Art plays key role in Grand Ledge

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Art has played a prominent role in the Grand Ledge community for many years. Bridge Street, the main street of Grand Ledge, is filled with art shops everywhere. Stephenie Lapp of Ledge Craft Lane explains how her store impacts the commuinty.

“We’re a nonprofit run by a board of directors. We have over 50 million Michigan artists that sell their goods in this store all year round.” Lapp says, “Everything you are going to get is going to be from someone local in Michigan and it’s going to be made with their hands.”

Tam Wolf, a clay artist in Grand Ledge, sells her art at various stores throughout the city and wants to teach others how to do pottery.

Tam Wolf, an artist in Grand Ledge, shows off her artwork at Ledge Craft Lane. Photo Credit: Kenny Eaton

“I teach children and adults on requests one on one, or sometimes there’s three or four in a class, teaching workshops with clay and handwork.”

Wolf also gives back to the community by substitute teaching at local public and private schools.

“I’m the art teacher at Strange Schoolhouse. A one room schoolhouse still in existence. I also substitute for all the teachers at all the schools around Grand Ledge..”

Jamie Brownell, the owner of Weathered Nester Vintage Market, enjoys sharing her artwork with the Grand Ledge community because it is therapeutic to her.

“Art drives people. It makes me get through things in life. So I think people appreciate it when I make things people can buy and take to their homes.”

Stephanie Left shows off her glow in the dark work at her store Ledge Craft Lane. Photo Credit: Kenny Eaton

Times sometimes get tough for artists because of how the economy fluctuates. Lapp is experiencing that right now in her store.

“Pre-pandemic we were steady; I wasn’t worried about anything. Since COVID took over the world and destroyed everything; it destroyed the need for excess in people’s lives” Lapp says, “When you got kids, and you got things they need nobody needs an apron or nobody needs a painting board.”

Bronwell also recognizes the needs and wants. She thinks the importance of art is to make people happy.

The storefront view Weathered Nester Market. Photo Credit: Kenny Eaton

“I make jewelry so people can wear it. People like pretty things to put on and show off to the world.” Brownell says, “People just like pretty things, and I think that makes people happy. They don’t need it but they like to have it.”

Lapp is afraid this generation does not know how to do art and simple tasks that were important in her generation. She recognizes there will always be artists but is afraid technology is ruining the world.

“There is always going to be someone making something. We need to bring your generation and the new generations into using their hands to get them through this world.” Lapp says, “Someday someone’s going to turn off all the power and all of y’all are going to freak out.” 

Lapp is becoming hopeful that the art market is improving and people are going to buy more art again soon.

“Things are looking up. What’s great about us is we’re an industry that’s never going to die. There’s always going to be someone making something. There’s always going to be woodworkers, sewers and crafters.”

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