Popular Art Leelanau event on tap
And for 20 years, the art hangers have been satisfied to hang around in the background.
“At 5 o’clock (on Thursday), we meet down there, and look over the collection, and we decide how we’re going to hang it as a group,” said Malcolm Chatfield, an art seller as well as hanger. He’s owner of Main Street Gallery in Leland.
“I look forward to it all year. It’s fun to see all the new stuff people bring in,” he said. Chatfield is joined in his volunteer efforts by Jim Ristine, Marty Black, Dan Lisuk and Gwen Bischoff.
The Art Leelanau Benefit Exhibition, which started as an art auction and whose history includes the name Leelanau Arty Gras, will kick off sharply at 5 p.m. Friday — artwork in its proper place. The exhibition serves as the primary fundraising activity for programs hosted by the stately Old Art Building, once used as a summer camp for art students attending Michigan State University.
Tickets are $25 in advance from Leelanau Books in Leland, the Painted Bird in Suttons Bay or by calling the Leelanau Community Cultural Center (LCCC) at 256-2131 — or $30 at the door.
A ticket for opening night comes with wine, snacks and jazz music by the John Lindenau Quartet. LCCC director Judy Livingston expects between 200 and 300 people to attend, and more to filter through the Old Art Building to buy art over the next five days of the sale.
“Each year we get more and more people in during that time,” Livingston said of traffic following the opening night gala. “It’s a wonderful boost to sales. A lot of people look on the first night, and then come back later.”
The event typically raises between $10,000 and $15,000 for LCCC, which sponsors workshops, classes, lectures and other activities year-round.
The creators of art on display runs the gamut from established artists to those attending classes taken at the center.
“All the artists in this show have some strong attachment to Leelanau, whether they were born here, moved here, lived here or taught here,” said Livingston. “Many of these artists take classes in open studio, and they are just good. This is an opportunity to promote those artists, too, because not everybody has a gallery or an outlet for their work.”
Some 95 exhibitors have signed up to provide two pieces of art for sale at the show. They agree to contribute 40 percent of the sale of each piece back to LCCC. Most art is in the form of paintings, but fiber and furniture work is also on display.
Biggs Construction, a long-time sponsor of the exhibition, is joined this year by Northwestern Bank. Sponsors donated $1,000 toward the event.
Patrons, who donate upwards of $250, include Charles Boesel of Leland and Chicago; Cecily Horton of Leland and Texas; Tampico; and the Riverside Inn. Some 15 individuals and businesses were underwriter contributors, having provided $100 or more. Also, some 15 wineries across the peninsula contributed at least six bottles of wine that will be served.