Art & Music

Story By Ingrid Sjostrand | Photos By David McNair

Sometimes a passion just follows a person and inspires them throughout life. For April McCrumb this passion is art, and for nearly two decades she has shared her creative craft with the City of Berkley.

Co-owner of Berkley stores Catching Fireflies, Yellow Door Art Market and co-founder of the Berkley Art Bash, McCrumb’s interest in art developed in childhood. And although she pursued a degree in education, she found ways to incorporate creativity into teaching.

“I was always raised to be creative, but I followed my parents lead and took a conservative college route and just dabbled in art shows and craft fairs on the side,” McCrumb says. “While working in education, a lot of paper was being recycled; I created stuff in class with the kids and it transitioned over time into the traditional papermaking hobby.”

This hobby became A.I. Paper Design which McCrumb and her husband Steve made out of their home and sold at the Ann Arbor Artisan Market. As demand grew, they found the perfect 2200 sq. ft. storefront available in Berkley to grow the brand and McCrumb’s career shifted back to art full-time. An old pharmacy at 3117 W 12 Mile Rd. was transformed into Catching Fireflies in October 2000 with some bright paint and help from friends looking to sell their own work on consignment.

“We thought the front half could be used for selling and the back half would be our studio; essentially the goal would be to make enough in the store to pay the rent,” McCrumb says. “Over time Catching Fireflies gained popularity. We moved our studio and turned it into a full store.”

MCCRUMB’S VISION FOR THE STORE GREW from an art studio space with a storefront to a gift shop with the purpose of bringing others joy.

“Our favorite adjective is ‘whimsical’ – we like to delight and inspire happy things,” She says. “We want people to come in here – whether they buy or not – to be uplifted, this world can drag you down and we want this to be a little haven.”

The popularity of Catching Fireflies propelled into the opening of multiple locations – one in Grand Rapids that was eventually moved to Rochester and another in Ann Arbor. They’ve stayed true to the whimsy theme and have been conscious of the locations of their shops.

“All are in unique historical buildings. Rochester is located in the old train depot downtown and Ann Arbor is a very old building in the middle of Kerrytown,” McCrumb says. “I love that our buildings represent quirkiness and fit the flavor of our brand.”

Another thing that sets Catching Fireflies apart from other local gift shops is their online presence. They created an e-store in 2008 before it was a common trend among smaller retailers.

“We have progressed with the times and 90 percent of our catalog is available to purchase online,” McCrumb says. “I’m proud that we are keeping up with the big dogs and it helps us gain customers that are not local.”

SOON AFTER THE CREATION OF CATCHING FIREFLIES, in 2001 McCrumb collaborated with the Berkley Chamber of Commerce to create Berkley Art Bash. The event occurs on the second Saturday in June and is the largest community event in Downtown Berkley, shutting down 12 Mile Rd. between Kipling and Buckingham Rds. It has attracted crowds as large as 10,000 people.

“We had 150 booths this year and over the years we’ve had such a great response,” McCrumb says. “For the Chamber, it’s a huge bump to make money and make the city a great place to do business. Now we have over five blocks of booths, kids activities and music.”

While Catching Fireflies carries multiple artist brands and Berkley Art Bash provides an event for art in the community, McCrumb noticed a lack of spaces where artists could control the sale of their own work. When a storefront became available doors down from Catching Fireflies at 3141 Twelve Mile Rd. she jumped at the chance to create the Yellow Door Art Market in 2010.

“It’s tough being an artist. You have Etsy and art fairs but I thought we could be the in-between space for artists that don’t want to do art shows and be a bridge for artists who want to open a store but might not be ready yet,” McCrumb says. “People can shop there and truly shop local – everything in there is made by someone in Michigan.”

MCCRUMB MAY HAVE BROUGHT ART TO BERKLEY in a variety of ways, but she recognizes that she couldn’t have done it without the help of the city.

“The community has been so supportive of local art. Being here for 19 years, we’ve seen so many changes and I think it’s only gotten better,” she says. “The City is great, the population is supportive and I really feel blessed by this whole community in Berkley.”

