Looks like 2021 has begun with a bang

How do we respond as artists to all this craziness swirling around us?

Artists are the ones who make interpretations of the world, although not in the same way as journalists. Some of us will provide calm beauty to help soothe the anxiety. Others will express the stresses, madness, loneliness, loss or divisions we are experiencing, giving some reassurance that we’re not alone. Still others will add to the clarion calls for a better world for ourselves and our children. All are much needed.

Maybe you’ve experienced a kind of artist’s block – with deadline after deadline of interesting and normally inspiring calls for art slipping by without applying, while your workspace gathers dust? You’re not alone in that, either.

Art by Our January Speaker, Barbara Melnik Carson

In the end, community is the most important resource for getting us through all this. Huron River Art Collective isn’t a huge, well resourced institution or a stone clad building with columns. It’s really about us, the artists supporting each other, talking together, learning, being surprised, laughing… This is the project we’re engaged in.

Empowering Women Artists  –  NEW! The first of our discussion series this Tuesday, Jan 12th.  An informal conversation will be based around “What Does Art Have to Do With the Coronavirus?

ArtShare – Let’s Talk Photography – Speaker: Joseph Lee. Whether you’re an amateur, professional, hobbyist, or enthusiast, all are welcome to join the conversation on all things photography. Wednesday January 13th, 06:00 PM – 7:00 PM. We also look forward to Joe Lee sharing more about his life and photography as our Speaker Series presenter in March! This event is for members only –

Speaker Series: Sculptor Barbara Melnik Carson. Monday, Jan 18th. Don’t miss out – this one is proving very popular!

Our big focus at the start of 2021 is to build out a calendar full of interesting, inspiring, informative and fun opportunities for our members and friends. If this sparks a thought, or if there’s an idea you’ve been mulling over for a while for a talk, a workshop, a critique group, a social event, a Grand Scheme – get in touch. Don’t worry if you’ve been avoiding Zoom, or you’re not sure who might be interested. Don’t worry that you’re too young/old/unskilled/unknown/short or any other reasons you might dream up not to send an email or pick up the phone!

Send us your questions, comments, thoughts about your art making experience in the last several months, your hopes or intentions for the future, etc. 

Share art, tips and friendship in our members’ Facebook group (join it if you haven’t yet!) Follow and invite your friends to like our public Facebook page .

Follow on  Instagram and tag your art posts @huronriverartcollective
Have this blog emailed to you – sign up on the webpage.

Sophie Grillet, Communications Chair | sophiegrillet at gmail

Thanks, 2020 – and GOODBYE!

This painting by Pam Diulio and Karen Jenkins, depicts real people. The Doctor and ICU nurse work at the U of M Hospital. The nurse who cares for with Covid Patients is Karen’s daughter; the fireman is from Monroe and the police officer is Pam’s nephew. 

Pam and Karen’s painting reminds us how artists can embed and strengthen ideas in the minds of the public. We can create images, whether direct or allusive in support of all the heroes: the visible and the invisible, the obvious choices and the unsung, and see where we can do our part in ensuring they all get their due in appreciation, respect and compensation! Of course the greatest respect we can offer is in not piling more work onto them.

Few of us will be sorry to see 2020 dwindle in the rear-view mirror, but there are some things about it we should grasp onto. There was the clean, quiet April and May, when we could wander in the street, watching kids doing wheelies on their bikes and hearing birdsong clearly. Then there was the national uprising following the killing of George Floyd – not a unique instance, except in the overdue response to it, sparking a national conversation about racism. There was the discovery that not everyone needs to commute, and there’s no excuse not to hire people whose disability makes commuting impossible of just inconvenient.

Artists and people connected with the Arts seem to be in the forefront of responding to these 2020 events, wanting to run with the moment and enter a new era. We at Huron River Art Collective held an exhibition, Racial Dialogs Through Art, viewable online. If you feel inspired to send words or pictures or a combination to keep the discussion around race, equity and climate change at the forefront, — or if you want to talk about something else — we’d love to hear from you.

In January, the prolific sculptor Barbara Melnik Carson will be our speaker at 7pm on Jan 18th Register Here for the zoom event.

New name, The Current

Don’t forget to add your email on the right of this page, if you’d like our Blog – to be renamed The Current in January – arriving in your inbox.

— Sophie Grillet, Communications Chair sophiegrillet at gmail

A story worth sharing

Joan Witte conducted a National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) fundraiser over a single week in the summer. Donors could choose one of her paintings as a gift. All of the paintings are now spoken for, and over $3,000 was raised for the Alliance. Here is the story of Joan’s son, whose life ended with his suicide in November 2019.

The event was called Between the Comments, and was in memory of her son, Nathan Vallee.   The majority of the paintings were created during the COVID-19 quarantine. If you or anyone you know may be at risk of suicide, please make sure they have the prevention line number, 1-800 273 8255, and don’t be shy to voice your concern.

Currently, Joan’s work can be seen at the Huron River Art Collective shows at Sweetwaters in Ann Arbor, where three of her paintings have sold, as well as four at Joe and Rosie’s Cafe in Dexter, showing through February 15th.  Joan promoted these exhibitions in advance on her Facebook page, Raven Loon Studio

Sign up to receive this blog in your inbox the minute it’s published!

To volunteer with the Collective, ask a question or send a story, message us through our Facebook page or Group, or email SophieGrillet at gmail. Ask your artist friends to January’s talk, and to join!

Our mission is to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for a diverse community of artists to share knowledge and opportunities that promote individual excellence, collaboration, inspire new creative perspectives, and offer engagement with the public to foster participation, appreciation, and support of the arts.

— Sophie Grillet, Communications Chair

sophiegrillet at gmail