Since opening its doors in September 2001, Art in the Loft in downtown Alpena has relied on utilitarian pegboard as a means for exhibiting art.
The gallery's pegboard walls have served the purpose for the last decade and allowed hundreds of artists to share their creative side. Now, with the approach of its 10-year anniversary, Art in the Loft has been given a new wall facelift.
Twenty-nine movable walls hand built by volunteers over the last few months are giving the historic Center Building gallery space a more professional appearance, a better exhibit venue and more flexibility for hosting events both large and small.
News Photo by Diane Speer
Business Manager and Bookkeeper Linda Suneson, left, and Gallery Coordinator Liz Smigelski show off the new moveable walls at Art in the Loft.
The current Young Artists Exhibit that opened last week is providing the first opportunity for the public to see the changes.
"We are using these modular walls to replace the pegboard and create new alcoves for displaying artwork," said Karen Bennett, vice president of the Art in the Loft board. "It looks more professional and better utilizes the space, especially for larger events. The pegboard created some obstructions of space because those walls didn't move."
Having higher grade display space was long a goal of Art in the Loft board members, but purchasing pre-manufactured walls proved cost-prohibitive. Bennett casually brought the subject up a dinner last year, where Brian Bartosh immediately set to work on a conceptual drawing for walls that could be made locally.
Art in the Loft
- Now-April 30: Young Artists Exhibit
- April 16: Variety of Workshops for Kids
- April 23: Variety of Workshop for Kids
- April 29-30: Imagine Festival for Teens
- May 3-6: Workshop with artist MaryAnn Beckwith
- May 19-21: Workshop with artist Joe Fettingis
- May 21-Sept. 3: SummerView Exhibit
Bartosh then made a prototype for the group and took the lead in getting together the necessary materials to build 29 of them. Peggy Matuzak agreed to chair the project, organizing work work bees and volunteers as needed.
A total of 10 walls are finished to date and hung with student artwork, while the remainder are partially constructed/assembled and expected to be completed before the opening of the annual SummerView Exhibit in May.
Total cost of the project was $7,255, with the majority raised at last year's Glamour and Gourmet event. When approached about the need, attendees at that event quickly came up with $6,000 to purchase individual wall panels. According to Bennett, another $1,800 still is required to complete the project.
"We don't think that will be a problem because people seem to really like the idea of these walls and getting rid of the old pegboard," Bennett said.
Besides the monetary donations, many donations of materials and/or labor helped to make the project a success.
The gallery is currently open Wednesday through Friday from noon-6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. during the Young Artists Exhibit, which ends April 30. For more information or to donate to the wall project, call 356-4877.