And she says if you’re passionate about something, take the chance and pursue it.

“It sounds cheesy but I love the quote, ‘Follow your heart but take your brain along with you.’ Not to say this didn’t come with a lot of hard work and sweat equity, but you can follow your dreams and make it work beyond what you ever imagined.”

Catching Fireflies (248) 336-2030 3117 W 12 Mile, Berkley, MI 48072

Yellow Door Art Market (248) 336-2038 3141 12 Rd, Berkley, MI 48072

Mon/Tue/Wed/Fri/Sat 10-6 Thur 10-8 Sun 12-5

By Sara E. Teller

VITRINE GALLERY & GIFTS OPENED IN DECEMBER 2017. The Berkley location was perfect because it included both a studio and retail space, according to owner Susan Rogal.

“We jumped on it,” she said. “Later, I would understand more fully the incredible sense of community in Berkley. I have been in retail for almost 40 years, and it’s rare to find men shoppers, couples shopping together, just happy shoppers. Every hour of every day there are lovely people in here.”

The name of the store is a French word meaning “a glass display case filled with treasures,” she explained, and it was inspired by a shabby chic antique hutch Rogal found with a glass front. This would also be incorporated into Vitrine’s logo.

In the retail space, shoppers can explore a multitude of treasures, including clothing, accessories, housewares, food, and other goodies made by artists and artisans. Vitrine also features garden accessories, handcrafted baskets, and a spa area with many handmade soaps and bath bombs. SERV, Ten Thousand Villages, and many others are on display, with products also available for purchase online.

ROGAL SAID, “THE STORE IS FOR LOCAL ARTISTS, artisans, potters, jewelers, and crafters. We feature many local artists and foods, soap artists, pens, and many other products each month. We have Wee Bee Jammin’ jams and Sanders Chocolates. The shop has also become the flagship store for Kari Hughes’ Buy the Change line. We have an art show once a month, and we also curate the art through the Berkley Public Library, which offers even more exposure.”

She added, “It’s really a trip around the world, and we bring in new stuff once a month. Our vegan handbag line has quite a following. We searched the world for a wonderful collection with phenomenal prices. Many people buy more than one!”

To add to the eclectic and one-of-a- kind ambiance, there is a door at the back that annexes to Holy Cannoli’s Bakery which fills Vitrine with incredible bakery smells and allows guests to experience both businesses at once. The studio also serves as Rogal’s workspace for her other endeavor, Artwear Detroit, a company that transfers local artwork onto items available at Vitrine and elsewhere. The company’s mission is to support regional artists and their contribution to Detroit’s legacy.

ROGAL BELIEVES IN A “DO GOOD, FEEL GOOD” mantra and remembers as a child her mother sponsoring children in developing countries through World Vision.

“She would always have their pictures on the wall and would refer to them as her other children,” she remembered fondly. “Now that she’s passed, I wanted to do something for her – offer a memorial gift – and I also wanted to do something extra to show how much we care. This became a very personal journey.”

She added, “We decided to have some of our profits go towards sponsoring six kids in Haiti, all from the same village. And, eventually the goal is to support ten. Doing it this way, we can extend our resources to the entire area, supporting healthcare, clean water, safety and education. It goes towards the whole community.”

Through Vitrine and Artwear Detroit, Rogal is truly able to exemplify her personal mission of giving back. “It’s my hope that as the world gets smaller with resources like the Internet we’ll all begin to realize we can make a difference.”

Vitrine is especially event-driven throughout the summer, participating in the Street Art Fest and hosting various pop-ups featuring a rotation of artists. Rogal said that Small Business Saturday, held on November 30, 2019, will also be an especially big day for all Berkley businesses.

For more information, visit Vitrine at 2758 Coolidge Hwy,
thevitrinegallery.com, or call 248-629-7329.

Photos By Ashley Poirer & Rich Young

The Berkley Street Art Fest started in 2017 and focuses on creating art in the streets of Berkley with chalk and murals. Bridget Mahrle, chair of the Berkley Street Art Fest committee, has worked with a committee of community volunteers, businesses and Chamber staff for the past three years to create this festival that takes place on the second Saturday in July.

