The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Claire George

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature artist Claire George.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I’ve been drawing and making art for as long as I can remember. My mom being the imaginative and lovely English teacher that she is, encouraged exploring creativity in every aspect. I’ve been drawing and painting since I could pick up a pencil and as a kid I read every book I could get my hands on. Creative things were just always around.

Did you partake in formal art classes? If so, where and what did you enjoy about the experience?

I started taking formal art lessons when I was in the 5th grade and continued until I was a sophomore in high school. The following summers I enrolled in pre-college summer programs at Columbus College of Art and Design before my Junior and Senior years of high school. After graduating from Farmington High, I went to Columbus College of Art and Design on a scholarship and received my bachelor’s degree in illustration.

The majority of my classes in college were art related so I was beyond excited that I really got to focus on what I wanted to, and work on skills that I planned to use for the future. It was very nice being in an environment that nurtured my design skills.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

My dad has probably been one of the biggest mentors in my life. Being a retired FBI agent, he’s not much of an artist himself (though he really isn’t bad …) but he always encouraged me to be who I was and when he saw I was into art he embraced it. Honestly though, my parents were both very supportive, and even excited when I told them I wanted to go to art school. I was luckier than a lot of my friends and classmates around me.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a community?

Communities are comprised of diverse people having multiple perspectives to share. Art can share those perspectives unrestricted by language or culture, and thereby share ideas, open minds and influence communities for the better. Specifically, art is a strong form of communication because it directly affects how people feel. With only a glance, it can amuse and entertain, market a product or even make impactful political statements. Art in the community starts conversations about important current events or can simply brighten up a room. Art enriches life and generates joy as well as other emotions. A community is lessened by not having those things.

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Just don’t quit. If an artist is better than you, it doesn’t make you any less good, and if something doesn’t come out exactly the way you planned, that’s still okay too. Good art is anything that makes you feel an emotion, so if your art connects with you or someone else in any way, it’s good art.

Learn more about Claire George and her work

Get Your Kicks in F2H This Week! (7.29.19)

There’s always a lot of great arts and cultural events in the Farmington/Hills community and this week is no exception.

Here are KickstART farmington’s recommendations for the week of July 29th:

  • Enjoy Kids Gone Creative, an exhibition of artwork from the 2019 Summer Art Camps, at the City Gallery at the Costick Center through August 2nd, open weekdays.
  • Downtown with the FCB! As the Farmington Community Band wraps up their 53rd season, enjoy a wonderful selection of great music including movies, marches and season highlights. July 29th at 7:00 pm in Riley Park.
  • Community Sings with Matt Watroba, an evening of song where people of all abilities, ages, cultures, and musical interests are invited to sing-along, bring a song to share, or just listen and enjoy a powerful experience that nurtures body and soul and strengthens the community. July 30th, at 7:00 pm at the Farmington Community Library on 12 Mile Rd.
  • Lunch Beats in Riley Park, featuring Carly Bins, a 19-year-old singer-songwriter originally from Northville and now based out of Nashville. July 31st at noon in Riley Park.
  • The Farmington Community Chorus performs at Stars in the Park. August 1st at 7:00 pm Thursday at the Heritage Park Amphitheater.
  • Randy Brock Group will be rockin’ the blues with original tunes and the music of Stevie Ray Vaughn, Eric Clapton, and more at Rhythms in Riley Park. August 2nd at 7:00 pm in Riley Park.
  • Grab a movie and popcorn at the Farmington Civic Theater. This week’s schedule (Monday-Thursday) includes PavarottiRocketmanLate Night, and Aladdin.

KickstARTing Creativity: The Benefits of Removing Cars from the City Center

We highlight here some great articles we’ve read this week dealing with art, creative placemaking, and building great communities. You’re sure to find some inspiration to make your life and our community even better!

  • How Cities Can Consider Mental Health in Planning Green Space: An international team of researchers says that cities should consider mental health benefits as they plan nature spaces in cities…. [their plan] offers a framework for cities to incorporate and measure mental health benefits from parks, tree plantings and other green spaces.
  • Theaster Gates on Belonging and Placemaking: I know how cities work. I love the fact that I’m cross trained in that way, but beauty was guiding me, spiritual stuff was guiding me…. I’m actually better when I’m an artist. I’m a better placemaker than any planner when I’m an artist.

Join us for Shakespeare in Riley Park

KickstART Farmington is pleased to present Shakespeare in Riley Park, a Thistle Rose Players production of Much Ado About Nothing on Saturday, August 24th, at 3:30 pm.

The performance is free. Please bring chairs or a blanket to the park for your comfort.

Riley Park is located in downtown Farmington.

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Jonathan Braue

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature filmmaker and storyteller Jonathan Braue.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I have been involved with some form of art since I was young, starting with music and growing that into drawing, woodworking, and theater. I finally found my art form in filmmaking once I put my hands on a first video camera in high school. From that moment, I couldn’t get enough of it.

Did you study filmmaking?  

My only formal training came from a year-long, high school Film & Broadcast course at Kimball High School at the time (now, Royal Oak High School). I also took a few electives in college. What I enjoyed most from my high school course was being entrusted to take a camera and simply create. There was no right or wrong to it. The class was treated as a workshop to experiment A LOT and learn from your failures which eventually lead to your successes.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Surprisingly, I have not had many direct mentors in my work, but those that I would put on a list are my best friend and business partner, Joe Talbot; and my investor and friend, Dan Gilbert. Outside of those two, I draw inspiration, influence and critiques from many friends, colleagues and leaders in the industry.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

Not at the moment but looking to get more involved both in Detroit and my current hometown of Farmington.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

The piece that means the most to me is a film I just made called The Pearson Twins. Seeing how that piece impacts people’s perceptions on life for the better is what brings me the most joy out of the work I do.

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

My platform for my work is primarily digital or in a theater so my work has been shown at places like The Fox, Cobo Hall, and Fisher Theater.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” -Albert Einstein

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Create all the time. The only way you get better is by fearlessly creating all the time, learning from what you created, and making the next creation better than the last.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?

A centralized place/organization/creator space.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

Art is culture. It is what gives a place its personality. If you want to leave an imprint on a time and place, what is left for future generations is what is built and created.

Learn more about Jonathan and his work at Woodward Original.

Call for Artists: ART on the GRAND 2020

The City of Farmington Hills Special Services Department’s Cultural Arts Division and the Farmington Downtown Development Authority announce that online applications for the 11th annual ART on the GRAND 2020 are now being accepted.

ART on the GRAND will take place June 6-7, 2020.

This juried fine art and craft fair has found its way into the heart of Michigan art lovers.

Applications can be found here:  If you apply by October 31, 2019, you will receive a discounted “early bird” application fee of only $20 (a $5 savings over the regular fee of $25.)