Recently I interviewed the artist behind 8th Street Up Close, Lenore DePree. Her artwork was featured at the Holland Area Arts Council on June 23.
The first thing I asked her was her history behind her love for art, and the answer I received was amazing.
She discovered her passion for art when she was twelve years old, a Chicago kid living as an only child in the Kentucky Mountains. As a child, she attended a one-room school house for education while living in Kentucky, but school was not where she found that passion.
She mentioned to me that her grandfather was a portrait artist, however he passed before she was born. However, it was her grandmother that pointed out the artistic potential she saw in her. Her grandmother mentioned, after seeing some of her drawings, that she had the talent. Lenore was then given a set of oil colors and it took off from there.
By age 17, she had published a book and was painting and selling commercially. Lenore described to me that art is three leaves of the same flower: writing, painting and music. They are all ways to express yourself.
Flash forward to her most recent work. Lenore said that 8th street chose her. In April 2014, she was given a place as an artist resident at the Holland Area Arts Council and spent the next two years working on this series.
It was very concentrated work, and she would spend as much as four hours each day on her pieces. She would photograph different buildings and locations on 8th street and then would begin to paint. The point of it was to celebrate Holland and to have something very authentic to represent it.
I absolutely loved spending time getting to know this wonderful artist, and her work is something very amazing to see. She mentioned how she plans to paint local beaches next, so hopefully that will be something to look forward to seeing soon!
No one is ever too old to dive into their creativity. This seemed to be a theme of the Holland Area Arts Council’s newest edition, The Studio. Walking in, the first thing I noticed, other than the multitude of activities and options, was the amount of joy and playfulness that filled the entire room -- and not just from little kids.
The Studio includes a “Pond Life” photo wall by Mary Sundstrom, a puppet theatre, Texture Wall, made specially for the studio by Doug Lowe, Our Spinning Toys by James Cogswell, a Zen Wall, Squeegee wall, and Owl in Flight by Jessica Bohus.
At the grand opening of The Studio, Pat Williams mentioned her thoughts on the whole project. “I think that it is just a marvelous opportunity for the kids to express themselves. They are not worrying about getting dirty, and they can just enjoy themselves. Children of all ages can enjoy this!”
At the opening, not only were kids playing with the activities, but adults were getting their “hands dirty,” enjoying the many crafts that were available and playing with their kids.
I ran into a young girl named Ella Johnson who was there with her family, and she excitedly exclaimed that she loved spending time here and wanted to come back every day.
The opening of The Studio began with an opening reception followed by the grand opening day, in which at both snacks and refreshments were served and many people came excited and anticipating all that the new studio has to offer!
Ah the Holland farmers market; a downtown Holland tradition featuring fresh grown fruits and vegetables, homemade breads and treats, and fun activities for kids held every Wednesday morning.
On June 8th, the Holland Arts Council hosted one of these children activity events, a “Mr. Potato Head” crafting event. When learning about what this event is, I was told that it was one of the more popular events for kids that the Holland Area Arts Council hosts, and that in past years it was common for over 200 kids to come to the event.
Arriving at the event, the first thing I noticed was the amount of smiles on the faces of the people that were there, and not just the kids. Multiple tables were set up, each stocked with a multitude of crafting supplies and full of kids decorating their potatoes.
Listening in and talking to the children that were there, I was also informed that Mr. Potato heads were not the only thing that could be created, but flying potatoes, bugs, and even “potato people.”
Parents that came loved the fact that it was a great activity for their kids to get involved in while shopping around at the farmers market. Many described how they loved this idea of decorating potatoes and how it allowed for creativity to be expressed through their kids each individual creations. Overall, it was a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy!
“Desire and patience will take you anywhere you want to go.” This is a quote that poet Jamaal May said to the audience at a Visitor Writer’s Series conference held at Hope College, and to me it rings so true.
Hello! My name is Katie and I am one of the new interns for the Holland Area Arts Council! At the end of the spring semester, I was given the opportunity to be an intern at the Holland Area Arts Council for a “project based internship” geared towards creating a blog and a series of articles for the website.
When I received the email, about the position, I was waiting to board my four-hour flight home from California. Reading that email made the long trip so much better.