On the second Saturday in June, the Art Bash shuts down 12 Mile Road between Kipling and Buckingham Avenues and over 150 artists and makers sell their products. April McCrumb, co- owner of Catching Fireflies and Yellow Door Market, founded the festival with photographer and former Chamber member Maureen Monte.

“Maureen did it for a few years and was moving on with her business, so she left me in charge. I was a good fit for the job. I did art fairs for many years and had connections with artists,” McCrumb says. “I took it on and grew it to what it is today. We started the first year with 50-to-70 artists and now are at 150.”

The free event attracts over 10,000 people each year and invites a variety of artists to appeal to visitors’ every interest, everything from jewelers and authors to candlemakers.

“WE TRY TO SEEK OUT DIFFERENT TALENT. WE GO TO A LOT OF ART FAIRS and find things that are appealing in price and style,” McCrumb says. “Everyone can come and bring a few treasures home without breaking the bank.”

The entertainment extends past art lovers to include fun for pets and kids too.

“We always want Art Bash to be family-friendly. We are very intentional about bringing in
inflatables, face painting, kids crafts – anything kids would enjoy,” McCrumb says. “We are pet- friendly too – you can bring your dog and vendors sell dog treats, collars, cat treats and infused catnip.”

McCrumb runs the Berkley Art Bash alongside RoseAnn Nicolai, events and operations manager for Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce, who is also involved in the Berkley Street Art Fest. Artists interested in participating can apply for the 2020 Art Bash starting January 1st at berkleyartbash.com.

“I presented the concept after discovering the West Michigan Chalk Art event. I felt it would be a wonderful event to bring to Berkley’s Coolidge Shopping District to bring more awareness to the new and established businesses,” Mahrle says. “Our first year was held in a newly-developed parking area behind Sugar Kisses, Peggendott Designs and Berkley Eyewear stores.” Darlene Rothman, Executive Director of the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce, visited other chalk festivals in Michigan to discover the best format for the Berkley community.

THE STREET ART FEST NOW DRAWS CROWDS OF OVER 6,000 and that success has led to the City shutting down Coolidge Hwy. from Catalpa to Wiltshire for the event. More than 30 chalk artists of varying levels of aptitude compete, and muralists create permanent pieces on walls throughout the Berkley Business District.

“To date, we have installed 18 permanent murals located throughout the City,” Mahrle says. “The Berkley Street Art Fest also has artists and other vendor booths, food trucks and family activities where attendees can create art.”

Vibe Credit Union, a major sponsor, presented the 2019 event. Atomic Dawg hosted the beer tent, a first for 2019, and flame-eating jugglers and other street entertainers performed. The event attracts world- famous artists including David Zinn, Ann Arbor-based 3D chalk artist, who has presented at each event since 2017.

“This year’s event was even more special because Berkley became one of six cities worldwide that has permanent artwork created by Zinn on local buildings; Balanced Health & Wellness and the Berkley Public Library,” Mahrle says.

For information about the 2020 event, visit www.berkleystreetartfest.com. Both the Street Art Fest and the Berkley Art Bash have helped to highlight the creative talents of Berkley residents and increase business for retailers and restaurants along two main intersections in the City.

By Ingrid Sjostrand

Photos By Brita Brookes

MANY RESIDENTS PROBABLY DON’T REALIZE THAT OAK PARK IS HOME to one of the most internationally-recognizable creative collaboratives.

Through many different iterations and rebrandings since the 1970s – including General Television Network and most recently Ringside Creative – the address of 13320 Northend, off Coolidge Hwy between 8 and 9 Mile, houses the creative media company now known as Cutters Studios.

Steven Wild, CEO of Cutters Studios Detroit, provides an explanation of services they offer.

“Our skilled staff provide a wide range of creative and technical media content creation and delivery services to advertising agencies, businesses (including education and government) and the sports/entertainment industry,” he says. “We offer concept through delivery. Some examples include traditional broadcast advertising accounts; new digital media marketing (including apps, web, point-of-purchase, digital signage); documentary production; sports and other live event coverage; broadcast studio ‘live shot’ services for local, regional, national and international news organizations; high-speed/high-resolution photo imaging for automotive and other technology testing and analysis.”

