Art on the Grand survives storm, honors artists

Art on the Grand celebrated its 10th anniversary in downtown Farmington with confetti canons and a bit of unwelcome chaos, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Art on the Grand Confetti canon
Cultural Arts Programmer Karla Aren, center, handles the confetti canon for Saturday’s Art on the Grand 10th anniversary opening ceremony. Also pictured are Cultural Arts Programmer Brooke Samelko, left, and Cultural Arts Supervisor Rachel Timlin, right.

The two-day, juried arts festival drew about 100 artists to Grand River, which closed between Grove Street and Farmington Road for the event.

A line of severe storms blew through mid-afternoon on Saturday, leaving the works of several artists scattered on Grand River. Booths closed for about an hour.

Art on the Grand storm
Storm clouds rolled into downtown Farmington on Saturday, eventually forcing artists to close their booths.

Earlier that day, Farmington Hills Cultural Arts Supervisor Rachel Timlin and her staff presented Oak Park artist Michele Reynolds with a gold cape, honoring her 10 years with the festival.

Art on the Grand Michele Reynolds
Farmington Hills Cultural Arts Division staff pictured with 10-year artist Michele Reynolds are (from left) Jessica Guzman, Rachel Timlin, Carolyn Powers, Brooke Samelko, and Karla Aren.

Reynolds said she met former Cultural Arts Supervisor Nancy Coumoundouros years ago at an art fair. When the Farmington Hills Cultural Arts Division in 2010 moved Art on the Grand from the Founders Festival in July to a standalone event, Coumoundouros invited her to be part of it.

“I think there have been so many improvements,” said Reynolds, who creates jewelry. “It’s gotten more organized, and the system just gets better and better.”

Art on the Grand Best in Show
Ann Arbor artist Terry Butler won Best in Show honors.

First-time participant Terry Butler of Ann Arbor also had high praise for the event. His black oil, lino-cut prints inside hand-crafted frames earned him Art on the Grand’s Best in Show honor.

“I’ve been doing art fairs for about nine years,” said Butler, who began working as an artist after teaching in public schools for six years. “The people who run (Art on the Grand) are really exceptional. They seem concerned about the artists.”

Art on the Grand Farmington Mayors Award
Farmington Mayor Steven Schneemann presents his Mayors Award to Mari Pruks. (Credit: Art on the Grand)

Farmington and Farmington Hills mayors also presented awards to the artists they felt deserved recognition. Farmington’s Steven Schneemann selected photographer Mari Pruks of Ann Arbor; Farmington Hills’ Ken Massey chose Farmington Hills resident Ted Simpson, painter and certified Bob Ross art instructor.

Art on the Grand Farmington Hills Mayors Award
Farmington Hills Mayor Ken Massey presents his Mayors Award to Ted Simpson. (Credit: Art on the Grand)

Young artists also had an opportunity to shine during Kids Art Alley, open on the west side of Sunflour Bakehaus during both days.

Art on the Grand Khloe Travis
Khloe Travis, 10, of Southfield, was part of Kids Art Alley. She has been painting with acrylics for the past two years, and making art since she was two years old.
Art on the Grand Adhik Longanathan
Adhik Longanathan, 10, and his sister, Oviya, 13, of Novi, offered their paintings and drawings for sale at Kids Art Alley.

Coordinator Becky Burns said the kids not only displayed their art, but were also required to take a turn volunteering, to give them a sense of ownership in their show.

Art on the Grand Kids Art Alley
Hank Burns-Pavlik of Farmington Hills was among the young artists featured in Kids Art Alley, located next to Sunflour Bakehaus. Hank’s parents own the bakery.

Here’s a quick tour of the event, created by the City of Farmington Hills Video Division:

Correction: The titles of Cultural Arts Programmer Brooke Samelko and Cultural Arts Supervisor Rachel Timlin were incorrectly reported in the original version of this post.