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Arts and Cultural Commission brings local artwork to Ferndale City Hall

By: Joshua Gordon | Woodward Talk | Published March 17, 2015

 The second “Art at City Hall” exhibition features work by local artist Taurus Burns, who attended the opening March 12 at Ferndale City Hall.

The second “Art at City Hall” exhibition features work by local artist Taurus Burns, who attended the opening March 12 at Ferndale City Hall.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

FERNDALE — Noticing a lack of focus on art and culture in Ferndale in recent years, the Ferndale City Council revived the Arts and Cultural Commission in January 2014 in hopes of bringing unique events to the city.

A year later, the commission has produced “Art at City Hall,” an exhibition that will highlight metro Detroit artists with approximately six-week exhibits. The first exhibit wrapped up a few weeks ago and the second one, focusing on local artist Taurus Burns, kicked off March 12.

“There are a lot of events put on by a lot of businesses, but for our committee, we want to bring free events, like concerts in the park,” Commission member Mark Burton said. “We want to bring something to the community, art to the community, that is free for everybody and everyone can enjoy.”

“Art at City Hall” was Burton’s brainchild, and he approached Mayor Dave Coulter and other city officials about setting up exhibits at City Hall, 300 E. Nine Mile Road. The art is displayed in the hallway next to the council chambers in the lower level. Pieces can be seen anytime during regular City Hall hours.

The art can be purchased by visiting the clerk upstairs.

“We want people to go during the week and see the artwork, and we want to give the artists a chance to get exposure,” Burton said. “Art reflects who and what you are, and Ferndale is a really artsy community to begin with, so we wanted to give artists that exposure without having to go through a gallery system. We want people to feel involved and that this is for everybody.”

While there are several entities in the city that bring art to the community, Coulter said the Arts and Cultural Commission makes sure the city doesn’t lose focus on the artistic aspect of the area.

“I think it is easy to take art for granted or not give it (the) attention that it deserves,” he said. “So, a group like the Arts and Cultural Commission really helps showcase what is an important aspect of our community, which is our artistic community. We revived it so they could come up with a lot of new and innovative ways to promote art.”

As far as having an art exhibit at City Hall, Coulter said he hopes the exhibitions will make the city government have more of a welcoming feel and not just be a place where people go for negative things.

“I think this is a great way to promote artists in our community, as we have a lot of wall space at City Hall, and it is a great and inexpensive way to let people know about some of the great art that gets created in Ferndale,” he said. “I hope it sends the signal to people that we value art and what it can mean for the community and that we support the artists in our city.”

In an effort to continue to promote art, Burton said the exhibition will be showcasing student artists this summer from Ferndale High School, and two students will be selected for scholarships.

As a former art student himself, Burton said he wants to encourage Ferndale youth to pursue art in the future.

“I was an art student in high school and am a graduate of the (College for Creative Studies), so I know how important it is for students to get official recognition,” he said. “We want them to continue their art education, and through this they can get a taste of what it is like and get some of that encouragement.”

The exhibit is available for viewing from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 8 p.m. every second and fourth Monday of the month. Photographer Judy Eliyas will be the third artist showcased starting April 29. The student exhibition will run from June 11-July 31.