Small Town with a Big hEART!
Alpena is a lovely town with lots of shops, galleries, and art space. There are plenty of places to purchase hand made items like pottery, clothing, artwork, and glass. You can stroll downtown and stop for ice cream or a coffee right on Washington St. This place is booming with tourists in the summer time. In mid May we are not yet in season, it’s a little chilly (a lot really, 41º is FREEZING to this Floridian) and a little early for summer. But the town is surrounded by water and that’s pretty any time of year.
A Great Space
Art in the Loft Gallery 109 is where my class has been hosted this weekend. This unique space is on the top floor of an old Woolworth’s building, huge windows, creaky wood floors, lots of character. They are open as an event space if you find yourself needing to host a party or wedding reception.
Typically the common area is FILLED with art, as the Gallery 109 hosts art from all over the state from both professional and emerging artist, as well as students. This weekend the Gallery was between shows, so we didn’t have the benefit of perusing the artwork on our lunch break.
The Workshop Students
Ladies traveled from far and wide to attend my workshop this weekend, and as always I am humbled to hear just how far. Sarah drove 10 hours from Iowa to get here and she said it was totally worth it from the minute she walked in the door. Sarah’s a Physical Therapy assistant in her real life, this class is way outside her comfort zone. I told her she gets the gold star of the weekend.
Rita is local and her sister Wendy came home from Maryland to share the class with her. It was fun to listen to sisters share childhood memories, share art supplies, and enjoy their time together.
Pat is from Michigan but still drove several hours to get here. She gets the award for bringing the most unusual art supplies with her. Once she experimented with the Gelli Arts Printing Plate in class on day one, she went home and returned with all KINDS of good stuff to use with it. My class inspires creativity.
Darla used to live in Alpena but moved away when her husband secured a job with the University of Michigan some years ago. Her son Josh Woods is a tattoo artist in Nashville, he’s been featured on the show Ink Master on Spike TV.
I wonder if Darla has any influence on Josh’s appointment schedule? Hmmm.
Last night I took in a play at the Civic Theatre here in Alpena. This is a community theatre that is all locals on stage and in the audience. The production was 12 Angry Men. The Civic Theatre is small, there’s no bad seat in the house, and it was a full house!
I was lucky enough to sit next to the wife of Juror 10 (far right) who was very proud, excited, and a little nervous to be seeing her husband on stage. She told me that Alpena was a great little town and that she relocated here many, many years ago from Kentucky. Her husband was born and raised here. It’s always because of a boy, isn’t it? The part her husband played was the total opposite of his real life personality, she explained. “He plays biggot, an angry, and a loud man.” she smiled as she looked at me and said, “He’s none of those things.” I told her that she should be very proud, he did an amazing job. She was there tonight, late in the season, because he was too nervous for her to be in the audience on opening night.
Workshop Day Three
We have one more day of class, and this is where it all comes together. All of the Small Apple Exercises are coming along, but by tomorrow afternoon, the magic will happen. Typically I finish my class with a Show and Tell (we don’t call it a critique, that makes people too nervous) this gives everyone the opportunity to learn from one another. Students have all been working from the same reference photo so they truly can learn by examining how others solve similar challenges.
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggedy Jig
I’ll be here Sunday night to wrap up, clean up, and get some rest. I head back to Saginaw on Monday morning for a Monday night flight home to Orlando. I’m hoping to catch another friend and former workshop student for lunch who happens to live in Saginaw/Midland.
I love my job.
for being a part of my