The Art Gallery of Knoxville/flickr /

Emerging artists in Michigan may wonder: "How do I get the attention of an art critic? How do I get someone to write about my work if I haven't gotten to the point where I can mount a show?"

Lori Waxman, art critic for The Chicago Tribune, understands the challenges for artists trying to get honest feedback of their work.

In a rare event, Waxman will review any artist's work, no matter the skill level.


Beginning this week, the massive art collection of billionaire Michigan businessman Alfred Taubman goes up for auction.

Alfred Taubman died in April. He was 91.

Taubman’s art collection, which spans centuries and styles, reflects the man who collected it over many decades.

“He was a renaissance man,” says Alexander Rotter, the head of Contemporary Art at Sotheby’s. “And he just collected what he thought was great … what he liked.”

Doug Coombe

Carson Brown wants to make people think critically about what he calls the American landscape, and he’s not talking about mountains and vistas. He’s talking about the American landscape of consumerism.

“I want people to look around the space of a big box store and ask, ‘Is this space necessary? Do I need all these things? Is this a healthy way of living my life?’”

Fairy's signature black-and-white "Andre the Giant" face appeared on a water tower in downtown Detroit.
Eugene Kim / Flickr

DETROIT - Damage to illegally tagged buildings in Detroit that led to charges against graffiti artist Shepard Fairey is estimated at around $30,000. The figure was presented Thursday by a Detroit city attorney during a pretrial conference for Fairey. Three of the nine properties listed in court are city-owned.

Tamar Charney

I muttered "sorry" as I handed over my credit card to buy an 80-cent locally grown peach from the cute little farm market near the office.

"It's 2015, nobody carries cash" was the hippie hipster cashier's response. It's true I almost never carry cash, but still from time to time I'm embarrassed to use a credit card knowing that the card fees relative to my purchase make no sense for the store. But I hate dealing with cash.

Except that's not quite true. I'm actually conflicted about cash.

Marcelo Lopez-Dinardi

The big thing you need to know about Afrofuturism is that it is joyous and fun and a celebration of the past, present, and future.

Late last month, three young artists road-tripped from Toronto to Detroit for a weekend festival called Sigi Fest that celebrated Afrofuturism. And they were certainly joyful. 

Wikimedia Commons


For artists, making work they are proud of is only the first step. They still have to market their art, and themselves as artists, to attract potential buyers.

Painter, sculptor and dean of instruction at Wayne County Community College Jocelyn Rainey will be a panelist for The Business of Art. She also founded a non-profit community arts program called Finding Mona Lisa.

Rainey says she hopes the event will help artists understand how to become self-sufficient.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Making art in the open air has been on display this week in and around Saginaw.

More than 50 artists have been busy sitting in parks and along busy roads painting street scenes, lake shores and quiet parks in several mid-Michigan counties.   

It’s all part of the Great Lakes Bay En Plein Air festival.

Sarah Price's debut album "SarahTonin" comes out this week
Toko Shiiki

Sarah Price is the choir teacher at Saline High School, and this week she is releasing her debut CD, SarahTonin.

An entire generation of  fifth graders is contemplating a big decision as the school year comes to an end: "What instrument should I play next year in band?"

But plenty of kids don't even know what instruments they can choose from. They may have seen Kenny G jamming on a saxophone on TV, or heard about an instrument they think might be called the "ter-bon," but they've never had the chance to actually hold one (a trombone, that is) and try blowing into it.

That's where "instrument fittings" come in.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It seems every new restaurant, bar, or national retail chain opening in Detroit generates excitement in the wake of the city’s bankruptcy. Most are owned or operated by white people.

But Detroit has many black-owned businesses that survived the worst of the city’s struggles. One of them has even become something of a landmark in the city.

An artist, fabric sculptor and dancer, Nick Cave grew up in central Missouri. In 1989, he got a masters degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.
PD Rearick

 Nick Cave has come home to Cranbrook.

The artist, fabric sculptor, and dancer grew up in central Missouri.

