BERKLEY — A month after the city’s annual Art Bash, Berkley residents have not one, but two new art-related events to look forward to this weekend.
The first event is Art & About, which will happen from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 14, in the downtown. The event, which debuted last month, will take place the second Friday of every month through October.
The event sees businesses in the downtown open their doors to local artists and performers to showcase their skills and talents, while attendees can interact with the artists and even purchase some works. Participating businesses also will have a variety of specials for customers.
“We are turning downtown Berkley into a place where people can come and interact with art — a gallery stroll type of event,” Downtown Development Authority Art & About Committee Chairperson Lindsey Tocco said.
A free shuttle will be provided for attendees to travel to different businesses along 12 Mile Road and Coolidge Highway. A map of participating businesses can be found at www.downtownberkley.com/berkley-art-about.
Tocco said businesses that participate can host an artist to increase the probability that people are going to come into their store and shop.
“Our main focus is highlighting the things that downtown Berkley has to offer,” she said. “I know a lot of people go downtown, but I don’t think they actually go into some of the stores and businesses. So this is getting everyone an opportunity to do that.”
Tocco added that she’s hoping the community will come out and support the businesses, the art and find out what downtown Berkley has to offer.
“The Berkley DDA is really trying to work on promoting downtown businesses and trying to make it more user friendly,” she said. “The whole point of this Downtown Development Authority is to make sure that the downtown is a place that people want to come and explore and use even in their daily life.”
The second event, occurring the day after Art & About, is the first Berkley Street Art Fest, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the downtown.
The festival will include a chalk art contest, nine murals created on buildings in the downtown, live music, and places for both children and adults to create their own art.
“It’s really to bring another festival-type event downtown,” Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce Events and Operations Manager RoseAnn Nicolai said. “This will then mean we’ll have one every month for the months of summer, from June through September.”
“The point of this one is to create art, meaning everyone has an opportunity to create art, but then also there will be professional artists creating art,” Nicolai said.
Attendees still can register for the chalk art contest, which can be done at www.berkleystreetartfest.com or on the day of the event at the Berkley Chamber tent on Dorothea Road. The registration fee costs $15-$30, and people can either work in teams or by themselves to create the chalk art in a 4-by-4-foot space.
Nicolai advised people entering the contest to get to the festival early, as it will take time to fill the space. She said they will be open as early as 7:30 a.m.
A free shuttle will be available from 1 to 6 p.m. for people wanting to visit all the murals, which were designed by eight professional artists and a student from Berkley High School. Six of the murals are on 12 Mile Road, while the other three are on Coolidge Highway.
Other events will include chalk artist David Zinn doing a demonstration at 11:30 a.m., after which he’ll continue to create chalk art throughout the city. The Detroit Institute of Arts will have a drop-in workshop for anyone to create a pinwheel toy. Children younger than 11 can draw their own chalk art in the children’s tent. Everyone also is welcome to participate in picking the People’s Choice Award for chalk art from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
“It’s to create more interest in our downtown,” Nicolai said. “And then, of course, stores will be doing some fun things throughout the downtown. Some of them will be having sidewalk sales and some different things. So there just will be a lot of activity going on.”