Is There Still a Place for Young Artists in Old Town?

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By Kaelin Roberts
Old Town Staff Writer

Old Town has an expanding art scene supported by local artists in the area.  

“Old Town has one of the largest concentrations of artists (galleries, boutiques, design studios, video productions…etc) in this area,” said Louise Gradwohl, an intern at the Old Town Commercial Association.

Gradwohl said the art scene in Old Town is thriving because of the numerous artists.  They have many events where young artists have opportunities to get involved.

“We have Scrapfest in the summer. Teams form and have the opportunity to create anything out of scrap metal they find in Friedland’s scrap yard,” said Gradwohl.  “It’s a great opportunity for artists, welders, family and friends to come together and create an amazing sculpture that is then auctioned off at Festival of the Sun.”

Gradwohl said the artists get a portion of the auction price and have great exposure to community members who might be interested in more of their artwork.

Katie Holcomb, the owner of Absolute Gallery in Old Town, said there are many up and coming artists active in Old Town and that there is definitely still a place for more.

“As a gallery owner, I am always willing to look at new artists’ work seeking the next greatest artist for my shop,” said Holcomb.  “Several gallery owners are also working to put together an event for March 2012 focusing specifically on new artists.  This event will feature breakout sessions talking about intellectual property and copyright issues for artists.”

Holcomb said new artists need to know how to best market their work. They also need to learn how to take the best photos of their work and how to approach galleries and what to expect from them.

Brittney Hoszkiw, former Executive Director of the Old Town Commercial Association, said Old Town’s art scene is unique because it is lead by local artists and that many of the events held in there cater to emerging artists.

Amy Moore, the co-owner and the creative director of the Redhead Design Studio in Old Town, said that art is alive and flourishing in Old Town but there still could be improvements made. “A greater link to the art community on campus, perhaps with shared events would be great,” she said.

Holcomb said Lansing and mid-Michigan need to look at the overall development of the community rather than competing against itself.

Moore said several of the art galleries worked together to start art fairs in Old Town in July and September.  The fair will offer booth prices that are affordable so new artists can participate.

“I know many who have gotten their start and/or been able to grow their following via their presence in Old Town — Barb Hranilovich and Erika Majors are a couple of traditional artists who have been successful here. Redhead’s own Dario Corsi is a talented illustrator, and there are at least a dozen very talented young designers in Old Town,” said Moore.

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