Friday, May 7, 2010

new site, grand opening and more

Whew! Lot of things happening at the Center. We're having our Grand Opening tomorrow, May 8 at 9am. Join us for a ribbon cutting, artist demos, a community mural and more.

We have a new website, This blog has moved over to the new site - this will be the last post here. Please check out our new website. You can see class offerings, register online, read our blog and find out about special events.

We're very excited about what's starting to happen. Come get involved!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Work day at the center

Today Kim and I purchased the lumber and hardware to hang a false wall covering the mirrors at the art center. We had a great crew of volunteers come and help hang the studs. Rick DeTroyer was amazing - his expertiese kept us all on track and made the project go very efficiently. He was ably assisted by Mark Zimmerman along with our regular volunteer teens - John Spiher and Anna and Sam Sobel. We had help around the edges from my husband Bill as well. I'm sorry for the poor quality of the pictures - taken with my cell phone.

I didn't photograph them but at the same time that all this was going on Angela Lenhardt and her daughter and Arienne Zimmerman were hard at work at the nasty job of scrubbing down the bathrooms - kudos to them for tackling a yucky job and making everything spic and span!

We had other folks show up ready to work and didn't have tasks for them today but there will be lots more to do in the future so thanks all!

Next step will be covering the stud wall with homasote. We're waiting to hear back on the results of a grant request for materials on Monday. Meanwhile our sign is being fabricated and we hope to paint the facade of the building this week so lots going on.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Milan Art Center IS Making Art Happen: Fundraisers, Events and Summer Camp Schedules

The Milan Art Center has big plans to help bring more art to the Milan community. Located at 23 Wabash, the center is undergoing a face-lift of sorts to accommodate workshops, art shows, and fundraisers. The newly formed Milan Art Center is a non-profit organization managed by volunteers.

The center opened their doors to the public for the first time in March when they hosted a flea market and silent auction fundraiser. The flea market was such a success that a second flea market is scheduled for April 10 (9 am – 4 pm) and April 11 (11 am – 4 pm). The art center will be accepting donations for the flea market on Friday, April 9 from 11 am – 7pm.

A Grand Opening of the Milan Art Center is planned for May 8, during Milan Days. The center will host art demonstrations throughout the day, conduct a membership drive and register students for their summer camp programs.

Although the official grand opening won’t take place until May, the art center has already opened their doors to the general public. Wednesday nights are Open Art Studio nights. Artists are encouraged to work on projects with other artists, get feedback, and enjoy the communal atmostphere. Open Art Studio nights take place every Wednesday from 7 pm – 10 pm.

The Milan Art Center will offer a variety of summer camp programming for kids ages 3 – 13 throughout the months of June, July and August. The 2 and 3 day camps are offered on a weekly basis and will showcase a diverse offering including: painting, clay, textiles, drawing, paper mache, paper making, Gyotaku, pop art, book making, sculptures, and much, much more. A complete list of classes, dates, and costs will be available by mid April.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

logos and workshops and fundraisers oh my!

We are incredibly excited to unveil our new logo. Thanks to John Snyder, Milan alum, we have a snazzy logo in two versions. Watch to see it go up on our space soon!

We also have two upcoming events - one of which will be a regular, recurring thing. We are happy to announce the start of Milan Art Center's OPEN ART NIGHTS starting this week on Wednesday from 7-10pm. This is a chance for adults to come out and play. Bring your art project (non-solvent-y please), whatever materials you need to work and your favorite snack and come spend a full-filled evening working on your project in the company of other art-minded individuals.

Also, our next flea market fundraiser will be Saturday April 10 and Sunday April 11. Drop off will be on Friday April 9. Want to get involved? Send an email to or (replace AT w/@ ). More details and times to come.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

First fundraiser results

Well we made over $1000 with our first fundraiser once the last couple of winning silent auction pieces are picked up - not a bad start at all! Thanks to all who donated items to sell and those who came in to support us.

