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Small is Beautiful

The Krasl Art Center in Saint Joseph, Michigan is compact, but packs a big punch, starting with the Dale Chihuly sculpture hanging in the entryway, beautifully lit and visible from the street.

We caught them between shows and got to see some of what was coming down and some of what was going up.  They were kind enough to let us see the work in progress.  Jim mentioned that these crows were going to look great once they were installed and was promptly told that they’re meant to look like that. Poor guys, we prefer them alive and  going about their business.   These guys are huge., at least 6 feet long.  We should have taken a picture with someone standing next to them. The artist created them out of blown out tires that she found on the side of the road.  Scavengers made of scavenged materials; “Corvus Osiris”.

You can see the tire tread on his wing.

Twisted tree etchings by Ladislav Hanka

Not sure what these are, but they’re way cool.

The grounds around the arts center have outdoor sculpture installations.  In fact there are sculptures throughout St. Joseph.  A “Sculp Tour” brochure is available so that you can hunt them down and an explanation is only a cell phone call away with their dial-listen-learn program. This is a very art savvy town with quite a bit to offer and worth a side trip.

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The Art of Junque

Sunset Junque on the Blue Star Highway in Michigan is a surreal assortment of artfully arranged junk.  Architectural treasures and vintage kitsch live harmoniously side by side.

This is like the Island of Misfit toys.  We wonder what happens after everyone goes home and they’re all left alone.

There were quite a few items that wanted to come home with us, but we settled on two ironwork pieces from the top of a widow’s walk and some vintage grocery stamps with evocative titles; Hale Haven, Fertile Hale, 16 Full Quarts, 24 pints…and were sorry that we didn’t get  the “dewberries” stamp (what are dewberries anyway?)  Our daughter Julia’s doing a series of apothecary jar images in her printmaking class that these might suit.

Box Factory Art Center, St Joseph, MI

Box Factory Art Center in St. Joseph, MI
One of the perks of our gypsy-like existence is visiting interesting art spaces everywhere we go. A gem in St Joseph Michigan is the Box Factory Art Center. It’s a beautiful old factory building that was transformed into a great arts center with excellent exhibit space and decent sized artist studios.  It’s not just a gallery/studio space, it’s also a performing arts center with a stage and a cafe.




The big windows are great for people to see artists at work, but for the artists it would be a little bit like working in a fish bowl.  What a great way for people to experience the process of making art though.  Also a great use of a building that would otherwise be a ‘white elephant” for the town. We’d love to have an art center like this in our town….hmmm…and there are a couple of buildings that would suit something like this just fine.

Wish You Were Here


Misunderstanding the lyrics to an Incubus song was the inspiration for a painting.

The sky resembles a backlit canopy with holes punched in it.
I’m counting ufo’s.
I signal them with my lighter
and in this moment i am happy, happy.

Lighter, not ladder!

Outdoor Art Show #1 Challenge…Wind

A breezy day on Rittenhouse Square shuts down the art show for us and about six other artists. Our paintings were acting like sails and the walls of our booth were starting to cave in, even with our trusty lead (yes, we mean actual lead, we don’t mess around) weights. We packed it in as quickly as possible and then helped some of our neighbors get their booths down safely. It was a wind tunnel in our area and barely a breeze in the rest of the park. So sad to have to drive away and see so many other artists sitting in the sun and talking to customers. We couldn’t risk it though. We’ve been picked up and thrown about by Mother Nature before and it’s not an experience we would like to repeat.

Wow, this is now the third show this spring that we’ve been practically blown away. Bad luck comes in threes though, right? Chicago’s Old Town Art Festival is next weekend. Here’s hoping for better weather.