Cutters Studios is made up of six brands, including Ringside Creative which was absorbed in April 2017 when Cutters took over the Oak Park office. Ringside Creative is best known for running sound stages and handling technical services for on-site production and videos. Other Cutters brands include Cutters Editorial, Flavor Design, Another Country, Dictionary Films and Picnic.

“Our Cutters Studios brands are all headquartered in our Oak Park office; however, our services are provided on location throughout the world depending on the project. We also maintain sound stages in Ann Arbor, Southfield, and Detroit,” Wild says. “Our partners, Cutters, Inc., maintain their primary office in Chicago, and have satellite facilities in Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York City, and Kansas City.”

Businesses both throughout the United States and internationally are clients of Cutters Studios Detroit, including many Fortune 500 companies. Cutters has received many national and international creative awards. Some of their more considerable projects include Super Bowl commercials and work for the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) that’s received award recognition.

“We service hundreds of clients in Detroit and throughout the Midwest, including all major automotive manufacturers directly, along with their advertising and marketing agencies and suppliers,” Wild says. “Additionally, other large and small businesses, advertising/marketing companies, and sports teams including the Detroit Tigers, Lions and Red Wings.”

Even with renowned success and opportunities around the world, Cutters Studios is happy to call Oak Park home and has a laundry list of reasons why it’s the best place to headquarter their business.

“Our commitment to Oak Park has been maintained over the years for a multitude of reasons, including the irreplaceable facility improvements we’ve made over the past 40 years, our expansive dedicated parking lot, reasonable taxes and strong support from local government agencies – building, fire, etc. – along with a desirable central location convenient to access highways to Detroit, the airport, in-state clients and service locations, and those out-of-state including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois,” Wild says. “We’re proud to be part of the Oak Park community and appreciate the opportunity to continue our support.”

By Sara E. Teller

DETROIT GT, A DESIGN & APPAREL COMPANY SPECIALIZING IN DETROIT AREA PRODUCTS, WAS STARTED BY CHRIS GORSKI IN 2003.

“It was a creative outlet for me while I was working in advertising as the art director at CampbellEwald,” Gorski said. “It was just fun to do, to illustrate all the time. I would come up with these sketches and co-workers would tell me, ‘That’s funny, you should put that on a shirt.’ So I did. It started as a hobby. I would bring the shirts to work and take them to small events.”

Gorski’s hobby ended up paying off big time. “In 2009, I was let go at Campbell-Ewald,” he explained. “Actually, because of this side business, my boss laid me off first. He handed me my severance check and said, ‘Go make t-shirts.’ I listened to him, freelanced for about a year, and during that time, I began to build the business.”

A car enthusiast and collector as well, Gorski started to sell the apparel out of a vintage Chevy. “I didn’t want to be in a tent, I wanted to sell out of a vintage car,” he said. “Then, when the owners of The Rust Belt Market opened shop in 2010, I would take my truck there and sell my shirts. They were open every weekend, and I have been there since the beginning.”

Gorski also began selling his designs, many of which begin as simple sketches, at other venues and events such as AutoRama, Motor City Pride, the Berkley Art Bash, Ferndale Pride, Hazel Park Art Fair, and Northville’s Buy Michigan Now. He also sells in area malls such as Twelve Oaks, Briarwood, and Partridge Creek (in The Art is in Market stores) and online via an Etsy page.

“I live in Ferndale and have a 3,000 square foot studio there,” Gorski explained. “This is where I press the shirts. Most are heat transfers, and I also do some silk-screening. This is done at the Eastern Market. I have three employees who mainly help with sales. And my husband, Jason, usually has some time off around the holidays to help by visiting stores, de-cluttering and restocking.”

Gorski creates special t-shirts for each city he travels to and sets up shop. “I do some research and come up with something that is recognizable with a twist. For Hazel Park, I created a “Hip and Happening Hazel Park” shirt,” he said.