However, a realization came in; I know almost nothing about art. Though that was intimidating, I was and still am excited and willing to learn more about art, and to incorporate it with my writing.
To start off, I am not an art major, I am a Communications major. However, that does not mean that I am not creative. Creativity comes in all different forms and can mean multiple things to different people. Some people describe writing as a form of art. It takes the patience of putting together the details of a sculpture, the time that it takes to commit to a painting, and the willpower to create. Like Jamaal May said, you need to have a desire to go somewhere with you art, and the patience to follow through.
Internships are designed for the intern to learn and grow in their potential. After being given the list of events at the Art Council, I am so excited to be able to attend, get to know the people there, as well grow into the wonderful building and community that is home to all of this.
I also hope that through this blog, I will be able to grow in my writing, create articles that are fun to read and help to showcase all that the Holland Area Arts Council is about!
It’s mid October at the Arts Council, and naturally, every person that comes in is raving about ArtPrize and asking if I made it to see this painting or that sculpture at UICA or the GRAM or that restaurant on the corner of those two streets. And the answer is no.
No, I didn’t make it to Grand Rapids once during ArtPrize this year. I work at an arts organization in West Michigan, and I didn’t go to ArtPrize. Isn’t that a crime? I should probably be arrested.
I have reaons though — I promise! This is only my second summer in Michigan, and I’m just now getting used to the craze that is ArtPrize. I’m also in my first year of full-time work, and life is busy. Between work, friends and family I haven’t had a free weekend in months.
I know I’m not the only one — I’m sure there are other Hollanders and West Michiganders (those are the technical terms, right?) who didn’t make it to ArtPrize this year. Kids sports every weekend? Family in and out of town still? Last minute walks on the beach with the fall colors? I’m sure some of you have missed ArtPrize for one reason or another.
Or maybe you went to Grand Rapids, but did you see all the artwork? Or saw it, but it was only through a sea of heads, weaving in and out of people, getting shoved and stepped on? That’s what I thought.
I have one word for all of us: RePrize. You’re welcome.
RePrize will open in December — watch our website and the blog for more details about the artwork and Lakeshore artists that are being represented.
“To not feel like you don’t have to be limited to just one way of doing things. That’s the beauty of being an artist — you can reinvent yourself.”
Remember that food or drink you always thought you didn’t like? Maybe it was quiche, kiwi or wine. But one day someone encouraged you to try it again… You loved it. It opened up a whole new world of taste and flavor! How could you have been missing this?
That’s how coffee was for me — but more importantly, that’s how printmaking was for me. When I first took a class I hated it. The instructor, prompts and work I produced left a bad taste in my mouth. Two years later I had to take it again to finish my degree; this time, however, I had a new professor, new inspiration and a new series of editions that left me begging for more.
For me and countless others, printmaking is the medium that clicks. The vision, the process, the plate and the ink all come together to perfectly convey the idea.
That printmaking class re-formed me as an artist — I was reinvented.
Now, to my elation, the Arts Council is offering a series of workshops on different forms of printmaking — the perfect opportunity for you to reinvent yourself as an artist.
Maybe you’ve been working with the same medium for years, and the idea of stepping out at this point is intimidating. But the truth is that learning something new will expand the skills you have in your own medium and expand your creativity. One printmaker in Seattle encourages artists to “learn every process you can and learn how to combine those processes.”
Or maybe you’re like me. You’ve tried watercolor, oil, charcoal and pastel, but none of them have worked to express the idea or image or story you’re trying to convey. Bring your skills in painting, drawing and photography to this new medium. Experimenting with it will give you new layer of expression, and it just might click for you too.
Art is about exploration and experimentation. Printmaking is one way to explore. It is a hands-on craft that values the creative process — a real way to sink your fingers into art. You’ll find surprises happen — call them happy accidents. The contrast of the clean finished print and the messiness it took to make it will reward and satisfy.
The beauty of art is the endless possibilities. The beauty of being an artist is that you can change, adapt and grow your whole life. So why are you waiting? Reinvent yourself.
Holland Area Arts Council, Communications and Operations Manager
When the Holland Area Arts Council was just beginning, -- before we even had a building -- the organization leaders started a newsletter called Artline. In the spirit of our rich history, the Arts Council's new blog is titled Artline.