tribute to the lakes.

“At first we were putting our work up really high (on the vestibule walls), and then we got really confident and started splashing it everywhere,” Susan Emerling, founder of ArtSail, said July 11. “This new venue has a uniquely creative concept and warm, friendly environment. The owners researched the origins of the building they purchased and recreated the ’50s atmosphere and small general store. It was such a great idea and an honor to welcome ArtSail to fill the space with art for diners to enjoy.”

Keego Harbor’s nascent artistic co-op, ArtSail, has made its presence known at the entrances of Doc and June’s — and everyone there wants you to get a sneak peek at what art you could see at ArtSail’s first ArtSail in the Park event 11 a.m.-4 p.m. July 22 at Rose Sorter Park, behind Keego Harbor City Hall, 2025 Beechmont St. 

The juried show will feature work from 15 artists, including paintings, glass art, jewelry, ceramics, crafts, knitted goods, handmade soaps, creams and repurposed furniture creations, Emerling said in an email. The restaurant/event collaboration began after a group of ArtSail members were invited by the new restaurant to showcase and sell works. So far, 15 pieces of art have been sold, Doc and June’s partner Jen Clotworthy confirmed at the restaurant, which opened in June. 

“You would have thought I won the lotto (after) the first one we sold,” Clotworthy said while sitting at a picnic table July 11 next to restaurant partner Matt Mullins. “Because I think it is so hard for any kind of artists to get legs — musicians, anyone — and look at that. That is all local talent — it is amazing, so part of the store is going to be about that.”

Keego Harbor-based Shanon’s Dance Academy will also put on a show of music and dance at the event. Other local musicians will perform in the park gazebo. A bake sale will have refreshments with proceeds going toward running ArtSail; admission is free.

ArtSail joined two other events this past year to have art shows, but it is going on its own this year. 

“We just thought it was time for this area,” Emerling said. “We really thought we are ready to go out on our own, and the community would like that too.”

What the community likes is also on the minds of Clotworthy, Mullins and their fellow restaurant partner, Brian Yaffa.

Clotworthy said that they like to “hold hands” with the community as far as what they would like to see on their menu, and when Emerling introduced herself, the rest became history. Especially when Emerling knew Clotworthy from working with her on past art projects.

“You support us; we support you,” Mullins said, to which Clotworthy agreed.

“I think art needs to be shown,” she said.

Emerling said that she, artist Robin La France and Shanon Stibor, of Shanon’s Dance Academy, are the three leaders of ArtSail in this particular show.

La France and Emerling are the jurors of the art show.

Stibor said that the live performance art is about her students being able to perform for family and friends.

“They’re just so happy and seeing their friends and putting on shows and showing their passion and what we’ve worked so hard for,” she said.

Emerling confirmed that ArtSail was created in early June 2016. A month later, there were 229 members on its Facebook page, and it “continues to grow every day.” 

“We welcome creative people and supporters of the arts from other communities to join us,” Emerling said. 

Artists do not pay a commission to show and sell their work on the ArtSail site or at events. 

“Since this is a volunteer group, we welcome and need more hands to help out,” Emerling said, adding that anyone interested in joining should contact ArtSail.

For more information, go to www.facebook.com/group/ArtSail or www.artsailkeego.wixsite.com/info.

Call Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at (586) 498-1046.