Tag Archives: Ferndale

Latest exhibit at Lawrence Street has ‘Some Strings Attached”

Stephanie Sokol for Digital First Media

Alice Frank combined her favorite artistic elements — watercolors, fired enamel on metal and stitching — to create unique pieces in her latest exhibit “Some Strings Attached.”

“These works are my own recipe — I have never seen anything like it,”

One of Frank's works, Willy B. Threadbear.

One of Frank’s works, Willy B. Threadbear.

Frank says. “I tried to experiment and see if I could add all the ingredients I enjoy into my paintings, and I am really pleased with my results.”

With this exhibit, she wanted to make something fun and interesting for both herself and observers. Working on multiple pieces at once, she created her works by firing metal as much as 20 or 30 times to achieve certain colors, then working it together with watercolor and stitching.

In addition, this exhibit also showcases fired enamel tabletop sculptures, and fun projects like her homemade string teddy bears with clever names such as Willy B. Threadbear and Vera Threadbear.

This work is unique artistically, and her goal with it is to bring people happiness.

“When people look at my art, I want them to smile,” Frank says. “I think smiling can never be overdone. I want people to feel that the pieces they’re looking at and viewing are things they want to look at a little more.”

Frank said the works in this collection just came to her. Describing her art as “whimsical,” she says inspiration can be triggered by something simple she notices in everyday life, or from the influence of others.

While teaching in Michigan, New York and New Jersey, as well as at Seoul National University in Korea for a year, she has seen different ways of life by visiting new places, and been exposed to different ideas in the art of her students.

“Going to a new place for travel or work, I’m always looking around to see what’s there,” Frank says. “The colors and the light are different. Depending where I am, I might carry my sketch notebook. It could be the way light is shining on a building, or how some dishes in a cafeteria are lined up in a way that they become shapes in my mind. It’s kind of an abstract, difficult thing to explain. I also get a big kick out of watching kids create.”

For Frank, creating art is rewarding and relaxing. She says time flies when she’s working on a piece.

She tries to create her pieces in a way that makes people take a second look, adding details that will be found when someone is paying attention and really taking in the art.

After 25 years exhibiting at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs and other high-end art shows, fighting the elements of Michigan weather, Frank says she now prefers to take her art to smaller, indoor venues.

Recently, she’s shown at the Janice Charach Gallery in West Bloomfield with the Michigan Watercolor Society, at Michigan Fine Arts Competition in Bloomfield Hills and OUR TOWN Art show in Birmingham, to name a few.

She has also put her art on display at other places in six to 10 exhibits a year around Michigan and also making home visits to help people decide on the right painting to purchase.

“Art should be a feeling you have in your mind and heart. It should make you feel good about it, whatever it is,” Frank says. “Whether it’s a funny thing or a serious thing, it has to speak to you. I don’t put anything in my shows that doesn’t speak to me, so when it speaks to other people, that gives me a really good feeling.”

“Some Strings Attached” runs Nov. 4-28 at Lawrence Street Gallery, 22620 Woodward Ave., in Ferndale. The opening reception takes place 6-9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, and the mid-month reception is 6-9 p.m. Nov. 20.


History of the Woodward Dream Cruise

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

What started as a small fundraiser for a soccer field has grown into the world’s largest automotive event, bringing more than one million people to Oakland County. This year marks the 19th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

In August of 1995, retired plumber Nelson House was setting up fundraising to create a local soccer field. He contacted Jean Chamberlain, who later became the Cruise founding president, about his idea for “Cruising in Ferndale.”

FYI: The Woodward Dream Cruise draws nearly 1 million classic cars fans for 18 miles along both sides of Woodward Avenue, from Ferndale to Pontiac. This year’s event, on Aug. 17, again will feature the “Dream Cruise In Shoes” 5K run/walk on the morning of Dream Cruise in Royal Oak. Browse through all Woodward Dream Cruise merchandise online at www.shopwdc.com.

“It sounded like there would be more cities interested than just Ferndale,” Chamberlain said. “I gave (House) the numbers of the chamber directors on the route to Pontiac, and he called them and set up a meeting. That was how the Woodward Dream Cruise was born.”

The Michigan Department of Transportation and Oakland County Sheriff’s department partnered with the cities in the beginning to help the event run smoothly, Chamberlain said. The first year the non-profit automobile event was hosted, it received a lot of response from people around the country.

“We decided that if we got 25,000 people, it would be a huge success,” Chamberlain said. “The first year we had 250,000 people.”

Chamberlain said the Cruise started out small, quickly growing to be known worldwide and sponsored by advertisers. The board splits money with the cities the Cruise goes through, including Pontiac, Bloomfield Hills, Royal Oak and Ferndale.

Driving up and down Woodward Avenue was popular before the Cruise was created, however. Former Madison Heights resident Terry Bistue has been driving down the road since he was young, participating in the Dream Cruise from its start as well.

