The second annual Artis Gras raised more than $3,000 for Salt Valley Arts, a non-profit community arts organization headquartered in the old Saline Community Hospital on Russell Street.
This year’s art show was inspired by landscape photography. Local artists chose from a selection of landscape photographs and then created art based on the photograph. The resulting art was exhibited last weekend – and most of it was sold in a silent auction.
Cindy Baxter, one of the leaders of Salt Valley Arts, said artists created pieces in many media.
“The work was incredible and varied. There were paintings in watercolor, pastel and acrylic. There were collaged pieces, jewelry, quilted wall hangings, fused glass and needled felted pieces,” Baxter said. “The talented and generous artists donated some truly inspired work.”
An estimated 125 to 175 guests visited the show. The auction raised a little more than $3,000. Patrons opened their wallets wide for some pieces.
Teri Patton’s beautiful watercolor entitled “Petoskey View,” inspired by Sue McDowell’s “Pure Michigan, 2018” photograph, received many bids and was the top seller. Another top seller was Michelle Sanford’s framed series of Mary Bowe’s photograph from Sleeping Bear Dunes. “Allure of the Beach” featured four hand-colored black and white prints of Bowe’s photograph, matted and framed with a matching colored piece of beach glass on each photograph.
Other top sellers included “Strength,” a pastel painting by Linda Klenczar, and “Water’s Edge,” an art quilt by Carol Pirkola, were inspired by Baxter’s photographs of fall colored trees and crashing waves on a Lake Superior beach.
In all, there were 56 works of art offered in the main auction and 10 pieces in a second section.
Artis Gras appears to be growing. Last year’s event featured 36 artists and this year’s attendance was heavier.
“I think Arti Gras is growing because it is an event about bringing together all kinds of people to be ‘part of the art’ and the community that is forming at Salt Valley Arts,” Baxter said. “Salt Valley Arts is a place to drop-in and work on your projects, a place where you learn new skills at all levels, and a place to share ideas.”
Money raised at the auction will support the activities of Salt Valley Arts – formed when Two Twelve Arts Center closed its doors in 2016. Those activities include art classes for children and adults, special events showcasing creative talent, and service projects benefitting organizations like Saline Area Social Service, Brecon Village and the Redies Center.
The next major public event for Salt Valley Arts is the Summerfest Craft Art Show in downtown Saline in August, Baxter said. The group has also started planning Artis Gras 2020.
“Get your cameras and cell phone ready to shoot some pictures for our next photo inspired art challenge: ‘Water, Water Everywhere,’” Baxter said.
Call for photos and artists to make inspired pieces will be coming out in September but there is no reason not to take up the challenge of shooting your best “water” photo starting now, Baxter said.
(Photos by Andrea Worthing)