Art & Music

FOUNDED IN MAY 2015, THE HIGHLY RESPECTED FERNDALE COMMUNITY CONCERT BAND (FCCB) completed its fifth season this year, and has become one of Ferndale’s most successful non-profit non-profits and largest volunteer organization in the community, boasting more than 70 volunteer musicians.

The FCCB does not hold auditions, but does consider the experience and accomplishments of a musician when accepting a new member. All concerts are free, with donations gratefully accepted at the door. There are a broad range of volunteer musicians involved, ages 16 to 84, with various levels of skill and experience. FCCB members are music educators, amateurs, professionals and students. A few members have played in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on an as needed basis. Over 200 musicians have been a part of FCCB over the years, with each concert involving 70 or more musicians. The FCCB performs five concerts per season. When invited, the FCCB has added special performances, such as the NAACP 2019 National Convention performance, and other public events to their concert schedule.

In order to establish and manage this pivotal cultural band, two residents were selected to become members of the Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission in 2014. Both were chosen for their outstanding skills and experience: Tim Brennan (a Hamtramck High School music teacher and veteran of the U.S. Army Band) and Sharon Chess (a well-known community organizer).

Information received from the Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission’s public survey led Chess and Brennan, to organize the Ferndale Community Concert Band. They created a promotional Facebook page, as a call to action, listing a time and date for the first band rehearsal. They also consulted with retired Cass Tech Orchestra Director, Marc Haas, on how best to form a community band. In all, 105 people responded to the request for volunteer musicians.

ON MAY 5, 2015, THE FIRST REHEARSAL WAS HELD at Ferndale High School (FHS). Both FHS Principal Roger Smith and FHS Band Director Elon Jamison were very helpful, and allowed the band to use their expansive facility for rehearsals and concerts. Additionally, Ed Quick stepped up as the Artistic Director and Conductor of the FCCB. Chess recalls the evening of the first rehearsal very clearly: “Quick wasn’t confident there would be a good turn-out. We were expecting maybe 15-20 people to show up. But people kept coming through the door, and coming and coming!” It was an incredible ensemble of every instrument and player we needed.” Hope ensued.

Even though the concerts are free, the attendees are very generous with their donations. The cost to produce each concert is over $1,800 (which includes printing, recording, sound/lighting technician and conductor fees). To help further with fundraising, a bake sale is held at each concert. “We have some really good bakers in the band!” Chess added with a smile. Members of the local Senior Group, and the Memorial Foundation, Dick and JoAnn Wilcock, and David Chess, help with the bake sale and door donations.

Another source of donation comes from the FCCB Board members, who have purchased equipment, music, recording and sound equipment, and other needs for the band. A friend of a Board member donated an expensive Yamaha concert drum kit, then, after few years, decided to donate the set to the FCCB. Another example of generosity was by a philanthropic donor, Jeffrey Chess, who purchased over $12,000 worth of equipment for the band. Chess added that sometimes Ed Quick donates the cost of music, if the total is over the $550 music budget, allowed per concert or it is a special piece he does not want the expense to fall on the Band.

The Band has played and is invited to return to the Music on Belle Isle Group (MoBIG) River Blast! Concert series. MoBIG is a non- profit dedicated to returning summer band concerts to Belle Isle. MoBIG features community bands and orchestras from Southeast Michigan throughout their season. Part of MoBIG’s overall mission includes providing free concerts on Belle Isle (Sunset Point) during the summer months, at 6:30P.M. MoBIG is also involved with fundraising efforts to restore Belle Isle’s historic Remick Bandshell. Please visit their web site at www.mobigmusic.org for updated information.

Another project which has recently developed from the original FCCB is the M-1 Jazz Collective, led by Brennan. There are 18 members and a vocalist rehearsing regularly, with the goal of playing for smaller public or private events such as festivals, fairs, and weddings. Currently, they perform in the commons area of FHS, directly preceding the full concert.

CHESS REMARKED, “WHEN I WAS FIRST HELPING TO FORM THE BAND, I figured in five years’ time either we will be broken down or a great success. Every year we become more and more memorable. We continually improve our sound, and the cohesiveness of our ensemble. Other community bands want to play with us, or they want us to play events with
them, and we never miss an opportunity.” Many musicians, in fact, have come from other bands, and the FCCB’s warm and welcoming attitude helps.

I asked if they had encountered any major hurdles or disappointments over the years? Chess mentioned they asked the City to support the FCCB: “Not financially but to post our concert schedule on their website and in their city
newsletters. We continue to hope they will recognize the FCCB as an asset to the city. Ferndale should be proud of us!”

The FCCB is setting a strong, positive example to our community as a whole and providing us with excellent musical entertainment. We wish them many more years of great success!

