Arts Travel: Michigan Offers a Month of Glass

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

In Michigan, April is all about glass. The Michigan Glass Month Committee helps focus more than 30 museum exhibitions, gallery open houses and studio events around the state.

This year’s brochure of events honors longtime volunteer coordinators, artist Sylvia Vigiletti and collector Jean Sosin, who relinquish their duties after 26 years of work. The volunteer committee members are now Herb Babcock, Glass Studio chair at the College for Creative Studies; Ken Gross, director of the Art Museum Project and the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery; and Michelle Plucinsky, a partner of Furnace Hot Glass Works and the Glass Academy.

This year’s events include:

“Michigan Glass: 2007″: March 23-May 11, an exhibition at the Alfred Berkowitz Gallery at the University of Michigan- Dearborn.

Delphi’s Art Glass Festival: April 9-30, a series of events and a gallery of more than 300 pieces at Delphi’s Creativity Center in Lansing, Mich.

35th Annual International Glass Invitational: April 21-May 19, featuring work by more than 90 international artists at Habatat Galleries in Royal Oak, Mich.

Open studio and live glass-blowing demonstrations: dates to be announced, at Furnace Hot Glass Works in Dearborn, Mich.

For more information, look for the brochure at

Arts Travel: Are You Up for the ’50 for 50′ Challenge?

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

The Canada Council for the Arts is challenging residents to participate in 50 arts events this year to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Even if you don’t live in Canada, you might want to consider taking on the challenge yourself.

The “50 for 50″ Arts Challenge may seem daunting, but it’s actually less than one event per week. You may have met the challenge last year without even noticing it. When was the last time you visited a local gallery, discussed a book or visited the community center? Each event adds up.

Created by an act of Parliament in 1957, the council is a national arts funding agency that encourages active participation in the arts and asks everyone to expand their normal activities. “One purpose of the ’50 for 50′ Arts Challenge is to show people how pervasive the arts are in our daily lives,” council director Robert Sirman explains. “If you like to sing in the shower or doodle on your notepad, think about joining a choral group or taking art lessons.”

As a part of the celebration, the council suggests keeping a log or journal of your experiences and sharing them via its website. Highlights and a complete list of anniversary concerts, performances and other events are at

Arts Travel: San Francisco’s Master of Mending

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

Does your dress have a dropped hem? Rip a seam in your pants? If you find yourself in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District on the 15th of the month, artist Michael Swaine will gladly mend your clothes for no charge. The work began several years ago as part of the “Reap What You Sew” Generosity Project, in which Swaine pushed his treadle-operated sewing machine, perched on an old-fashioned ice cream cart, for two weeks through the streets of San Francisco. Swaine, a ceramic artist by training, sews whatever is brought to him once a month from noon to 6 p.m. Most of his customers are residents of the blighted neighborhood’s long-term hotels. He considers the project to be collaborative performance art, in which he receives stories in exchange for his sewing services. The project is partially sponsored by The Luggage Store, a gallery that supplies sidewalk space to Swaine outside its Cohen Alley location.

Arts Travel: Art in Transit

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

A ride on the light rail is quick and convenient, but rarely beautiful. The Utah Transit Authority, the Salt Lake City Arts Council and other local arts organizations have been teaming up since 1996 to change that by commissioning art for each of the light rail’s stations in Salt Lake City.

To sample the “Art in Transit” experience, start at the University Medical Center, where you’ll see two ivory sculptures by Yoshikazu Kono that explore the human skeletal structure. Stop off at the University South Campus station and visit Justin Bernard Johnson’s red and green huddled figures. At the stadium, “Flame Figure,” created by Michael Stutz, blends the ideal human form with the energy of fire to commemorate the 2002 Winter Olympics.

The list of 19 works decorating the city’s light rail stops reflects a variety of artists, commissioned locally and nationally. Whether you’re interested in sculpture, glass, bronze or murals, everyone is bound to find a favorite station.

Arts Travel: Fine Dining and Design Meet Fine Art

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

Victoria Crowell’s whimsical dinner set is a part of the DinnerWorks exhibition in Louisville, KY.

An event that began as a one-week exhibition to draw a broad audience to functional ceramics is now an extended seven-week celebration.

The Louisville Visual Art Association’s 20th annual DinnerWorks pairs 15 artists with 15 designers to create displays of handmade dinnerware in uniquely designed table installations. Nothing is off limits when it comes to creativity; even the table can be an original creation.

Artists drawn from across the United States this year include Victoria Crowell of Troy, N.Y., Kathleen Royster Lamb of Centennial, Colo., and Yuki Nyhan of Chicago, Ill.

DinnerWorks has expanded to include five special events. The DinnerWorks Gala kicks off the event Feb. 17 with a black-tie dinner marrying the arts of pottery, table design and fine food. Other events include the After DinnerWorks cocktail party March 2, a reception for the artists March 15, a tea March 25 and a luncheon April 5.

The DinnerWorks exhibition runs through April 4 with regular hours for visiting. To order your tickets in advance, call 502-896-2146 or visit

In Memoriam – Rosie Lee Tompkins, Mose Tolliver, Berthold Schwaiger

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

The folk art and craft communities suffered three major losses recently with the deaths of Rosie Lee Tompkins, Mose Tolliver and Berthold Schwaiger.

Tompkins, whose real name was Effie Mae Howard, created boldly colored improvised geometric quilts that are in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York and the Oakland Museum in California. The artist, who worked as a practical nurse and shied away from any exhibitions of her work, died Dec. 1 at age 70 at her home in California. Her work will be exhibited at the Shelburne Museum in Shelburne, Vt., May 20-Oct. 31.