“Back in the ’60s, I was a weekend warrior,” Bistue said. “Every Friday and Saturday night I would go cruising up and down Woodward. I worked at a gas station on Woodward as a teenager, so it’s always kind of been part of my life.”

The owner of a ’67 blue Chevy II, Bistue said the cruise started out as people driving up and down the street like he used to, though it has evolved past a simple cruise to more of a party.

The Cruise has grown more commercial, with businesses and vendors putting on parties and the Big Three sponsoring activities and entertainment, though he said it is still a lot of fun.

“It’s always an experience to go because every year you see something you’ve never seen before,” Bistue said. “The one thing about it is you get people from all over the world coming to Woodward. All kinds of cars, from junky things that people find out in a field, to quarter million or million dollar cars, you see a lot of variations. It’s always special to the guy driving it, it’s theirs.”

While the cruise has evolved since its start, with additions like corporate involvement the weekend is still reminiscent of the ’50s and ’60s when people took their cars for a spin down the street.

“It’s a chance to see a happy face on the Detroit area,” Chamberlain said. “People hear horror stories about Detroit not being safe, with bankruptcy and everything. It gives us a chance to show off our city, the region, and certainly Oakland County.”

Audio expert Vintage King hosts 20th anniversary party

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Ferndale-based music equipment company Vintage King Audio will celebrate the store’s 20th anniversary at The Loving Touch bar on Thursday, Aug. 1.

Founded by Brothers Michael and Andrew Nehra in 1993, Vintage King started

Brothers Mike and Andrew Nehra founded Vintage King Audio. Photo courtesy of Vintage King

Brothers Mike and Andrew Nehra founded Vintage King Audio. Photo courtesy of Vintage King

in Detroit, where they ran the White Room recording studio and performed in band Robert Bradley’s Blackwater Surprise.

 FYI: The celebration takes place Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. Guests can RSVP to the free event by visiting www.vintageking.com or liking Vintage King on Facebook. The Loving Touch is 22634 Woodward Ave. in Ferndale.

“What really sets us is apart is that we have a passion for what we do, and we are really involved in music — it’s not just a job,” Mike Nehra said.

The vintage music equipment sales started out as a side venture Michael and Andrew did to earn extra money, after doing it to gather their own equipment. But after meeting musicians, it evolved into a business.

Notable musicians the Nehra brothers worked with for The White Room included Kid Rock, Bob Seger and other Detroit artists, but they closed the studio three years ago to focus on Vintage King.

Vintage King provides consultation, repair and sales of more than 250 brands of new and vintage gear, personalized for each musician.

Locally based, the company has expanded nationally to Chicago, New York City, Nashville and Massachusetts, but its Michigan workers still make up the company’s majority.

The staff is made up of musicians and producer-engineers who are acquainted with local musicians and bands, and have a passion for the products, Nehra said. Knowledgeable about the gear, the workers help musicians with services ranging from equipment selection to designing an entire music studio.

“It makes us feel really good to employ such a quantity of people in the local community. Through the ups and downs of the economy, even in 2008, we’ve never laid off anybody,” Mike Nehra said.

“We’ve always believed in the future and kept our staff fully intact in believing we would grow. We’re becoming more of a leader in professional audio equipment sales, and it feels good to be based out of Ferndale and Detroit, giving people a living off of what we’ve created.”

The celebration at the Loving Touch features a night of drinks with local music and mingling. A deejay set by Good Music Gentleman will be followed by a short live-rock performance by the band Bars of Gold, featuring Vintage King Employee Scott Lulianelli on guitar, to end the night.

“The fun part (about Vintage King) is meeting all of the various people we work with,” Mike Nehra said. “Everybody’s needs are different. Being able to help them and advise them, and them trusting our opinion of what type and flavor of gear they should use to create their artistic vision in the recording studio — it feels really good to be able to advise them.”

Art Birmingham to brim with color during Mother’s Day weekend

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

With more than 150 juried artists, the annual Art Birmingham Fine Art Fair will happen during Mother’s Day weekend in downtown Birmingham’s Shain Park.

Art Birmingham this year runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 11, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, MayÊ12. Visit http://theguild.org/art-fairs/art-birmingham/Êfor more information. Photo/ART BIRMINGHAM

Art Birmingham this year runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 11, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, MayÊ12. Visit http://theguild.org/art-fairs/art-birmingham/ for more information. Photo/ART BIRMINGHAM

Hosted by the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and the Guild of Artists and Artisans, works by national and local artists include paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry, glass, wood, sculpture, mixed media, fiber and metal. The event is a fundraiser for the BBAC.

“We are so thankful to the city of Birmingham for allowing us to return to Mother’s Day weekend for Art Birmingham,” BBAC President Annie VanGelderen said. “(Art Birmingham is) a very long-standing tradition to celebrate art, downtown Birmingham and, of course, the beautiful Shain Park.”

While the BBAC promotes art education, the guild encourages art and supports local artists. One of this year’s new fair features, the Art Activities Tent, will provide children 12 and younger the opportunity to make colorful pinwheels as well as a pocketed accordion keepsake book for a mother or special person in their lives.

