Williamston bistro showcases student artwork with Michigan Youth Arts Festival

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Gracie’s Contemporary Bistro recently held the region eight Michigan Youth Arts Festival, displaying many pieces of artwork from the local schools.

K-12 art students in Ingham, Eaton, Livingston, Clinton, and Shiawassee counties created a variety of pieces, ranging from pottery to paintings.

The Michigan Art Education Association (MAEA) allows youth to submit and showcase their artwork, while then choosing winners in different regions.

Gracie’s Bistro chose to participate in supporting the students by allowing the pieces to be hung up and displayed all around their restaurant.


Dan Elzinga, a line cook at the bistro, was excited about the opportunity.

“We are a local business so anything we can do to support local people is fantastic,” Elzinga said.

The colors, shapes, and patterns of young artists are attracting more people into the restaurant. This doesn’t really surprise the workers, though.

“People are completely blown away by the talent of the students. The thing being though is the art fits right in with our vibe of a contemporary bistro,” Elzinga said.

The teachers of the students who submitted to the festival were nothing short of proud.

They held a viewing party and artist reception for the students, taking many pictures of the big reveal of their artwork hanging or placed in the restaurant.

Bar manager James Hodge said this was one of the best parts of the entire opportunity.

“Seeing those teachers put that much extra time and effort into their students was amazing. The viewing party was completely planned by the teachers for the students,” Hodge said.


Customers are recognizing how supportive the restaurant is and appreciating the effort. A regular customer at the bistro, Gena Gaudio, couldn’t stop smiling.

“I think it’s a really cute idea. It gives a sense of community and involvement which is perfect for this town,” Gaudio said.

The students’ artwork will be displayed in Gracie’s Contemporary Bistro through April 7.

Public viewing times follow the restaurant’s hours, which can be found on their Facebook page.

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