ArtOber walking tour celebrates art across Hazel Park

Oct. 22 event will feature displays at a variety of venues

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published October 11, 2016

HAZEL PARK — More than 20 artists will be on display at this year’s ArtOber Art Walk, organized by the Hazel Park Arts Council, a licensed nonprofit.

Now in its second year, the event spans the walkable downtown of the John R corridor and a number of artist spaces and murals at businesses and private residences. The free art walk takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22. Organizers say the art is appropriate for all ages. The event also marks the debut of artist Richard Gage’s Cadillac Ranch tribute installation, a scale recreation of the famous installation in Amarillo, Texas.

The HPAC is also hosting a raffle with prizes from Cellarmen’s in Hazel Park, One Eyed Betty’s in Ferndale, Kiki Home Accents in Madison Heights, MEX in Bloomfield Hills, Lather House Soapery in Hazel Park, and Pet Sitting by Alissa in Hazel Park, with more on the way. Raffle tickets are available for purchase at different points on the art walk.

To see a map of the route and the locations of the installations, visit www.facebook.com/hazelparkarts or visit Hazel Park City Hall, 111 E. Nine Mile Road. There will also be food and refreshments by Detroit Bold Coffee and Mac Shack.

The 400 block of West Nine Mile will be the most active, with Richard Gage Design Studio open to the public and hosting other artists and food in the parking lot. Gage’s neighbor, Rachel Stokes, will also be showcasing her paintings.

A few blocks away, in a vacant lot next to the law firm of Clark and Schoenbeck on the Interstate 75 service drive, one can find the Cadillac Ranch, commissioned by lawyer Paul Clark as a permanent installation and gift to the city. At press time, Gage was preparing the work, which includes cut profiles of Cadillacs embedded in the ground, tail fins up, about 80 percent of a full-scale car.

“I used to drive by the original Cadillac Ranch (in Amarillo, Texas) twice a year in the ’90s, and it struck me as a great visual installation,” Gage said in an email. “Using photographic profiles of various Cadillacs, I created an outline and traced body highlights and shadow lines.

Converting this ‘pencil sketch’ to a digital machine language allows the work to be cut from steel plate. With a support structure to hold them upright, they will then be installed.”

Clark credits Gage with the idea.

“He made a rendering of what it will look like, and I loved it. I think it’s interactive and will give the people of Hazel Park another place to go,” Clark said. “Right now, Hazel Park is going through some major changes. They’ve brought in new businesses like a high-end restaurant and a brewery, and there is a push in the city to beautify the neighborhoods and the downtown. I thought we could take this side lot off I-75 — once just stone and dirt — and make it someplace where people can collect and feel hands-on leaving their mark here.

“I think it will enrich the city. People will remember, hopefully with some fondness, how Hazel Park is a cool place to go for art,” he said. He noted how Hazel Park has long been known as a blue-collar community, but it’s really many things to many kinds of people. “I think art will bring in younger people as well — some new blood that will help the city flourish.”

Other participating artists will include painter Clinton Snider, known for his “Neighborhood Islands” depicting isolated images of local neighborhoods cut off from their surroundings; Alex Drew & No One, woodworkers who build custom modern furniture and accessories; Doug Cannell, a sculptor and metalworker; Evan D’Orazio, a ceramic artist; Courtney Morningstar, a muralist; Lulu Cammeron, a painter; Richard Bennant, the sculptor responsible for the exterior of the African-American Museum in Detroit; I3 Detroit, a group blending art, technology and learning; and Studio Detroit Dance, which is preparing some kind of performance art.

“In addition to some emerging Detroit artists, we have a number that long established careers: graduates from CCS and Cranbrook that will challenge your perspective, stimulate discussion, and possibly persuade you to view art with new vigor and interest,” Gage said. “People should see this as an open museum within Hazel Park. Not everyone will go to the DIA or MoCAD, but we hope this less formal approach to a contemplative art experience will have broader appeal.”

Alissa Sullivan is one of the newest members of the Hazel Park Arts Council. She said ArtOber is just one way the city continues to grow its appeal.

“It’s been an amazing time to be involved, with all the new ideas and energy buzzing around Hazel Park, like the Hazel Park Growers and Makers Market, the Hazel Park Art Fair, and now the ArtOber Art Walk,” Sullivan said. “These ideas are about appreciating what’s already here, and looking forward to new endeavors and new ways to incorporate art in our amazing city.”