WinterView shines at Art in the Loft

Exhibit also features first time art swap with Bay City gallery

A total of 35 artists, including six new to Art in the Loft, are participating in this season’s WinterView Exhibit. The public is invited to stop in between now and Christmas not only to see this beautiful creative space, but also for some holiday gift purchases.

“The WinterView artists gear their work toward being very unique, one-of-a-kind Christmas presents,” said Justin Christensen-Cooper, executive director of the Loft.

Art pieces are available in a variety of mediums and price points. The WinterView Exhibit will remain on display not only during the Christmas season, but also through March 15.

Among the new artists featured is Sierra Atkinson of Alpena, who took top honors in this year’s juried exhibition at the Loft, Forgotten Spaces. She works in both photography and sculpture, presenting complex ideas in her art. As the overall winner of the juried competition, Atkinson earned the opportunity to exhibit for two seasons at the Loft.

Amanda Kucharek of Alpena, the third place winner in Forgotten Spaces, also brings her work to the gallery as a new artist. She studied at both Alpena Community College and Northern Michigan University, where she explored multiple mediums but ultimately concentrated on ceramics.

The Loft invited any artists with work accepted into Forgotten Spaces to participate in this year’s WinterView, which normally requires participants to be juried in first. Besides Atkinson and Kucharek, two other artists from the 2017 competition now exhibiting through the current season are Linda Sansom of Lachine and Richard Green of Los Angeles, Calif.

Sansom does mixed media painting on gourds. Each one is unique in the paint choices, shape of gourds and embellishments used. Greene, a photographer, entered Forgotten Spaces after seeing the competition advertised online. He had two pieces accepted into the show, and then decided to further participate by showing his photographs in the WinterView Exhibit.

“He may not be local, but this exposes us to artists outside our area,” Christensen-Cooper said. “His images are not local ones either, but they are fun to see.”

Long-time Loft volunteer and board member Jean Thomas of Alpena, who designs many promotional images for the Loft, became an exhibitor this season with her stained glass snowflakes. According to Christensen-Cooper, the snowflakes have already been good sellers, requiring her to create even more to keep up with demand.

The final new artist this season, Sarah Daniel, represents ACC. Each season the college selects a student to have her work highlighted in the gallery space.

Along with the artworks by the 35 participating artists, the Loft also is showcasing approximately 40 pieces by seven artists from Studio 23 in Bay City as an “art swap” arrangement. At the same time, artwork by seven artists from the Loft currently are being featured at Studio 23.

Christensen-Cooper said the concept for the art swap came about through the efforts of Studio 23 Executive Director Tara Welch, who is a former area resident. While home recently visiting family, she visited Art in the Loft and presented the art swap idea to him.

“The artists selected from here are pretty excited to have their work shown in Bay City,” Christensen-Cooper said. “They have been mainstays of the gallery so it gives them additional exposure.”

He said the two galleries hope to continue the reciprocal arrangement in the future and give other exhibiting artists at the Loft the opportunity to participate.

Artworks from Studio 23 represent several different mediums, including mixed media with found objects, paper mache, ceramics and painting.

“What’s interesting is that Studio 23 is a regional art center, and that is reflected in their work, whether with the subject matter or the imagery,” Christensen-Cooper said. “It has a tendency to stand out as it reflects a different part of Michigan.”

The pieces from Studio 23 will be on exhibit and sale through the beginning of January.