In terms of the richness of our cultural climate, each of the counties populating the Great Lakes Bay area have enjoyed considerable success over the decades at providing outlets for cultivating talent in the visual and performing arts.
But now thanks to the vision of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, the numerous cultural and artistic entities populating the individual counties of Saginaw, Bay, Midland & Isabella that comprise the region are lifting the powerful and illuminating impact of the Arts to a whole new level with the Inaugural Kick-off of Fall In…Art & Sol - a month-long celebration that will tie the expansive depth of our area's cultural resources into a thematic showcase celebrating artistic and architectural expression, scientific achievement and the region's natural splendor.
Thanks to the non-stop effort and leadership of Larry Preston, CEO of Tri-Star Trust Bank, Bo Miller, director of corporate sponsorship and president of the Dow Foundation, and a number of professionals from throughout the region, over the past year the GLBA has diligently worked at pulling together over 60 arts and cultural organizations throughout the region to present a comprehensive program of events and activities produced by the area's museums, galleries, orchestras, dance & art studios, libraries, theater companies, gardens and zoo, historical societies, nature centers, universities and more into the month long Fall In…Art & Sol collaborative regional showcase.
Fall In… will highlight a specific topical area and the 2013 theme 'Art and Sol' is inspired by the region's research, product development and manufacturing concentrated in the solar power field. According to festival director Diana Tomlin, “Solar art is an exciting new art form that harnesses the power of the sun in an innovative and expression fashion. By integrating alternative energy technologies that collect solar energy and using them to power light, sound, or moving parts, solar art takes creativity to a new level. Consequently, we have arranged to have local, national and international artists working in this new medium to display works around the Great Lakes Bay Region.”
Similarly, arts groups & organizations throughout the region will be holding exhibitions and events and in engaging in collaborations reflecting this theme of illumination: the Alden B. Dow Home & Studio will be presenting Light From Above: Midland's Houses of Faith, which will tour nine of the most architecturally significant churches in Midland that will be open to tour; The Midland Center for the Arts & Alden B. Dow Museum will host an exhibition titled Light as Form that will show how light is transposed through many divergent approaches; and theSaginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra will present Nielsen's Helio's Overture (discussed in detail in this edition of The Review) as but a few examples of what patrons and visitors can expect for this exceptional celebration.
While many communities throughout Michigan stage world-class art exhibitions that draw audiences from throughout the state and beyond - Grand Rapid's ArtPrize serves as a solid example - Fall In…Art & Sol was conceived by the GLBA Arts & Entertainment Council after an extensive study found that though the region boasts a healthy number of arts & cultural organizations, the audience in the region is smaller than seen nationally, audiences are generally older than the national average, and a significant portion of the potential audience regularly leaves the region to participate in arts & entertainment elsewhere.
“Based on recommendations made by the study's architect, ArtsMarket, a leading consulting service under the direction of Louise K. Stevens, Art & Sol was conceived as a month-long collaborative celebration designed to achieve the objectives of attracting larger local audiences, as well as new audiences from outside the region to enhance sustainability of arts organizations and the region as a whole,” explains Tomlin. “The goal is expand the base of financial support for arts & cultural institutions; demonstrate a spirit of collaboration and nurturing innovation; and making the Great Lakes Bay region a 'destination'.”
Art & Sol Highlights & the September 28th Kick-Off Celebration
Insofar as the topical area for this inaugural kick-off of Art & Sol is inspired by the region's product development & manufacturing concentrated in the solar power field, in the first major display of solar art in the world, over 20 sculptures will be shown throughout the region, all powered by solar energy to create a spectacle of light, sound and movement.
This will include the works of 13 invited artists, including the installation of Night Garden, which is powered entirely by solar energy. The flowers are charged by sunlight during the day and illuminated through energy-saving LED lights at night. . Invited artists will include the London based Design artists Loop.pH, Italian artist Eleanora Nicoletti, Dzach and Suchy from Switzerland, and renowned American artists Anthony Castronovo, Craig Colorusso and Andrew Woodard.
