By Sara E. Teller
Photos by Bernie Laframboise
THE HAZEL PARK ARTS COUNCIL EXISTS “TO ENCOURAGE, DEVELOP AND FACILITATE AN ENRICHED CULTURAL ENVIRONMENT IN HAZEL PARK, to serve the art community by ‘making art happen’ through resources and connections, and to advise the city on the acceptance, purchases and integration of art into public and private development.” The Council hosts a number of events designed to promote community involvement in the arts. These events showcase the creations of local artists, and help to fund import-ant local charities. Several notable festivities occur throughout the year.
The Hazel Park Art Fair happens annually during the fourth weekend of August at Green Acres Park, behind the Department of Recreation located at 620 W. Woodward Heights Blvd. “The Festival celebrates the hard work and creativity of artists,” according to Council members. Artists are invited to rent booths to display and generate sales of their work. There is live music, and food and beverage vendors are available. Proceeds are donated to local charities, including the Hazel Park Promise Zone (which helps Hazel Park high school graduates with college tuition assistance and scholarships), Hazel Park Animal Control and the Hazel Park Library.
ArtOber Art Walk takes place annually in October. Art installations are placed throughout the city, including some interactive pieces. Participants can obtain a map from the Arts Council to view each exhibit, while entering various raffles to win prizes and learning about ways to participate with the Arts Council.
The Arts Council also partners with the Hazel Park Growers & Makers Market by hosting an arts and crafts booth. This booth includes free, hands-on activities for children during the summer months. The purpose of the arts and crafts booth “is to provide Hazel Park children with an avenue to express themselves through art, and to entertain and create a positive impression on local kids,” according to the Council.
The Annual Art Challenge encourages Hazel Park residents and students to participate in designing projects. The first annual challenge took place in 2016. The theme was the Sculptural Bike Rack Challenge, which encouraged participants to create functional pieces of art to showcase new growth and business investment in the community’s retail shops and entertainment, and specifically to celebrate improvements being made to local parks and bike lanes. The press release for the event stated the Arts Council sought “members of the arts and design community to submit a design solution for a sculptural bike rack that combines the idea of function with beauty.” The Council plans to reach out to Hazel Park schools and the art departments to recruit more student participation in the challenge moving forward.
The Hazel Park Arts Council participates in and subscribes to arts organizations throughout the state of Michigan. The Council develops strategic relationships with local art professionals, helps to facilitate grants and seeks out additional funding wherever available to promote artists and nonprofit organizations dedicated to the development of civic art in the city.
Current Council Chairs include Jeffrey Keeton, President; Charlie Rysenga, Vice President; Richard Gage, Treasurer; and Linda Yono, Secretary. Additional members include Andrew LeCureaux, Alissa Sullivan, Amy Aubry, Michael Pearce, Halena Fisher, Nina Cairo and Steve Gamburd.
Anyone interested in getting involved & volunteering their time to local art events and related causes should contact the Arts Council at firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer applications are also available at Hazel Park City Hall, in the City Manager’s office. The Council’s Facebook page, facebook.com/HazelParkArts, and Instagram, @hazelparkarts, provide detailed information on events.