Special thanks go to donors Shary Brown, Lynne Friman, Lynda Cole for amazingly generous donations. And to volunteers extraordinaire Debbie Gagnon, Nancy Goings, Arienne Zimmerman, Marne Evans, Aimee Kay, Pat Auten, Kim Rhoney, Jill Tewsley and Sandi Difaziofor putting in a lot of hours to make this event go. (if I left your name of the list I'm sorry - am tired!).

We had lots of people come in and ask questions, take information, buy items and in a couple of notable case look to get involved in teaching, volunteering and helping us in other ways.

We will have another flea market in a few weeks - watch this space for announcements. edited to add a couple more volunteer names left off by fatigued author.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Auction and flea market tomorrow & Sunday

This is the view of wall pieces for our silent auction. It includes works by Lynda Cole, Jill Love, Mark Klein and Leslie Sobel.

We have an amazing array of jewelry including a very generous donation from Shary Brown and original art jewelry by a number of local artists.

Motawi tile

Beautiful selection of glass from the artists at Baron Glassworks.

This is a small sample of the artwork donated. We've also got kids' clothing, leather jackets, furniture, a bread machine, lots of household items, books, and other great stuff. Come see tomorrow and help us fund the new Milan Art Center.

flea market/silent auction hours
Saturday 9-4pm
Sunday 11-4pm
Silent auction will close at 2pm Sunday - pick up after that.
23 Wabash, Milan MI 48160

Questions? Call Debbie Gagnon at 313 -410-0039

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Getting ready for flea market

We're getting ready for this weekend's event. Jill and Arienne are painting signs we'll put out around town.

Here is a sample of what we'll be selling:

handmade glass paperweights

Jill buys old chairs and redoes them with paint and funky fabric - she donated this one.

handmade child's hat
(we have quite a few beautiful handwoven scarves too by a different artist - Nancy Goings)

Marne Evans does beautiful beaded jewelry - she donated the pieces above. I'm picking up more jewelry from Liz Soll later today - pix to follow

Floral print from original watercolors by Mark Klein

This is just a sample. We'll be taking in more work tomorrow fom 10-2 and 4-7. The flea market is Saturday from 9-4 and Sunday from 11-4 - come and find some treasures and help us raise funds for the new Milan Art Center.

Monday, March 1, 2010


We now have a functioning bank account and are taking memberships.

Our Membership Categories are

____Student/senior $20
____Individual $25
____Family (2 adults and up to 4 kids) $35
____ Founding Member $50

And of course we'll happily take larger donations as well. We are not yet set up to take electronic or credit card payments but that will come. If you're interested in joining you can email Leslie at and I'll happily send you a form - soon the website will be up and this will be more seemless.

We are still looking for donations for our upcoming flea market/silent art auction. We're getting some nice stuff in - jewelry, paintings, prints as well as household items and furniture. If you'd like to donate we're going to be open for intake on Friday March 5 from 10-2 and 4-7pm. We can also come to you to pick up - email me to make arrangements.

And you can share blog posts to Facebook and Twitter now so please do help us spread the word!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flea Market fast approaching

We're making progress. I'll post more pictures soon but the center is all painted. Debbie has been hard at work building amazing work tables from salvaged lumber and donated tabletops - they're fabulous! We opened our bank account today so will be able to take memberships soon as well.

Our Flea Market Fundraiser is next weekend. We'll be taking your donations at the Art Center tomorrow - Saturday, from 2-4pm at 23 Wabash in Milan.

If you have something to donate and cannot drop off tomorrow or Friday March 5 from 10-2 & 4-7pm please email or call Debbie Gagnon
(313)410-0039 cell
stonemountain AT
(replace AT with @ and no spaces)
or email me at


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Donated Lumber from Sunshine Marine

Thanks to Sunshine Marine in Milan for letting us have a big load of lumber - you're looking at what will be table bases. Thanks also to Debbie, Arienne, Aimee, John, Sam and David for loading and unloading it all and to John and Sam for spending quite a few hours painting a second coat on the formerly big green wall. Lots of progress.