Art encourages children to express themselves and create, said Max Clayton, executive director of the Guild of Artists and Artisans.

“The BBAC and Guild share a common mission: keeping visual art alive and vital in the community,” Clayton said. “The Guild side of that is that our mission is to help artists make a living. That’s our commitment to our membership — that we’re going to create opportunities for them.”

Among artists, local artisans from the Oakland County area will bring their works to the art fair.

John Fitzpatrick, a Ferndale glass artist, has studied at many glass-blowing

John Fitzpatrick of Ferndale created this colorful glass artwork, which will be on display at Art Birmingham. Photo/JOHN FITZPATRICK

John Fitzpatrick of Ferndale created this colorful glass artwork, which will be on display at Art Birmingham. Photo/JOHN FITZPATRICK

schools, including Orrefors in Sweden. He runs a studio in downtown Ferndale.

Fitzpatrick said he has been a part of Art Birmingham for a long time, and likes the location and quality of work in comparison to other art fairs.

His glass blowing includes bowls, vases and other works, including perfume bottles and lamps.

Jeweler Beth North will be showing her work at Art Birmingham. Photo Courtesy/Beth North

Jeweler Beth North will be showing her work at Art Birmingham. Photo /BETH NORTH

Birmingham resident and artist Beth North has been creating jewelry for 16 years.

The owner of Beth North Designs, she does two Birmingham art fairs each summer, where she reunites with returning customers.

“I just love when people come up to me and say, I wore this and it inspired me,” North said.

North mostly likes to work with oxidized sterling silver, though she also creates trendy acrylic jewelry as well as chain-link purses. Her jewelry has been worn by

Photo courtesy of Beth North

Photo courtesy of Beth North

auto show models.

Lucia Lucas, a Bloomfield resident and Mexico City native, paints a variety of works.

She creates her art in oil, water color, collage and acrylic, and said her projects vary based on her mood.

A series of her collages spotlight Detroit, featuring famous people and buildings from the city, with words painted in to describe the subject.

Lucas will be featuring many works, including Detroit-inspired art. Courtesy/LUCIA LUCAS

Lucas will be featuring many works, including Detroit-inspired art.

“(Art Birmingham) is the only show I’m doing this year,” Lucas said. “Some years, I’ve done 12 shows in the summer. But I think I’m just going to stick to this show because I think the quality is good, and the people are interested in the works. It’s also close to my home and I like the park — it’s a great location.”

Events take place 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit http://theguild.org/art-fairs/art-birmingham/ for more information.

West Bloomfield artist exhibit at Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press

Folk art will be displayed at the Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale, as West Bloomfield artist Alice Frank presents her exhibit “Artful,” beginning Wednesday, May 1.

The gallery, run by the 27 resident artists, changes displays monthly. This month features Frank’s works, which she created in various media.

West Bloomfield Artist Alice Frank's exhibit "Artful" will be on Display at Lawrence Street Gallery throughout the month of May.

West Bloomfield Artist Alice Frank’s exhibit “Artful” will be on Display at Lawrence Street Gallery throughout the month of May. COURTESY PHOTO/ ALICE Frank

“I like folk art because you can create a feeling about something that might be local to a certain area,” Frank said. “It has a primitive but playful quality to it.”

Observing people and nature inspires Frank in her projects. She said art is a way for her to capture and remember the moment.

In addition to the Lawrence Street Gallery, The artist belongs The Michigan Watercolor Society, Farmington Artist Club, Michigan Guild of Artists and Artisans, Detroit Society of Women Painters, Crooked Tree Arts, Ohio Designers and Women in the Arts, according to a press release.

Frank has sold pieces to celebrity clients, including musician Bob Seger and actress Victoria Principal.

Elementary education was Frank’s original profession, after earning her bachelor’s degree from The University of Michigan in 1965. As a teacher, she incorporated art into her lessons. She provided other art education for children as well.

Frank says she loves working with children, “because they’re not swayed by any particular thing, they just go with the moment — they are pure and ready to absorb any ideas you may have.”

Frank produces art in a variety of media, including monoprints, fired enamel and metals, though she said watercolor is her favorite.

The folk works she created feature hand-painted paper and found objects united

"Africa" by Alice Frank. COURTESY/ ALICE FRANK

“Africa” by Alice Frank. COURTESY/ Alice Frank

in collage. She said she put a lot of thought into the pieces’ titles as well.

“I find her work to be very whimsical and different than any other artwork you see,” said J. Gordon Rodwan, photographer and Lawrence Street Gallery artist. “It’s sometimes abstract, sometimes whimsical. I like the way she uses images and colors, and her multimedia displays are quite awesome, very captivating.”

The exhibit will run throughout May at Lawrence Street Gallery, 22620 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, noon to 9 p.m. Thursday, noon to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. Call 248-544-0394 or visit www.lawrencestreetgallery.com to learn more about the gallery.