In his recent work Solar artist Anthony Castronovo has been exploring public art as a tool for public engagement and as a way to create awareness around issues like climate change, alternative energy, and water quality issues. For the Art & Sol Festival he has created two solar powered robotic flowers that will move throughout the day and light up at night. Made of natural materials and fibers, as well as recycled materials - his work is representative of the synergy involved with this festival.
In addition to the larger sculptures, Castronovo is engaging local school children by having them build 100 smaller solar powered flowers that would be installed around the larger one, creating a field of seedlings - the next generation.
For the September 28th Fall In Art & Sol Kick-Off Event, an entertaining and expansive variety of art, music, theater, children's activities and more will ignite the region, as the beautiful new First Merit Bank Event Park in downtown Saginaw will opens its gate to area residents & visitors with performances by local artists, bands & performers, along with numerous activities for children, including a solar art parade. Starting at 12:00 noon, admission is only $5.00 and includes Solar Art Crafts for Children from 3:00 - 6:30 PM, a Solar Art Parade from 6:30-7:11 PM, followed by the Saginaw Spirit Hockey Game.
Food vendors will be on-hand and live music includes the following artists & times:
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM * Heritage High String Ensemble
3:35 - 3:50 PM * Midland Center Stage Showcase
3:55 - 4:25 PM * Saginaw Youth Jazz Ensemble
4:30 - 4:45 PM * Pit & Balcony Showcase
4:50 - 5:20 PM * Bryan Rombalski & 3 Worlds
5:25 - 5:35 PM * Awarding of Art Battle Prize
5:40 - 5:55 PM * Bay City Players Showcase
6:00 - 6:45 PM * Brush Street with Brass & Strings
6:50 - 7:15 PM * Video Tribute & Sponsor Celebration - Lighting of Archilace
7:20 - 7:35 PM * Saginaw Choral Society Showcase
7:40 - 8:25 PM * The Josh Ramses Band
8:30 - 8:45 PM * Good Company Showcase
8:50 - 9:35 PM * Laurie Middlebrook Band
9:35 - 9:45 PM * Lighting of Night Garden
9:45 - 10:30 PM * Sharrie Williams & the Wiseguys
Additionally, the Downtown Saginaw Association and PRIDE In Saginaw will be hosting the 1st Annual Downtown Saginaw Art Market & Festival on September 28th from 12 PM - 6 PM in Morley Plaza, right across from the 1st Merit Event Park.
Featuring dozens of committed artists in a variety of media, live local music, a Children's Tent and an Art Battle, according to Dawn Goodrow Morrell, “The Downtown Saginaw Association and PRIDE wanted to create an event to keep people downtown, walking around and getting familiar and comfortable with the area. With The Temple Theatre, Dow Event Center, 1st Merit Park, Castle Museum, and many new businesses in the area, as well as all the renovation going on, our goal is to change the public perception of Downtown Saginaw, especially for out of towners.”
“We decided to pull together this Art Fair because there has not been an Art Fair on the West Side of Saginaw for many years now, so we thought it would be great to bring it back,” she continues. “We went to the Saginaw Art Museum and obtained a list of artists that would commit to this project and are looking for more. We are focusing on a positive festival atmosphere, and PRIDE is bringing in their Showmobile and pulling the live entertainment together.”
At the same time the DSA and Saginaw County Chamber of Commerce are presenting a 'Battle of Art & Sol' in Downtown Saginaw's Morley Plaza area behind TV-5. This will go from 12:30 - 3:30 PM and feature 20 artists creating a piece of art with the 'Art & Sol' theme within a 3-hour time limit. The first place winner will receive $500.00 and the Peoples' Choice Winner will receive gift cards to local restaurants & entertainment.
“We'll be featuring many divergent artists ranging from abstract to water color, pottery, weavers, and mixed media; and are truly looking forward to this event, as we believe it will open the streets of downtown to Saginaw to many people that have yet to experience the architectural wonder, magic, and history of what we have to offer.”
An expansive level of artistic interaction is poised to make history throughout the month of October for the 1st annual Fall In….Art & Sol Celebration. To view the month-long calendar and to purchase tickets visit www.rallin-glbr.com and check out several of the previews on Art & Sol events in this edition along with our special Sept. 25th Art & Sol Special Edition of The Review.