Euchre fundraising tournaments are held on the fourth Friday of every month at The Ferndale Elks Lodge #1588: 22856 Woodward Ave, Ferndale.
Tournaments and band events are currently on hold due to health crisis.*
info@fcconcertband.org
www.facebook.com/ferndalecommunityconcertband

YES, YOUR FURNITURE MAKES YOUR HOME DISTINCTIVE, whether you shop at Ikea or the Art Van going out of business sale. Painting in just the right color furthers the statement. Now it’s time for the cherry on the top: The right art.

The Ferndale Arts & Cultural Commission (FACC) reminds you that there are many places in the city to select beautiful art. Long time favorites like the Lawrence Street Gallery shares Woodward with Level One Bank’s Community Arts Gallery. A more comprehensive list follows. Then, of course, there is the Funky Ferndale Art Fair and the DIY Street Fair (the DIY is canceled this year due to the health crisis).

What’s the difference between shopping at a gallery and at an art fair? Many art lovers do both as they each have an advantage. Galleries give you an ever-changing, carefully curated selection. You have one or two people that can learn your taste and preferences and help you find exactly what you are looking for. Many can even advise on the framing and matting, which can make a huge difference on how the piece appears.

Art Fairs are also curated, but don’t include the expert advice. Mark Loeb of the Funky Ferndale Art Fair suggests that there are some other advantages. “At art fairs you will meet the artist and have time for a conversation. I feel that a big reason people go to the fair is to get the full story of the art they plan to display. For example, when your friend comes by and admires your new sculpture, you can share the story of the artist. The experience of the art fair becomes a memory for you and your loved ones.”

Why not just buy art at those aforementioned furniture stores or even Walmart? You certainly could, and it likely will be simpler. You will have something that tens of thousands of others will also display. While not all art appreciates in value, no department store pictures ever will. And don’t forget that if you love art, supporting the artists becomes an important mission. Going to the shows is not demonstrating your love of art nearly as much as buying art. Only when you buy something do you actually support the artist, and allow them to continue creating.

What happens when your walls are full and there’s no space left on the floor? Many collectors rotate their art. Every month or season they replace a few items with another favorite. Others start buying smaller items that fit in between the cracks. Loeb suggests that the next step is to “replace your mugs, flower pots, dishes and more with items created by favorite artists. Why not have a table as individual as you are?”

By Sara Teller

JAI REDDY WANTED TO CREATE A COMMUNITY WHERE CHILDREN OF ALL ABILITIES, including his 12-year-old autistic son Arjun, felt comfortable learning and engaging. A community that provided support beyond traditional therapy options and allowed students to utilize whatever methods might best benefit them.

This led to the concept for LifeLab Kids in 2017 and, over the past two years, Reddy has worked tirelessly to develop the nonprofit, recruit experts in several differing therapy fields and remodel a 1950s church at 3178 Hilton Rd. into a state-of-the-art learning facility, which opened in February 2019.

“Basically, this place provides kids with a multitude of options that nurture their interests outside of the regular clinical therapy that’s available and quite popular out there,” Reddy says. “It’s not that everything we are doing is non-existent, it’s that you have to go out and find them in different places with a lot of driving around.”

THE FOCUS AREAS OF LIFELAB KIDS ARE RECREATIONAL, speech, music, art, occupational and technology therapies and life skills. Each of these specialties has its own dedicated space within the building. Mathew Bessette, MA, MT-BC, music therapist at LifeLab Kids, walks through each of the areas – starting with the music therapy room.

“Using music, I can find motivation within the student to work on things that are hard. It’s more motivating because of the activity you are doing and the reward of what you are producing,” he says. “Having a lot of instruments in that room gives us all kinds of different tools.”

There is a full gym used for recreational therapy and “building play and leisure skills” and an occupational therapy room for working on fine motor functions and sensory matters. The art therapy room contains three pottery wheels, a kiln and an entire plexiglass wall for finger painting.

“We have a giant space dedicated to art therapy. Bridgette Crockett (Counselor) is our art therapist, as well,” Bessette says. “She works a lot in emotion expression and uses art as her medium.”

THE MAJORITY OF THE DOWNSTAIRS SPACE AT LIFELAB KIDS is dedicated to life skills and technology and was designed to emulate an apartment.

“We have kids that need work on activities of daily living skills,” Bessette says. “If they need to stepwise learn how to do laundry, we have laundry machines. Or if they need to learn how to cook, there is a full kitchen and a dishwasher.”

Technology has been incorporated into the living room space and has a separate room dedicated to augmented and virtual reality (VR).

The expertise and collaboration of the therapists were one of the most important aspects of opening LifeLab Kids. There are nine therapists on staff now and that makes things happen at LifeLab Kids. Reddy is also conscious of the number of students they can take on, not wanting to exceed more than 60-70 students for the year of 2020.

Reddy says the next year will be focused on stabilizing programs and beginning their outdoor facilities. Their next open house will be December 13th and will feature holiday and Christmas sensory-friendly activities. All are welcome to check out the space and meet the team.

Families interested in touring or enrolling in LifeLab Kids can reach out by phone at 248-629-4600 or email contactus@lifelabkids.org.

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.”

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.