Don't forget our upcoming fundraiser - we're looking for donations for our flea market.

Monday, February 15, 2010

open art nights at the Art Center

We're thinking about starting open art nights - sort of a variation of open mike nights - where people could come in and share what they're doing. This could take the form of a demonstration, simply bringing in work and talking about it or something else. Interested? Chime in here with your ideas!

Glass Festival

Delphi Glass in Lansing is having their annual Glass Festival this Saturday, Feb 20. Debbie is interested in going and looking with an eye towards what programming we could set up at the art center. Anyone else interested might contact her to talk about joining her.

contact Debbie Gagnon
(313)410-0039 cell
stonemountain AT
(replace AT with @ and no spaces)

Remember - we're looking for donations for our upcoming flea market and silent art auction on March 6 & & - contact Debbie to make arrangements to donate.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Work session at the art center

Today a group of people got together at the art center to work on the space. This wasn't the first day we worked but it was the first formal work session with a whole group and boy did we get a lot done. Here are some before pix:

The men's bathroom is in rough shape thanks to a flood. Dave and a friend pulled out bad carpet and tile - here you see a re-leveled floor ready for new tile.
The ductwork in the main room was covered with camo netting (the space was last used as a military surplus store. One wall was painted army drab. I wasn't fast enough to capture the front partition wall when it was green or the camo painted reception desk.

Back room area - there will be lockable storage cubbies built here and the kilns will also be back here (glass and ceramic)

Volunteer painters at work!

Working high on the wall and low - painting trim for the bathroom

John working away.

Our intrepid board secretary painting trim.

Dueling rollers - Anna and John.

Debbie cutting trim w/Arienne's help

Arienne painting (Arienne has the new studio gallery around the corner on Main St - art is happening in Milan!)

Teens taking down the camo netting

Netting off wall and on guys

Aimee sanding off gluey mess on backside of reception desk - horrid job!

Green wall getting less green

Much less green! By the end of the day the green was almost completely gone.

Next work session - Monday at 10am - if you have time come in grubbies prepared to help - we'll be painting a second coat among other things.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Art is Happening!

Art happens.

Art happens in Milan too. It has been happening here for a long time.

I am sitting in the Lighthouse Coffee shop on Main Street writing this blog post. I can look out the window and see a fading piece of advertising art on the side of a building. I can walk down the street a bit and look in the window of Arienne Zimmerman’s art studio, Milan’s newest artist in residence. Milan has thriving dance programs, including DanceXplosion where my eight-year old has been dancing for five years. The Lighthouse Coffee Shop hosts a weekly Open Mic night. Milan is home to published authors like Martha Churchill and Vanessa K. Mullins. The community is full of talented people who make jewelry, paint, sculpt and blow glass. So, it seems fitting that Milan is now home to a new nonprofit art organization.

The Milan Art Center is HAPPENING at 23 Wabash. Drive by (or walk by) every now and then and watch our progress. We will keep you posted of our progress on this blog too.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Fundraiser and other progress

Despite last night's blizzard we had a meeting and made progress on a variety of fronts. Most importantly in the short term we have more information to share about our upcoming Flea Market/Silent Art Auction

We are looking for good quality donations - furniture, household items, fine crafts, jewelry, etc. You can drop off your contributions at 23 Wabash Street on Saturday Feb 27 from 2-4 pm or contact Debbie Gagnon (313)410-0039 cell
stonemountain AT (replace AT with @ and no spaces)

We now have a very limited capacity to pick up donations - again, contact Debbie if you need help getting donations to us.

We are looking for volunteers to help with intake on the 27th from 2pm to 4pm and on Friday March 5 from 10am-2pm and 4pm- to 7pm

The actual event will run Saturday March 6 from 9am to 4pm and Sunday March 7 from 11am to 2pm- we need volunteers to help us staff it for these hours as well.

We have filed our non-profit articles of incorporation with the state the registered with the Federal government so formally exist!