RECENTLY, GORSKI SAID HE HAS EXPANDED HIS BUSINESS to include a line of home décor made up of “simple, modern, iconic illustrations” of various buildings in and around Detroit. “There’s coasters, art prints, and canvas prints,” he said.

When he’s not busy creating, Gorski likes to focus his time on his other passion – cars. “I love classic cars, especially Chevys,” he said. “I’m a car collector. My father had a Corvette when I was younger that he sold to put an addition on our home. I remember many Sundays driving around lots with him looking for a replacement.”

They eventually found one in an unlikely spot. Gorski remembered, “My aunt also had a Corvette and she sold it to him to restore. It was a project we were able to work together on.”

Gorski also enjoys traveling. “My husband is a flight attendant, so we have the benefit of flying stand-by. Sometimes we get to do a long layover in a city, anywhere from 24 to 36 hours,” he explained. “He is from Greece, so we also travel there to visit family.”

Gorski always carries around a sketch book and has a pen in hand, he said, adding, “Even at the bar, I’ll sit there doodling. I’m always doodling about current events, drawing something happening around me while people are watching, or while I’m traveling.”

For a full list of where to pick up the latest DetroitGT gear or to shop online visit DetroitGT.com.

By Adam J. O’Connor

HAZEL PARK ART FAIR RETURNS THIS AUGUST, bringing the family-friendly art fair with a variety of artwork to Green Acres Park for its eighth year. To be eligible for the Hazel Park Art Fair, works must be original and crafted by the artist. Vendors of mass-produced work will not be accepted.

The 2019 Hazel Park Art Fair includes a variety of local and regional fine art and craft art vendors. The work represented showcases oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, pencil, ink, and marker illustration, wearable art, sculpture, photography, multi-media art, crafts, jewelry, ceramics, metalworking, textiles, house decor, poster art and more.

“The Hazel Park Arts Council tries its hardest to provide a welcoming environment to artists in our community and support our first-time vendors (some 20 percent of the registered artists have not presented at HPAF before) to make their first art fair a positive experience,” says Amy Aubry, Treasurer of the Hazel Parks Arts Council. “We are always looking for ways to include more art forms and art-based experiences every year. Last year we had a mural painted during the event by local artist Carl B. Oxley and a wood sculpture carved on-site by local artist Gabriel Totzke (Bear Claw Woodcraft).”

By showcasing local talent, art fairs such as the Hazel Park Art Fair benefit the community individually as well as through its many local nonprofit efforts. As the Arts Council is a licensed 501(c)(3) nonprofit, all donations are tax-deductible. The Hazel Park Arts Council is committed to furthering artistic and cultural initiatives within the community. This is achieved through a number of avenues, including advocating local artistic initiatives as well as collaborating with the annual Hazel Park Art Fair. Sponsorship information is available on the event’s website. Also, it’s worth noting that if you’re a 501(c)(3) organization you qualify for a free 10’x10’ booth space.

THERE WILL ALSO BE A VARIETY OF ENTERTAINMENT – including live demonstrations – throughout the weekend. “Entertainment will be a selection of local music and bands,” says Charlie Rysenga, Co-Chair of the Planning Committee. “Last year we had 15 performers including a very chill Tai Chi lesson on Sunday morning. On Sunday the 25th this year, we will also have the DIA on-site for a ‘Drop-in Workshop’ from 11:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M., where attendees will have the opportunity to make tambourines!”

“We also have a great selection of food trucks,” Rysenga adds, “including Nosh Pit – who serve amazing grilled cheese – out of Hamtramck. The Arts Council will also be selling a selection of local craft beer, cider and mead as a fundraiser to support our work in the community.”

The overall goal of the Hazel Park Arts Council is to bring art – in all its various forms – to the community, and to make art accessible to everyone. While Hazel Park may be only three square miles in size and boast a population of less than 20,000, its citizens are very involved and community-oriented. Many small businesses line the streets and much support has been shown to both the Arts Council and the Art Fair itself over the years. Its proximity to Ferndale and location bordering two counties make it a perfect destination for art enthusiasts and those who appreciate small businesses and handmade items.

