Artists, buyers turn exhibition into success
They all came for the art.
The 20th edition of the Art Leelanau Benefit Exhibition brought a wide range of patrons Friday night to the Old Art Building, and more on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of this week to continue their art browsing and shopping.
Opening night was an unqualified success, said Leelanau Community Cultural Center chair Judy Livingston. She was still busy when reached on Monday morning tallying up credit card receipts and checks, trying to put a dollar figure on what had been a very busy evening. Some 31 out of 183 paintings on display had sold, bringing in $12,300. Some 40 percent of that total was donated to LCCC. Some 95 artists participated.
“We’re still sorting through, but I think we’re right up there,” Livingston said. “We certainly had a great crowd, and they stayed right up to 7:30 p.m.”
And some stayed later, including LCC vice president Tom McConnell.
“We had a great turnout again. It’s always a wonderful event. It really showcases the talent in Leelanau County,” he said.
Dan Lisuk, president of LCCC and an artist himself, said the show has always attracted the work of some of Leelanau’s most respected artists. It’s the work of lesser known artists that has taken the exhibition up a notch.
“This is the most democratic show there is,” continued Lisuk. “Any artist in Leelanau County can get into the show. For a lot of artists in Leelanau County, this is their show. It gives them their foot in the door.”
One such artist was Bob Aflen — written as Robert L. Alflen on the tag by the two watercolors he provided for the show. The watercolor landscapes depicted a vineyard and an orchard in Leelanau County, and were priced at $325 and $285, respectively.
Alflen always loved to paint, but determined that his professional career career should take precedence. He graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in electrical engineering, and owned an electrical company in Commerce, Mich. while he and his wife, Jan, raised their family. Now retired, he’s found time as a “summer resident” of the county to take up painting.
The Old Art Building provides the opportunity, as he takes lessons there through LCCC. The Old Art Building served as the summer workshop for MSU art students from the 1930’s through the 1980’s.
“In 1989, I attended the last class they had here,” said Alflen, whose roots to the county go deep. His grandfather once owned the property on Lake Leelanau that he and Jan now call home during summers.