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Art in the Loft gallery shines for the holidays

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

For those in need of a respite from the hectic holidays, Art in the Loft's new WinterView season may be just the space to de-stress.

With its unique setting, festive lighting and artworks by more than 30 artists, the gallery remains a source of inspiration. It's also a great place to find one-of-a-kind items for holiday gift giving.

"We've got some new artists this season," said Sue Fitzpatrick, Art in the Loft board president. "The gallery is looking fabulous. It's a perfect Christmas space with lots of unique items."

Article Photos

Among the new artists this season are photographers Susan Lenart and Erica Jacobson. Fairly new to the community, Lenart recently began exhibiting her framed photographs at the loft and has become a volunteer.

"It's my favorite place to be in Alpena," Lenart said. "It's a great opportunity to meet new people people who have creative minds."

Her photography reflects her love for texture.

"I love texture. I'm drawn to it and find it an integral element of nature and design," Lenart said. "When I pick up my camera, I see textures all around me. Whether photographing the weathered wood of a rustic barn or the peeling of distressed tree bark, I try to capture its unique character on film."

Also participating in the gallery for the first time are jewelry artists Betsy Lehndorff and Jake Idema as well as artist Esther Miley, whose medium is pastels. Lehndorff is a silversmith, having studied stone carving and figure drawing at the Art Students League of New York and silver carving with Tom Herman in Denver, Colo. She does custom and repair work as well as teaching.

Art in the Loft has planned two special events around the new WinterView season, including an Artist Reception set for Nov. 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

"The event will give everyone an opportunity to come and meet some of the artists," said volunteer Grace Marshall. "Sometimes when you buy a piece of art, you don't know the person who made it. It seems to make the piece more sentimental to know who created it and to be able to put a face with the piece."

Admission to the Artist Reception is free. The event will feature light refreshments, drawings for door prizes and free gift wrapping.

"The art on display represents all different mediums from jewelry to pottery to glass," Marshall said. "WinterView is always a great opportunity for individuals to come and get special gifts."

The second festive event is Songs and Snacks with Santa on Dec. 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event, open to all ages, will include an opportunity to do crafts, decorate cookies, visit with Santa, and enjoy lunch and a few surprises. Cost to attend is $10.

Liz Smigelski, gallery coordinator for the loft, encourages everyone to stop by during the holidays and see the wide variety of art on display.

"As always, art is replenished with new, unique artwork as things sell," Smigelski said. "We also are continuing our practice of encouraging people to bring their lunch here and just enjoy the space. We have free wireless, too."

Hours for Art in the Loft, located on the top floor of the historic Center Building in downtown Alpena, are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday from noon-4 p.m. The gallery is closed on Mondays.

For more information, call 356-4877 or go online to



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