OSCODA – Look around downtown Oscoda for local art displayed on signs. The first of what should be an annual art walk is now out.
Twenty-three works of art decorate the city. The Art Walk is the first run of its kind in Oscoda. This is a juried art exhibition where local professional artists come to exhibit their work with the aim of selling it.
In June, more than 47 entries were judged by Emmy-nominated Michigan artist Heiner Hertling. Hertling, who lives in Howell, came to Oscoda to judge the plays.
This year’s theme for the art was “Take Flight”, which involved themes of flight. Entries included flying animals, such as bats and birds, flying machines, such as airplanes, and even children flying on swings. It didn’t have to be literal, just evoking the meaning of “theft”.
The winners have been selected and by the end of the year, visitors to Oscoda can follow a route on a map to view the various exhibits.
The event is organized by the canton in collaboration with the Economic Improvement Committee.
“Art is essential to humanity, and our committee is proud to present these 23 pieces to the public eye, on display in the heart of downtown Oscoda,” said Heather Tait. She is part of the Art and Placemaking subcommittee of Oscoda’s EIC.
“Nothing like this has ever been done in our little corner of the world and we plan to make this the start of something that will continue to grow and evolve over time.”
Tait’s subcommittee presented their plan for the Art Walk to ICI in April, and due to their hard work and dedication, they were recognized and approved to begin work.
Their mission statement is to “facilitate a thriving arts community in the heart of downtown Oscoda, inspiring people to explore and discover art and fostering a shared pride in the Oscoda area.”
“We were blown away by our community’s response to the first Oscoda Art Walk event. It confirmed our belief that Oscodians know how important recognition of local art and artists is,” said subcommittee member Lain MacKenzie. “Art is a connector, a bridge that reminds us that we are all more alike than different deep down. So as long as we have the support of our city, we will continue our efforts to make Oscoda THE artistic destination on the Sunrise side.
The subcommittee’s goal is to be an “integrated destination,” meaning that it encourages visitors to Oscoda to walk around town to find the various art venues. Hopefully the traffic will generate business and make the city more aesthetic.
Artist Janice Dumas has been living in East Tawas for a few years now. Her time in the area inspired three paintings which she included in the walk.
“I like to paint landscapes, especially where there is activity. So that’s where the kiteboarders and the seagulls and all that go.
Dumas said she prefers to paint from nature, which means she paints subjects that fascinate her when she visits this part of the state.
As a visual artist, she enjoys studying her subjects, looking at them for hours at a time. She studies their forms and their movement to paint them better. She explained how her fascination with kitesurfers and their ability to launch themselves high into the air inspired her painting, “Soaring”.
“I like to go on the beach and watch the kite surfers. I will watch them for hours! The ones in the water, you can see a kind of wake that they leave. The one that is kind of hovering in the airs there, you get an indication of the movement there. I saw kitesurfers on the beach there soaring through the air. It’s really amazing.
Dumas said that incorporating subjects into art is best in odd numbers. She added three kiteboarders to the scene, all at different depths with their kites at different angles, providing a kind of symmetry and movement to the painting.
She prefers to take the conceptual approach to art rather than photographic translation, but is fine with using reference images where appropriate.
She began her artistic career painting landscapes in the Michigan countryside, but has recently captured Great Lakes scenes since moving closer to Lake Huron.
Another artist who uses colored pens and pencils is Chuck Schroeder. Schroeder likes to write about many different subjects, but stands out for his vehicle drawings.
Schroeder’s piece, “Tanner’s Plane” was commissioned work he did to draw a picture of an airplane for someone. He loved her look so much that he decided to make one for himself.
His job involves a lot of trial and error.
“I break it down into little segments of what it is and then draw it,” he said. “The best thing is to keep working and you get better over time. The main thing is to first use a soft pencil so that you can erase mistakes. Also, the darker you darken the black, the brighter the white.
The Oscoda Art walk will take place next year. News and updates can be found on her Facebook page and inquiries about the Art Walk can be sent to [email protected]
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