This morning a group of us started painting the space. We will be having work sessions painting and doing other work starting at 10am on Saturday Feb 13 and Monday at 10am - stop by if you have an hour or three to spend painting or doing other grubby work - we could use your help!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Flea Market Fundraiser

We will be having our first fundraiser the weekend of March 5-6-7. It will be a flea market/bake sale/silent art auction.

If you are interested in donating items or volunteering to help with the event please contact Debbie Gagnon
(313)410-0039 cell
stonemountain AT (replace AT with @ and no spaces)

We are interested in furniture, original artwork - treasures not trash please! We welcome your help getting the art center running.

We have no ability to pick up items.

This will be a fun weekend long event and we hope you'll participate!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We have a domain! will be our home on the web. There's nothing there yet but soon we'll have a site up with lots more information to come!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Next Meeting

Milan Area Arts Council - meeting on Tuesday February 9 at 5pm at the Lighthouse Coffee Company on Main Street in Milan. We'll be planning our upcoming fundraiser, reporting on our non-profit status, planning work on the space and classes. Come join us!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

progress update

The Milan Area Arts Council (now our official name!) met last night with the largest number of attendees yet. We agreed on a name, elected a board (Kim Trail Rhoney treasurer, Nancy Goings secretary and Leslie Sobel president), agreed to move forward on filing for non-profit status with the state while pursuing partnering with the Arts Alliance.

We're planning our first fundraiser - a flea market - the weekend of March 5,6,7 at 23 Wabash. More to come on this - if you're interested in helping out please either email me at las AT (replace AT with @ and remove spaces) or leave info in the comments.

Aimee Kay is looking into low-VOC paint and we will schedule a work day once she has paint lined up for us.

We've had multiple exciting offers of equipment donation including looms (thanks Kari!) and a kiln in the summer (thanks Rob!)

We also are excited about a new studio gallery opening at 16 E Main in Milan - Arienne Zimmerman - the artist-owner joined us last night and will be a part of the Milan Art Center as well.

Wish list - we're actively looking for
  • tables
  • stools
  • easels
  • cabinets
  • room dividers
  • shelving
If you have something you might like to donate please contact us or leave information in the comments! thanks!

Friday, January 22, 2010

What media are people interesting in learning?

Since we went public about having a space I have had many, many generous people email me with offers of equipment and supplies. I'm amazed at the generosity and excitement that our beginnings of an art center are producing. I also am aware that we probably can't take everything offered simply for lack of space. We'll have to go out in the community more formally at some point to ask what people are interested in studying but in the meantime I thought I'd start by simply asking - please reply in comments (and if you read this in Facebook please come through to the blog to add your response).

Possible media for which we either have potential teachers and/or equipment offered:
perspective drawing
graphic design
watercolor painting
oil painting
encaustic painting (wax based paint)
story telling
glass bead making
jewelry/small metal work
middle eastern dance
puppet making
artist journaling
anything else that you are interested in, know someone who might teach or just think is essential

Monday, January 18, 2010

Next Meeting

We'll be meeting next at 5:00pm on Monday January 25 at the Lighthouse Coffee Company. Please join us to talk about getting our new Art Center up and running. We will talk about our non-profit status, setting up workdays and what needs to happen next to be able to start offering classes as soon as possible.

Spread the word!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our home to be

This is the space, image posted for people to better come up with signage ideas. Feel free to download photo, alter with your ideas and email back to me and I'll post them. (Thanks Kim!)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

logo designs for signage

Here are four possible logo designs - I expect other ones to be submitted and will ask people to vote after we have a few more designs. Send me your designs - bearing in mind that this is for sign which will be made out of metal using a plasma cutter. Edited to add #4.

Milan Arts Council

Welcome to the online home for the Milan Art Center in Milan Michigan. We are a young arts organization just starting to organize a new art center with classes and programming in our small town. We have a space, people interested in teaching and hope to up and running soon. Please chime in on the comments section or email me at las AT to let me know if you're interested in taking or teaching classes or would like to get involved in any way. I expect to post possible logo designs for signage here so too.