Alabama folk artist Mose Tolliver began painting self-portraits and images of nature after being injured in a furniture factory accident. The works, done in house paint and signed “Mose T.,” are included in the collections of the American Folk Art Museum in New York, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Smithsonian Institution. Tolliver, 82, died Oct. 30 after a bout of pneumonia.

Schwaiger, a native of Germany, was the founder and director of the Chicago Bauhaus Studios and Chicago Bauhaus Academy, where he trained students in woodworking. His work won many awards, including the National Design Journal’s ADEX Award twice. Schwaiger, 58, died Dec. 13 of complications from diabetes.

*Correction, Feb. 23: The print article originally had the dates listed as April 29, May 6 and May 13.

Style Spotlight: Dictionary of Art Celebrates 10 Years

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

Hopefully it’s old news that The Dictionary of Art, edited by Jane Turner, turned 10 last October. In a monumental, international community effort, more than 6,700 international scholars contributed more than 45,000 articles on art, from prehistory to the present, to create the 34-volume encyclopedia in 1996.

The effort is ongoing; nearly 1,000 art historians contribute to the online version of the dictionary, Grove Art Online (, each year.

The online and print versions are owned and operated by Oxford University Press. The website also offers the complete, updated text of The Dictionary of Art and The Oxford Companion to Western Art, thumbnail images, extensive image links, sophisticated search tools and reliable information on all aspects of world art.

No other resource compares to the authoritative voice of Grove Art Online, so be sure to bookmark it today.

Style Spotlight: Changes at Craft Magazine

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

Members of the American Craft Council should expect to see changes in the coming year as they open their mailboxes to retrieve their bimonthly issue of American Craft magazine.

Longtime editor Lois Moran has retired; Andrew Wagner, former executive editor of sleek shelter mag Dwell, took over as editor in chief on Jan. 1.

Wagner says he’ll “cull the connections between craft, architecture, art, design, fashion and industry that have been germinating for years.” Wagner had been at the helm of Dwell since August 2006.

Moran, who led the magazine for 29 years, was the publication’s sixth editor since it began in 1941.

Style Spotlight: Collecting for the Future

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

Lisa S. Roberts has done more than build a stellar contemporary design collection; she offers Antiques of the Future, a book that will explain how easy it is to start your own museum-quality collection.

To begin collecting, Roberts recommends that you throw out any initial rules. “Buy what you like. A collection will start to take on your personality.” After you’ve settled on a few pieces, analyze what holds it together and how it reflects you. Then it’s time to set guidelines. “I always break my own rules, but I stay within the guidelines,” she explains.

To become part of her collection, Roberts decided, an object had to include one or more of these qualifications: it had to have been exhibited in museums or included in a permanent collection; been designed by a notable architect or designer; been manufactured by a design-oriented company; received a major design award; or been widely published in magazines or books. With this map, she freed herself to collect.

Antiques of the Future is not a typical book about design; it contains a wealth of good design just to showcase each piece in the collection. The first section displays 70 pieces. Each work has the relevant statistics listed and a concise, but personal, explanation of Roberts’ reasons for including it.

A short second section contains a number of resources. Roberts lists basic rules for collecting (and a sample journal page), noteworthy designers and manufacturers, places to shop and reading materials.

Whether it’s art, craft or well-designed products that you’re interested in, this colorful and funny book has something for everyone. You may find that it fits right into your collection.

For information on collecting, or to buy a copy, visit

Style Spotlight: Freud Tops with Artists

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

The organizers of modestly named The Great Art Fair polled 500 practicing artists to learn who their favorite artists were.

The poll results, conveniently released just prior to The Great Art Fair’s London debut last winter, surprised a variety of critics in the United Kingdom. Lucian Freud topped the painter-filled list, followed by Howard Hodgkin and David Hockney.

Critic Grayson Perry of The Times in London says the list “errs towards the splodgy and the splashy type much beloved by those who revel in the craft of oil painting. … It does not represent the favourites of any artist I know.”

You be the judge. Here is the “Artists’ Artist” Top 10 List:

  1. Lucian Freud
  2. Howard Hodgkin
  3. David Hockney
  4. J.M.W. Turner
  5. Antoni Tapies
  6. Rembrandt van Rijn
  7. Jack Vettriano
  8. Barbara Rae
  9. Frank Auerbach
  10. Vincent Van Gogh

Style Spotlight: Craft, as Seen on TV

February 2007 | BY | Issue 54 | NO COMMENTS

An unprecedented exploration of American craft comes to television, museums and bookstores this spring.

The debut of “Craft in America,” a three-part series airing on PBS, will be accompanied by a touring museum exhibition and a book featuring a prologue by former President Jimmy Carter.

The project is the brainchild of Carol Sauvion, owner of Freehand Gallery in Los Angeles, who launched the nonprofit Craft in America organization in hopes of making the history and culture of craft accessible to all Americans.

The centerpiece of the project will be three one-hour television episodes, titled “Memory,” “Community” and “Landscape,” airing on PBS on Sunday, May 30.* Artists featured in the series include South Carolina basket maker Mary Jackson, furniture maker Sam Maloof and ceramist Richard Notkin.

The accompanying museum exhibition, “Craft in America: Expanding Traditions,” begins its two-year, seven-city tour at the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock on April 13.

For information, visit

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