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Art in the Loft unveils new SummerView exhibit

May 24, 2012
By DIANE SPEER - News Lifestyles Editor , The Alpena News

Another SummerView season is underway at Art in the Loft, with works by 36 artists featured throughout the gallery space located on the top floor of the historic Center Building in downtown Alpena.

"People don't have to be artistic to enjoy the art and appreciate what we have here," said Gallery Coordinator Liz Smigelski, who always encourages people to visit anytime, but particularly over the lunch hour when they are welcome to bring in a lunch and spend the time taking in the creative space.

SummerView 2012 extends through Oct. 6 and will serve as a backdrop for many summer workshops for all ages. The Loft also will be open on the 4th of July, so that those visiting the downtown can stop in for a respite from the summer heat.

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"The season runs through Oct. 6 so people have plenty of time to come in and find something unique as a gift or for themselves," Smigelski said. "The artists will be rotating pieces throughout the summer as things sell, so I encourage people to come back often as there is always something new."

Among the 36 artists are several new ones as well as many returning artists who bring fresh twists to their familiar mediums or who have ventured into new artistic horizons all together.

Husband and wife duo Jackie and Chris Glomski are among the new exhibitors with their fused glass pendants. Each one is uniquely created.

Other jewelry artists at the Loft are Rita Wilberg, Janice Herring, Kris-Mis Designs, Grace Marshall, Dawn Bruchez, and Sue and Bill Ahern. Both Jeannie Lamb and Cheryl Lemke also do jewelry along with other mixed media pieces.

Photography is a popular form of artistic expression as well as evidenced by works from photographers Chuck Bennett, Thane Whitscell, Kathleen Bower, Lynn Markarian, Kristen Schnell, James Okasinski and Beverly Benson Wolf.

"We've got another fine season," said exhibiting artist and volunteer Anita Harmon, who helped to install the SummerView exhibit. "It's always exciting to see what's new and see what comes in the quality of the work and even the progression of the artist from season to season."

Another new artist this season is Brooke Stevens, who recently won an art scrim contest sponsored by the local Michigan Arts and Culture Northeast Michigan. Her winning image reflective of the artistic climate of the city of Alpena has been transferred to a scrim and will be hung in downtown Alpena next month.

Stevens, who works in chalk pastels and has her own home-based art business, My Wife Makes Signs, recently began teaching Ready, Set, Create art classes at the Loft to fifth grade students.

"It's a privilege to be at Art in the Loft and teaching in such a great space that encourage art at all levels," Stevens said.

Several potters are among this season's artists, including Michael Kahn and Douglas McDowell, who both are returning from seasons past. McDowell, in particular, has branched out and begun making beer tumblers and other functional pieces.

"He's doing some more functional pieces and has some great geometric designs and patterns," Smigelski said.

Many repeat visitors to the Loft also will recognize the ceramic works of Sam Machulis. Paintings by Harmon, Ann Gildner, Robbin Fitch and David Nelson also fill the gallery space as do watercolors by Ralph Redmond and Noel Skiba, and oils by Anne Murphy Schaff and Marilyn Bachelor.

Others featured are felt artist Lynne Freitag, glass artists Linda Manier and Beth Cox, and woodworking artists Mike McConnell and John Moore.

Each season the Loft also exhibits the work of one art student from Alpena Community College, who is selected by instructors there. This season's featured ACC artist is Aubrey Vanassche, whose media of choice is pen and ink drawings.

Art in the Loft is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. For more information, call 356-4877 or go online at



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