Shelby artist to donate giant Memorial Park painting to Utica

By: Sarah Wojcik | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 23, 2016


UTICA — A Shelby Township artist who has been rooted in the community for more than 50 years decided to create a 58-by-72-inch painting of Utica to donate to the city after undertaking a similar endeavor for Shelby Township last year.

“It’s a labor of love. (My husband, George, and I) have lived in Utica (now Shelby) since 1960. George taught at the schools here, so we feel like we’re really a part of this community,” said 81-year-old Margaret Glinke. “I had the materials. It isn’t costing me any material time or cost.”

Instead of creating the painting and then offering it to the city, like she did with Shelby Township, Glinke called Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan to see if she was interested in the gift.

“I was certainly excited when she made the offer,” Noonan said. “I knew we would be thrilled with it.”

Noonan said she has known Glinke for more than 40 years. She said she bought four of her pieces, and one currently hangs in her home. The donated painting of Utica, Noonan said, would hang on one of the walls at Utica City Hall.

In approximately October, Noonan and Glinke met in downtown Utica and walked along the Clinton River and Auburn Road. Noonan also gave Glinke some photos of the area in the summer, and Glinke has since visited the area several more times.

“It’s a painting, not a photograph, so it’s not going to be picture-perfect. I’m not putting chairs or picnic tables and all that stuff in there,” she said. “It’s been fun.”

Glinke’s unique style of applying layers of stretched gauze and gesso, a white paint with plaster in it, before working with acrylic paint sets her apart from other artists. Glinke also stretched the canvas at her home studio using a special table she designed herself.

She said she began the painting in January and, at press time, had put approximately 37 hours into it. Ultimately, she imagines the painting will take about 60 hours to complete — the same as the painting for Shelby Township.

The painting includes telltale Utica symbols, such as the clock tower, lampposts, M-59 overpass, pedestrian tunnel, the new stonework shoring up the banks of the Clinton River, and the river itself.

“I think this river is important to this area because it’s a really recreational thing now with the canoes and the $2 million bike trail update,” Glinke said.

The painting that Glinke donated to Shelby Township last September, called “Heritage Garden Impressions,” depicts the picturesque Heritage Garden located on the municipal grounds. It hangs in the lower level of the municipal building, located at 52700 Van Dyke Ave.

Glinke has been painting and drawing since she was a young girl, she said. She has participated in and organized art fairs. She also ran a gallery and co-founded a business establishing Michigan-made artwork in corporate offices.

She received a medical technology degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids and worked in the Midland Hospital Blood Bank before getting married and having children. She also taught as a substitute teacher for Utica Community Schools.

“I want to encourage folks to keep working on their favorite activities,” she said.