Grosse Pointe CityAugust 15, 2012
Grosse Pointe Art Center lands new home for ‘Our Rivers, Our Lakes’
By K. Michelle Moran
C & G Staff Writer
GROSSE POINTE CITY — Looking for a relaxing place to escape the summer heat? The Grosse Pointe Art Center has air conditioning and an array of waterfront images that are both cool and serene.
The 10th annual “Our Rivers, Our Lakes” is one of the most popular exhibits at the GPAC, and it meshes neatly with the Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce’s GP Fish, which has resulted in dozens of cleverly designed fish sculptures throughout the community this summer — including several in the Village. “Our Rivers, Our Lakes” opened Aug. 3 and runs through Sept. 1. Its jurors, Greg Lashbrook and Kathy Johnson, are Michiganders whose diving-related art business has an international clientele. GPAC Director Amy DeBrunner said this was the first time the pair had juried a show for the art center.
At a lecture the jurors gave Aug. 4, DeBrunner said they explained their vision for the exhibit, which included a mandate that all of the pieces would feature actual water. Of 184 works submitted by 177 artists, they chose 52 pieces by 40 artists, she said.
“It’s a beautiful show, and I’m thrilled for all of the artists,” DeBrunner said.
The art center is now located about a block from its previous home, on the southwest corner of St. Clair and Kercheval, formerly Hickey’s/Walton-Pierce. At about 4,400 square feet, it’s quite a bit larger than the previous space, which was about 3,300 square feet, DeBrunner said. Support from the Edward Frohlich Family Trust and James Bellanca enabled the GPAC to move to the Village in 2009 and find a new space when their previous Village location found a new tenant. However, the GPAC — which moved into its latest space effective July 24 — may have to relocate again soon, if another business takes over the spot in January.
“It’s an absolutely marvelous space,” said visitor Anne Miller, of Grosse Pointe Farms, who stopped in a few days after the opening to admire the work. “The lighting shows off the art so well.”
In only his second art exhibit, Joe Dewey, of Grosse Pointe City, received a best of show award for his dramatic oil painting, “St. Clair Storm.” He joked that this marked the first time his art was acknowledged since kindergarten, when he planted his finger-paint-covered hands on the white blouse of a classmate.
“I’ve been painting since I was a kid,” said Dewey, who attended the College for Creative Studies on a scholarship. “I do a lot of marine work.”
He said he was “very humbled to be chosen,” and praised the exhibit for having a “good cross section” of artists.
Jackie Brooks, of Grosse Pointe Farms, received second place for her photograph, “Algoma Discovery.” In an email, the artist said she took the photograph during a June trip to Sault Ste. Marie.
“I am fascinated by Great Lakes freighters,” Brooks responded by email. “We, of course, spent a huge amount of time at the (Soo Locks), and caught the Algoma Discovery on its down-bound journey through. To be able to get that close was very special. (These) are majestic, gargantuan vessels that are the backbone of the economy of this region. And this particular picture, I think, accentuates their looming size, and I liked the abstractness of the symbols on the side.”
One of two works that sold at the opening reception was honorable mention winner “Fishing on Belle Isle” by Art Krusz, of Grosse Pointe Woods. The watercolor of an angler comes from a photograph the artist said he shot a number of years ago in the fall, as the weather was turning colder.
“I have a whole file of photographs that I took years ago on trips and different excursions,” said Krusz, who also works in oil. “I like to do people. I do landscapes — almost anything that catches my eye.”
He said he was drawn to “the attitude, the action” in the photograph from which he painted “Fishing on Belle Isle.”
“It’s a graceful pose, I think,” Krusz said.
Susan Kwolek, of Washington Township, won third place for her mixed media piece, “Warning.” Dennis Sabatowich, of Detroit, received a special award for his metal sculpture, simply called “Fish.” Peggy Kerwin, of Novi, took home an honorable mention for her acrylic, “Hook — Do You Feel Lucky.”
DeBrunner said the award winners include a couple of firsts: Tom Apczinski, of Livonia, received an honorable mention for his acrylic, “Drummond Island Cold Rush,” in his first submission to the gallery, and Faygo Samuels, of Lathrup Village, earned the first award of his art career with an honorable mention for “Quickened Water,” a photograph.
Because there were so many good works that didn’t make the juror’s cut, DeBrunner, said an additional 14 are on display at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club, including one by Christine Wardwell, of Grosse Pointe Farms, that had already sold.
“There are some really good painters and sculptors that belong to the art center,” Krusz said. “It’s always a pleasure to go (there).”
In addition to “Our Rivers, Our Lakes,” the GPAC is hosting an exhibit of photography by James Lady and Dana Kaiser. Many of the works they selected are images of the natural world, in keeping with the theme of “Our Rivers, Our Lakes.”
The GPAC is now located at 17051 Kercheval in the Village. Gallery hours are noon-6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call (313) 881-3454, email email@example.com or visit www.grossepointeartcenter.org.
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