New Art Tour Provides Great Local Art in a Variety of Venues
There is a new wind blowing in the Ann Arbor art scene.
Cara Rosaen, a ceramic artist at Yourist Studio Gallery, noticed the second weekend in December was a popular weekend for art shows in the city, “We didn’t realize just how many shows were really on that weekend,” said Rosaen.
To connect those already scheduled shows, Rosaen and other artists at Yourist started their own art tour.
The Winter Art Tour, raised some money (securing Washtenaw County Visitor’s Bureau as their lead sponsor) and connected eight other venues to be a part of the Tour.
The Winter Art Tour, a collaboration across Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, from December 9-11, features over 350 artists which (with a few exceptions) are local Washtenaw County people.
Guests coming to see the art carry a “Passport to Art” to be stamped at each venue. (Passports are available at all participating venues and online at www.winterarttour.org). Individuals that attend 4 out of 9 shows are entered to win one of the 15 pieces of art made and donated by artists from the Tour.
“We liked the idea of connecting Ann Arbor and Ypsi together and getting people to travel across the great divide. And we wanted people to go to small intimate spaces,” Rosaen said.
They wanted to create something new: an artist-focused art tour without the expensive and limiting booth fees of other festivals, a tour that would get people to go to both large and small venues for an intimate look at the artist’s life and work, a tour that would introduce and financially benefit local artists so that they could afford to be your local artists.
Current spoke with a sampling of the participating artists spoke about their work. They are waiting to meet you on the Tour.
Yourist Studio Gallery
1133 Broadway St. | Ann Arbor
Venue Artists: 16
Cara Rosaen started her own business in Ann Arbor four years ago. With the intensity of the “start-up world,” her health plummeted. Pottery was her lifeline, “It was, ‘I need my hands in the mud because I need to be grounded.’ It was really simple. I need it because it makes me sane. For me, it is whatever my body needs at that point to feel more whole,” she said.
She enjoys that clay is so tactile and forgiving. “I just hate precision. With clay if you mess up, you just pat it back together again.”
The most exciting part of the process for her: “I’m most alive when I’m on the edge of disaster. It could go all really wrong. I love taking something like a perfect cylinder and then mess it up, but make it look like a human actually touched it. I’m obsessed with texture. It is endlessly fascinating. I love creating things that demand to be touched.”
The Riverside Arts Center
76 N. Huron St. | Ypsilanti
Venue Artists: 80+
When Cre Fuller bought his house in Ypsilanti, he couldn’t afford art for his empty walls, so he started making his own. He’s always been intrigued by robots and the 1950’s aesthetic, that vision for the future. He started making metal robots with functional glowing eyes as gag gifts for friends and was encouraged to do an art show. “I put my glass jewelry supplies in a box and turned that studio into a robot lab.”
A big part of Fuller’s process is the use of found materials, “I like stuff that is broken, forgotten or lost. I don’t buy new stuff. It’s the digging down into those dirty dusty oily boxes that someone pulled out of Grandpa’s garage.”
It’s been 16 years since Fuller’s first robot and now he has a studio in his own garage. He calls his space a wonderful mess, full of his treasures from hunting through antique and recycle shops. “I don’t know if I like making or finding more.”
Fuller builds in a methodical way, working on only one robot at a time. He starts with the lamp eyes, both for the functional reason, the wiring, and also as a starting point for their personality. “All I want to do is to make more. That is where I find my little zen moments. I’m a tinkerer. You just have to engineer it. I don’t like to manipulate the parts too much. I want people to recognize the parts, but at the same time at a certain distance, not to see them at all.”
Front Porch Textiles
1219 Traver St. | Ann Arbor
Venue Artists: 7
“If you asked me 30 years ago if I would be weaving, I would laugh. I was sewing at the time. I thought weavers were these really neat mystical people,” said Mary Underwood. “I couldn’t afford a working wardrobe, so I made all of my own clothes. I loved fabric from the beginning. I can feel it and know what it can be.”
Weaving found her niche on her honeymoon. On a walking tour in a remote part of Italy, she made her way to fabric stores. One fabric in particular caught her eye, “One of the fabrics was made with a semi-felted yarn. It was really unique with enlarged threads. It was like nothing I had ever seen. I got the last of the bolt and thought I would never see the fabric again. Then I thought, ‘Well I can see how it’s made!’”
Underwood, weaving since 1995, built her own studio in 2009. “The studio was built with the intention of being an art piece itself.” Underwood began her career collaborating with other artists and often invites people into the studio. “It’s a fun place to work and a fun place to invite others. You walk into the life of the artist for a few minutes. I enjoy sharing that with people.”
Underwood had a particular vision for her space, which inspires her. “There are two things that drive me in the morning: the thought of grinding coffee beans and getting over to the studio. It’s endless, the possibilities for playing over there.”