In 1989, Cave got a master’s degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills.

A new art project that's made a stop in Michigan is trying to empower women and value girls by recognizing their potential. Girl Noticed has a message and is stating in ten-foot-tall terms.

Watching someone sketch is interesting. Watching someone sketch a mural on a wall is fascinating because of the scale. But, there’s a problem when you do a mural on an outdoor brick wall using charcoal and chalk. It’s going to weather away. It will eventually fade to nothing.

And the artist I'm watching says that’s part of the message.

“We go through our lives feeling invisible a lot of times, feeling unnoticed, or feeling like we’re noticed for the wrong reasons,” Lori Pratico said as she stepped down from the ladder.

She says she wants people to re-think what they notice about women before the chance fades away and they miss the best part of someone.

FLICKR USER HEINRICH KLAFFS / FLICKR / Yusef Lateef visualized his music in his drawings, said Alhena Katsof, curator of "Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown."

Yusef Lateef – a master musician, composer, writer and artist – died in 2013. However, his history lives on in Detroit, the city where he came of age musically and otherwise. He went on to become one of the first artists to combine jazz with world music.

This Friday, an exhibition called Yusef Lateef: Towards the Unknown will open in the Trinosophes art space on Gratiot in Detroit. It will run through May 10. 

Rebecca Mazzei, co-owner of Trinosophes, thinks the exhibition will be important for all people to see – whether they’re familiar with Lateef’s work or not. She said the exhibit will speak to “why he was so important to the city and why the city was so important to him,” though she added that he also brought some “important cultural movements to the national scene as well.”

Flickr user ashleystreet / Flickr

This month, the Detroit Institute of Arts will unveil a major exhibition focusing on two of the most fascinating and influential artists of the 20th century.

Punya Mishra

A Michigan State University professor is using ambigrams to explore creative ways of thinking and playing. "Ambigram is a way of writing words so they can be read in many ways." 

Punya Mishra is a Professor of Educational Psychology and Educational Technology. His designs are being displayed at the MSU Museum. The exhibition is called “Deep-Play: Creativity in Math and Art through Visual Wordplay.”

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s summer resort towns like Traverse City, Mackinac and Petoskey live and die by the summer tourist season. Things slow way down in the winter. The streets are a lot quieter, the traffic is gone and many businesses close up shop. But for artists who live in the resort town of Harbor Spring year round, the boom and bust cycle of the seasons is a blessing in disguise.

Photo courtesy of Brit Bennett

More than a million people know how Brit Bennett feels about being black in nice little liberal enclaves of progressive white people.

Basically, confused. And grateful. And more than a little tired.

Heather Merritt / etsy

Lots of people daydream about ditching their jobs and doing something they truly love.

Heather Merritt is someone who did just that.

Merritt’s workday used to happen inside of a jail. She worked as a substance abuse therapist helping inmates with their addictions. These days her “work” happens at thrift stores, at artisans markets and inside her art studio.

But the leap from therapist to artist happened accidentally. Kind of. Michigan Radio’s Kyle Norris has this profile:

Today on Stateside:

  • The legal team for April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse filed their appeal today with the US Supreme Court.  They want the court to rule that Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Rick Pluta, Lansing Bureau Chief for the Michigan Public Radio Network is here. 

  • Michigan Radio's newest project is The Next Big Idea. Here with us today are Joe Linstroth and Jeff DeGraff, who discuss what innovation means to them and what they're looking for.

ArtPrize event in Grand Rapids
Rich Evenhouse / flickr user

The artists who display their works at ArtPrize each year all have a shot at winning the top public or jury vote---and prize.

But there's another possibility: the chance to sell your work to Ripley's Believe It or Not and have it wind up in one of their museums around the world.

Edward Meyer joined us. He's VP of exhibits and archives for the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museums. He's been buying art for Ripley's for three decades.

*Listen to our conversation with Meyer above.

Heidelberg Project

A new report lists public art in Detroit and Toledo among the most endangered in the United States.