The Hazel Park Art Fair takes place at Green Acres Park off of Woodward Heights between Hilton and I-75 on Saturday, August 24 from 11:00 A.M. until 7:00 P.M. and on Sunday, August 25 from 11:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M. www.hpartfair.org.

By Sara E. Teller

COLOR & INK STUDIO WAS STARTED BY PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC LAW AND HIS WIFE AND VISUAL ARTIST CANDACE LAW. The couple opened a studio first in Berkley and, since September 2018 have been showcasing and supporting creativity in the arts from a new studio established in Hazel Park. For more than a decade, the Laws have been promoting creativity in Southeast Michigan.

“The building the studio now occupies was completely re-designed and renovated last year by Five/Eighths Architecture in Ferndale,” Eric Law said. “We wanted a place with a modern, industrial feel that would be welcoming and inspire creativity. The move to larger quarters provides us with an exciting opportunity to expand our programs and services for artists in Detroit and the metropolitan area.”

Law added, “We’re really excited to join the emerging art scene in Hazel Park and become part of the community with this wonderful new space. Hazel Park has an active Arts Council, and the residents are interested in and engaged with the arts. There’s been a lot of curiosity about what we’re about and everyone has been very welcoming.”

Color & Ink offers a space for creating photographs and other visuals that connect with viewers in different ways, providing learning resources and media services for the visual arts, teaching artists to expand their expression with new and non-traditional mediums, publishing and exhibiting work, and assisting artists in making their projects available online. There is a working photography studio where Eric photographs artwork for artists and galleries, creates websites, and publishes books. In her studio, Candace creates fine art primarily in encaustic and mixed media.

“We have dedicated space for teaching workshops in encaustic, mixed media, and photography, as well as hosting workshops by guest instructors in new and nontraditional mediums,” Law said. “Artists also can book individual studio time to work on their own projects, an affordable alternative to renting a studio full-time.”

He added, “We have a gallery for exhibiting the work of local artists, as well as a multipurpose space for artrelated meetings and educational events. For example, we host the monthly meeting of the Hazel Park Arts Council and hold a bi-monthly gathering of Detroit-area artists called Art:Dialog.”

Anyone interested in collaborating with Color & Ink can check out www.ColorInkStudio.com, visit their Facebook page @ColorInkStudio or call 248-398-6119. Program inquiries can also be sent to info@ColorInkStudio.com. Members of the community can check out the gallery, which is open weekdays from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. or by appointment.

“Exhibitions are usually up for six to eight weeks,” Law explained, adding, “Workshops in the second half of the year are still being planned. We’d love the opportunity to meet folks with an interest in the arts who live in Hazel Park. Our doors are always open for creative inspiration!”

JUNE 8
Berkley Art Bash
Presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce

JULY 13
Berkley Street Art Fest
Presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce

JULY 18
Couples Night Out & Robina Rhapsody
Presented by the Berkley DDA and the Berkley Junior Women’s Club

AUGUST 2
Art & About 1st Friday
Presented by the Berkley DDA

AUGUST 16
Berkley CruiseFest
Presented by the Berkley CruiseFest Committee

AUGUST 22
Robina Rhapsody & Downtown Sidewalk Sales
Presented by the Berkley Junior Women’s Club and the Berkley DDA

AUGUST 24
Berkley Pub Crawl
Presented by the Berkley Area Chamber of Commerce

SEPTEMBER 6-7
County Oakland IrishFest
Presented by County Oakland IrishFest Committee

OCTOBER 17
Friends Night Out
Presented by the Berkley DDA

By: Jeff Milo, Circulation Specialist

Reading Collective

The Ferndale Library is once again joining the libraries in Berkley, Huntington Woods, and Oak Park to collaboratively host a quad-city book club known as The Reading Collective. If you’ve participated in Community Reads events in the past, like “Ferndale Reads,” then it’s essentially the same format: Patrons from these four libraries will each pick up a copy of (Ann Arborbased author) Lillian Li’s The Number One Chinese Restaurant. As each patron reads along at home, they can meet up with other readers in other communities throughout March and April at several events and programs to be hosted at each library. On Thursday, April 11 (7 P.M.), at the Berkley First (Church), all Reading Collective participants can meet the author, get their books signed, and hear about her process of writing this novel. Follow us on Facebook for updates.

