SHIRLEY AND DAVE LEREW: So what is Artworks all about?

To the editor:

The creative urge: I want to learn to do that. Can I take a class to see if I like it without driving for an hour and spending a lot? Do I need to bring my own materials and supplies? Can I learn at a time that is outside of my working hours? Do I want to develop this into a hobby? Will I find a comfortable environment to get answers to these questions?

Everyone has art within themselves. Some paint, some sculpt, some weave baskets, some perform, some write, some recite, some photograph. Others enjoy the fruits of these labors through their interest in and support of an organization that provides a center for these expressions of our culture. In Big Rapids, Artworks is the catalyst that gives life to these efforts and satisfaction to these urges.

Age is not limiting. The Art Attack program recognizes the efforts of students and art teachers in the local school districts. Summer Camps immerse students in a focused art experience. Members of the community are invited to enjoy a place to explore music each week with Harmonicas in Class, join in the dance groups, the Novel Tea Book Club, the Creative Writing Group or the Camera Club. Film buffs can experience the Foreign Film Series presented by Artworks at the Big Rapids Community Library. Classes and interest groups abound inviting all to participate… check them out.

Artworks has collaborated with Ferris State University, the City of Big Rapids, Festival of the Arts, Michigan Humanities Council, and the Smithsonian Institute to bring unique cultural programs for the enjoyment and enrichment of area residents.

The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery, the visible Artworks, offers the opportunity to purchase the work of our local artists. Here you can buy Pottery, watercolors, alcohol ink paintings, jewelry, mosaics, stained glass, baskets and wood carvings to just touch the surface of what is available for gift giving and for your personal enjoyment. Changing exhibits highlight both local and invited artists to add to your visiting pleasure.

Like so many others, we’ve enjoyed taking classes where we have learned the intricacies of watercolor, pottery and alcohol inks that help us appreciate the creativity and dedication of the Artworks artists. We have also been moved and enthralled by the talented actors in the Intimate Theater productions

One of our best experiences happened when at a past Gala we won the bid for a stay at the Opossum Creek Resort in West Virginia where we explored the New River Gorge area.

“You’ll Love it Here” is this year’s Fund Raising Gala theme. Join us on Friday, May 13, 6 p.m. at Gary Trimarco Automotive. This celebration of 16 successful years serving the Big Rapids community would not be possible without the support of dedicated artists, volunteers and patrons. Enjoy the auction and bid on art created locally, a special trip, an ethnic meal and many other items. Purchase your tickets at Artworks for this fun event and help continue this creative momentum in our community.

We’ll look forward to seeing you there!

Shirley and Dave Lerew

Big Rapids

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