The Heidelberg Project in Detroit and the works of Greek-American artist Athena Tacha in Toledo are on the list compiled by the Cultural Landscape Foundation. The group works to preserve and protect notable U.S. landscapes.

Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Grand Rapids has just wrapped up another successful ArtPrize and Detroit pulled off Dlectricity.

Those examples and more have people involved in the arts in Ann Arbor looking around the state and then asking questions about the state of creativity in Ann Arbor.

Omari Rush is curator of public programs for the Ann Arbor Art Center. He's served as an adviser for many arts organizations, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Abir Ali

When you invite the public to carve messages into a giant table you've spent four months crafting by hand, the result is that a LOT of people take you up on it, and the end product looks something like this:

Professional and personal partners Abir Ali and Andre Sandifer are furniture makers based in Detroit. They built a 30-foot table, made from walnut trees from the Midwest. They took inspiration from the biblical story of the Last Supper, and they were especially moved by the story's themes of trust and forgiveness.

Trish P. / Flickr

All through the Detroit bankruptcy trial, the spotlight has been fixed on the Detroit Institute of Arts.

It has become one of the most contentious and confusing issues in the bankruptcy, as the appraisals of the DIA’s treasures have been wildly different. The city’s appraisal by Christie’s came in at just over $800 million, while an appraisal done by noted expert Victor Wiener pegs the value at more than $8 billion.

Beverly Jacoby is a noted art valuation expert who recently had an op-ed piece in the Detroit Free Press. She's the founder and president of BSJ Fine Art in New York.

Jacoby says there are several reasons for the wildly different values. Jacoby says an appraisal can vary depending on the party that commissions it. “A key issue with any appraisal is the appraiser is hired by a party and that party is the intended user," she says.  


The annual ArtPrize competition is moving into its final phase in Grand Rapids. 

Organizers have announced the top 20 finalists in the public voting for the $200,000 grand prize. 

Dominic Pangborn of Grosse Pointe is one of the finalists. He says he’s enjoyed meeting with the people visiting ArtPrize this year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The streets of Grand Rapids are alive today as ArtPrize gets underway.

More than 1,500 works of art are in competition for more than a half-million dollars in prize money.

Christian Gaines is ArtPrize’s executive director. He says they’ve revamped the competition to let the public and art experts pick the top 20 pieces.


Art Prize will once again take over the streets of Grand Rapids starting on Wednesday.

The annual art extravaganza known as Art Prize is in its sixth year.

Nearly two thousand artists have created more than 1500 works of art for the competition. There’s more than a half million dollars in prize money on the line during the 19 day art festival.

By the time Art Prize comes to a close in mid-October about 400,000 people are expected to visit the 174 art venues around town.

user: Kate Henderson / Flickr

One of Michigan's leading quilting shows is canceling its October date.

For 15 years, the Keepers of Quilting Traditions show in Durand has been considered one of the best in the state, and a major draw for the small mid-Michigan town.

Loretta Rolfes, secretary of the group, says they have struggled to keep a quality show over the past couple of years, and there are just not enough hands to get everything done this year.

Last year, the Keepers of Quilting Traditions show in Durand saw over 700 attendees. Rolfes says some young people are interested in quilting, but busy lifestyles prevent them from doing crafts like this.

“We want to keep that interest alive,” says Rolfes.

* Listen to our conversation with Loretta Rolfes above.

Racine Boat Manufacturing Company Plant, Muskegon, MI
Flickr user Wystan/creative commons

It’s probably pretty stressful being a high school principal, for all kinds of reasons.

But Eric Alburtus, principal of Portage Central High School, spends a big chunk of his time worrying about the arts. He’s specifically worried about the kind of human beings our schools are producing, when kids must fulfill heavy requirements in math and science, yet they barely have a chance to study music, choir, theater, or the visual arts.

(For a more complete look at the state’s requirements, click here.)

Alburtus says arts classes give kids a chance to discover new worlds and different ways of thinking and creating.