Despite closure, Art in the Loft still offering virtual programs

Courtesy Photo The glasses pictured here show the creativity that can flow using the Studio 109 Creation Kit “Glam Up the Glass,” available to take home for $15, for ages 15 and up. Preorder your kit now at www.artintheloft.org.

ALPENA — Although Art in the Loft temporarily closed its doors physically on Saturday, virtual programming is going strong for all ages.

Saturday was supposed to be the soft opening of Art in the Loft’s annual WinterView exhibit, but that has been postponed until at least Dec. 9, in line with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services guidelines.

“We’ll follow the order as long as we need to, but hopefully we’ll be back in a couple of weeks,” said Art in the Loft Executive Director Justin Christensen-Cooper.

WinterView is slated to run through March 6, 2021, so artists will still have several months to display their work for show and sale. In the meantime, some of the 28 artists will also be participating in Facebook Live events throughout the shutdown, which will be posted on Art in the Loft’s Facebook page. Check back for updates and dates and times so you can virtually interact with the artists.

“We are going to promote the artists that are up there currently, and we can do some online sales during the Facebook Live, where people can comment and we can do curbside pick-up, or hang on to it until we are open and they can come get it,” Christensen-Cooper explained of art pieces that would be showcased and available for purchase online.

He said WinterView features many familiar local artists and some new ones who just exhibited in the Loft’s juried art show, “H2O.” Art pieces in all types of mediums are on display and for sale, some with a winter or holiday theme and others in a variety of eclectic styles.

In addition to WinterView virtual events, Art in the Loft is offering take-home kits and virtual classes for all ages. To preorder your kits, which include all supplies for each project, whether culinary or visual art, register at www.artintheloft.org.

Art and cooking kits

Art in the Loft is offering take-home art and cooking kits for ages 5 and up in both December and January. These kits are curbside pick-up only.

The December “Get smART” art kit is called “Chillin’ with my Gnomie!” It features an art-themed pin with all supplies included and easy-to-follow instructions, for $15 per kit. Create a set of three pinecone gnome ornaments and some seasonal memories. This makes a great family project, fun for all ages.

The December “Get Cooking” kit is called “Santa’s Sweet Tooth,” featuring a culinary-themed pin with all supplies included and easy instructions, for $20 per kit. Create a unique treat in a mug for Santa (custom mug provided) and some reindeer treats for a fun and easy project for all ages to enjoy. Adult supervision is recommended.

The January “Get smART” art kit is called “Let Your Light Shine,” including all supplies and an art-themed pin, for $15 per kit. Create a work of art that will have you thinking of the Northern Lights. This project is fun for all ages.

The January “Get Cooking” kit is called “Show Me Your Mug,” featuring a culinary-themed pin with all supplies included and easy instructions, for $20 per kit. Using the mugs you received in your December kit, you will learn other ways to use mugs for meals. This project is easy for all ages, and adult supervision is recommended.

Budding artists ages 15 and up can participate in Studio 109 Creation Kit, “Glam Up the Glass,” which features all supplies for painting and decorating glasses. Studio 109 programs are designed for at-home visual art entertainment for ages 15 and older, available for pick-up starting Dec. 4.

Virtual classes

ArtPOP, a free online class for ages 18 months to 4 years old, is open to the first 20 registrants to pick up free supplies to take home, and then they can tune in for storytime and instructions online. Today’s class is full, but if you have supplies at home you could still participate. The next class will be Dec. 8. Sign up at Art in the Loft’s website early to get your supplies for that class.

Corkscrew and Canvas will be held in the comfort of your own home from 6 to 8 p.m. on Dec. 11. This painting class for adults will be live with Christensen-Cooper via Zoom. Once you register, a personal supply kit will be created for you with everything you need to create this holiday-themed masterpiece. There will be one kit per registration, available via contactless curbside pick-up. Art in the Loft will notify you when your kit is ready and provide pick-up instructions. On the day of the virtual class they will send you the Zoom link. Log in and enjoy. Kits are $35, which includes all art supplies. You supply the wine, if desired.

Art in the Loft is located at 109 N. 2nd Ave. in downtown Alpena. For more information, to view online courses and videos, and to preorder your December and January at-home kits, visit www.artintheloft.org. Scholarships are available and can be applied for online.

Christensen-Cooper said normally many in-person holiday parties and events are held at Art i the Loft, which bring in revenue. In addition, many programs and classes are funded by grants, such as the REACH program, and “Ready, Set, Create,” which both center around classes and students coming in, but since school has gone remote, those programs are not happening.

“It’s rough in the holiday season,” he said, pointing to all the parties and events that can’t happen because of the ongoing pandemic. “The holiday season, for the actual physical Loft space, we see a lot of private weddings, ceremonies, probably a half a dozen of our corporate holiday parties, and then we even do our own receptions.

“And when we do our own receptions, to promote the artists, that’s when you have such a high margin for artwork sales,” he continued. “Because it brings people together, and they’re in the spirit, and the space looks great, and that’s when we get a lot of those Christmas sales.”

He did say that despite the challenges, sponsors and Art in the Loft members have continued to support the nonprofit organization, for which he is grateful.

“The money that we are bringing in, and being able to sustain what we can do, is coming directly from our members and our sponsors,” Christensen-Cooper said. “And it’s huge for us to still continue to put our name out there in a positive light and say, ‘We’re still here. We’re not going anywhere.”


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