Synthesizers in the Library

Musician Henry Birdseye is coming back for a second presentation that takes you deep into the world of analog synthesizers. Birdseye is eager to share his love of the history and development of this music-making technology. On Sunday, March 24, he’ll share his interest in oldschool analog modular synthesizers, bringing in his magnificent instrument, showing you how it works, and talking about the science and evolution of electronic musical creation. He’ll be joined by local musician/ songwriter Steve Greene (of Voyag3r).

First Stop Friday

Poetic lyricist and “think piece” composer Chris DuPont comes to the Ferndale Library on April 1, part of the ongoing monthly First Stop Friday series. Dupont hails from Ypsilanti, Michigan, and is a seasoned veteran of the Midwest music scene, with several tours logged and a handful of albums that you can sample online. His hybrid finger-style approach to guitar-playing is a nod to classical minimalism, but creates delicate melodies that are sure to get you nodding your head. Chris is influenced by a wide range of artists and composers from Philip Glass to Tycho, from James Taylor to Ryan Adams to Oh Wonder. These free concerts are made possible by the Friends of the Ferndale Library. Doors open at 7:30 P.M. on April 1, with music starting at 8 P.M.

Native Plants

A member from the Ferndale Beautification Commission and the Ferndale and Pleasant Ridge Gardeners online group will be here on April 14 to give a presentation on Native Plants. The Ferndale/PR social media group that he represents is an outlet for gardeners in the area to find educational programming. This is the first of a three-part series; the next presentation will be May 19. Native plants not only provide habitats for birds and other wildlife, but they require far less water, which conserves resources (and lowers your water bill). You’ll find more updates on our Facebook page.

Crafternoon

Stop in on Saturday, April 20, at 2:00 P.M., to hang out with fellow crafters. Come with your current project and the stuff you need to work on it, or start something new. Enjoy hanging out and making with other crafters. We have plenty of tables and electrical outlets.

Art in the Library

On your way in or out of the library, make sure to peek inside of our Community Room. We regularly host six-to-eight week exhibitions of local artists, with up to eight unique shows throughout the year. Our next one will be on display starting March 24.

1000 Books Before Kindergarten

The Ferndale Library’s “1,000 Books Before Kindergarten” program is a fun DIY way for parents to cultivate kindergarten readiness. Participants are eligible right up until the day they start kindergarten, so that includes toddlers, but also babies. For every 100 books, kids receive a prize from librarians in the Kids Corner. 

Ferndalelibrary.org

On Facebook: @ferndalepubliclibrary

SAT-SUN JUNE 8-9 | DOWNTOWN ROYAL OAK

The Art of Fire: Clay, Glass, Metal

ONE OF THE COUNTRY’S 50 FAVORITE ART FAIRS, the Royal Oak Clay Show started 25 years ago as a project of the Oakland Community College. It was a cool and eclectic event. We’re told that artists would show up the morning of the show and choose their spot from what was left. No jury or curation. The only rule was that everything had to be made out of clay. 

By 2000, the ownership of the show had transferred to the Royal Oak Chamber and they were interested in updating it into a juried art fair. A group of artists met and decided that they should add glass art to the mix. After all, they were quite similar, and it would add some variety to the show. Other than experimenting with music and layout the show stayed pretty consistent from then until 2009 when the group decided to add metal.

Metal was a popular addition. The focus remained on art created with flame and all three mediums lent themselves to dramatic demonstrations. Sunshine Artist Magazine designated the show one of the top 100 nationwide in 2010. A few years later Art Fair Calendar designated it a top 50 show.

Last year the show committee decided that it was once again time to refresh the show. The new name, Art of Fire, emphasized what makes this show unique. The show doubled down on demonstrations and hands on activities, with dramatic flame-filled action. A group of fire performers added related entertainment. Each of these areas will be returning, and there will be more and larger demonstrations. This year the plan is to add in more hands-on project activities for those that want to experiment in these mediums.

THE SHOW IS STILL TRUE TO ITS ROOTS of showcasing artists from across the country. Some new attendees start out wondering how there can be 120 artists in just three mediums without many things looking similar. They come away impressed by all the ways that minerals and flame can play out in functional and decorative art.

The Art of Fire is June 8-9 on Washington Street in downtown Royal Oak. Show hours are 10 AM until 7 PM on Saturday and 11 AM until 5 PM on Sunday. Admission and demonstrations are free as are many of the hands on art projects. Some projects have a small fee. Juried artists will be selling functional items such as mugs, glasses and jewelry as well as decorative art, with everything focused on the clay, glass and/or metal elements. More information is at www.artoffirero.com.

FRI-SUN | SEPT 20-22 | DOWNTOWN FERNDALE

Funky Ferndale Art Fair

By Eve Doster

FERNDALE’S DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY describes the city’s commercial district as a place that “continues to exceed expectations and maintain the economic vitality of the district.” It’s no surprise then, that the DDA has such a longstanding relationship with the Funky Ferndale Art Fair, a popular annual juried art fair that celebrates its sixteenth anniversary in Downtown Ferndale this year.

Funky Ferndale has had nearly two decades to perfect the signature “edginessmeets- high-end-art” mien that has made it a popular destination for art fair fans, families, and serious art collectors alike. It has become a mainstay in the evolving Downtown Ferndale festival scene; and, not unlike the DDA who helps to make it all possible, Funky Ferndale has exceeded original expectations.

“When we first started off, we just wanted to bring original artwork to the people of Ferndale, who we’ve always considered culturally curious and progressive,” says event producer Mark Loeb of Integrity Shows. “We feel a strong bond with folks from this community.”

The event’s continued success has made it one of the more competitive art fairs in the region–which means that the 100 (or so) artists who are handpicked to show are selected from hundreds of submissions from independent artists from all over the United States.

The artwork ranges in scope, medium and price; which makes it ideal for art lovers searching for everything from rare Halloween decorations and handmade holiday gifts, to serious buyers looking to grow their fine art collections. It’s a fun and easy way to support independent art and an even better way to meet the artists themselves.

AND WHILE FUNKY FERNDALE’S JURORS ARE CHARGED with handpicking a broad spectrum of the most interesting art they can—make no mistake, this is one art event that does not take itself too seriously. In addition to the affable nature of event organizers themselves, Funky Ferndale is not afraid to get a little weird. Take for example past-featured artists like the Florida man who handcrafted Australian wind instruments called digeridoos or Zachariah Ribera, a creative thinker who made art from molted spider skins.

“We really take into account whether or not the artwork is ‘funky,’” says juror Kelly O’Neill. “It’s the lens through which the all the selections are made.” To be sure, attendees appreciate the opportunity to buy one-of-a-kind art that they can’t find anywhere else. And in some cases, it’s precisely the reason they come back year after year.

“I always do early Christmas shopping here because I know I can buy my friends and family gifts they’ll love and feel good about receiving,” says Funky Ferndale Art Fair patron, Amy Surdu of Detroit. “There’s an intangible value to buying gifts that were made by hand and with passion.”

Indeed, it’s no mistake that Loeb selected Downtown Ferndale as the place to hold his “funky” event all those years ago…and it’s no mystery why he remains. “Ferndale is an eclectic and unusual town that deserves a more interesting art fair,” Loeb says. “We believe that art shouldn’t just sit there looking pretty, it should invite conversation.”

The Funky Ferndale Art Fair is Friday, September 20 – Sunday, September 22 in Downtown Ferndale. Hours are Friday 3-7 P.M.; Saturday 10 A.M.-7 P.M.; and Sunday 11 A.M.-6 P.M.

Deadline for artists to apply is Friday, May 17, 2019. Online applications available at: bit.ly/ApplyFFAF19