Get Your Kicks in F2H This Week! (1.13.20)

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 January 13th:

  • Ann Arbor artist Terry Butler, who took Best in Show honors at the 2019 Art on the Grand in downtown Farmington, is featured through January 18 at the City Gallery at the Costick Center.
  • Classical Lunch. KickstART Farmington & Thistle Rose Academy of Arts invite you to bring your lunch and a colleague and join us for our free Classical Lunch series, featuring guitarist Samad Ansari. January 15th at noon at KickstART Gallery & Shop at 33304 Grand River Ave.
  • Wednesday Night Sessions. KickstART Farmington hosts the return of Wednesday Night Sessions, a reading and discussion series, hosted by poet Mitchell Nobis. Join us for an evening of reading and conversation with poet Joy Gaines-Friedler and writer Stephen Mack Jones. January 15th at 7:00 pm at KickstART Gallery & Shop at 33304 Grand River Ave.
  • International Film Series. Watch the Oscar-nominated film Cold War on the big screen. January 15th, at 6:30 pm at the Farmington Community Library on 12 Mile Rd.
  • Creative F2H Meetup. This is a kickoff for a new networking event for those who work and/or play in the arts, and creative & cultural organizations and businesses in the Farmington/Hills area. Come meet other artists and creatives in the community. January 17th at 4:30 pm at KickstART Gallery & Shop at 33304 Grand River Ave.
  • Grab a movie and popcorn at the Farmington Civic Theater. This week’s schedule (Monday-Thursday) includes Frozen 2, Harriet, and Ford V Ferrari.

KickstARTing Creativity: Bicycling Will Save Tomorrow’s Cities & How Artists Build the Spirit of a Town

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!

  • Bicycling Will Save Tomorrow’s Cities: “Growth in urban bicycle use can drive profound societal changes” through “reductions in traffic and pollution, less-crowded public transit systems, and improvements in public health.”
  • Crafting a Road to Recovery with Dulcimer Strings: “the Appalachian Artisan Center … embarked on … an apprentice program for young adults rebounding from the insidious treadmill of opioids … participants … learn traditional arts like luthiery—the making and repairing of stringed instruments.”
  • 3 Neighborly Goals for 2020: “When we are attentive—looking closely at our places and listening to the stories that are emerging from them—we start to notice the hopeful, inspiring, and impactful things that are occurring all around us.”

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Matt Schellenberg

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, writer, and musician Matt Schellenberg.  

When did you first get started in the arts?

I was so young I don’t remember (two or three years old) but my mother saved a bunch of my earliest work. They were very colorful paintings full of motion and shapes. When she would ask me what the pictures were, I would almost always answer, “A broken down house.” 

I began writing in the sixth or seventh grade, mostly documenting really interesting dreams and modifying them into fantasy/science fiction short stories. During my senior year at Milford High School, I spent two semesters of independent study writing the beginning of my first novel (which I never completed, nor ever will) under the supervision of Mrs. Leppela.

My interest in music began before the 9th grade just after I became a Christian. I wrote an entire album that summer. Some of the music was obviously borrowed from the artists I was listening to but some was quite original.

… keep creating whatever it is that is in your head and heart—and never stop asking questions and observing and learning.

I began sculpting in wood (and making furniture) while in college. My first pieces were very rough totem poles as well as a keyboard stand and other objects which we used on stage with the band, Territorial Chant. That band is still together (although with different members) and performing today. (Our next concert is scheduled for Friday, January 10th at the Hot Rock Café—24300 Hoover Road, just south of 10 Mile Road.)

Did you receive formal training? 

My high school art teacher Andrea Bronson was extremely helpful. She taught me the basics of color and composition and I am eternally grateful for her guidance. 

My wife and I studied voice together at William Tyndale College (no longer in operation) in Farmington Hills, MI. I loved the small class size and all the individual attention. I learned much about singing and music composition that I had never even imagined that I could learn.

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

In 2010, I self-published my first novel, The Moon beneath the Mountains. It was somewhat of a surprise because I had given up hope of ever seeing that novel in print. I finished the first draft of that work in 1996, sent it to a literary agent who sent it to several publishing houses, and received many, many rejections. I looked into self-publishing at that time and it was too expensive. I then accepted the fact that I may never be published. Then, in 2008, a friend of mine showed me a book that she self-published. When I asked her how expensive it was, she surprised me with her answer. I looked into it myself and, after having sold more than 500 copies (and that with miserably little marketing), I am now working on a sequel.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

My Busia (Polish Grandma) has always been my example (arthritic to the point of being in bed for long periods yet never complaining, always overjoyed at any of my art that I showed her). Up until she died at the ripe old age of 97 a couple of years ago, she always told me that this life is so very short. She told me countless times that she remembered like it was yesterday, how she and her sisters would pick potatoes in the field all day long and how they sang songs and laughed as they did so. “It happened so fast, Matthew!” She never preached at me or tried to give me the moral of the story. She did not have to. I soaked it all in and realized that, although all of us need some measure of security and material wealth, there is something much more important here. I have set my mind toward making the most of my relationship with God, my family, and the arts during this short time here on this earth.

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

In the early 1990s, when I was a part of the artist’s co-op named The Lawrence Street Gallery in downtown Pontiac, I had the privilege of talking with an artist named Joan Brace. She was in her 80’s at that point and had worked as an artist all her life. When I told her I was thinking about getting a master’s degree in fine art, she told me not to waste my time. She saw that I had already stumbled across a distinct style and that all I needed at that point was to work, work, work! I am grateful that she gave me that advice. I am not against education but sometimes we learn in ways other than the traditional venues. Because of her simple observations, I spent the next four or five years creating an immense amount of work and came into my own as an artist. I was never ashamed to ask questions and never stopped learning. I also learned that my first attempt at almost anything will be an exercise in learning how NOT to do it. After that lesson, I am able to make steps forward in the actual DOING of the thing.

In a nutshell, keep creating whatever it is that is in your head and heart—and never stop asking questions and observing and learning.

Learn more about Matt Schellenberg and his work here and here.

(Are you an artist or creative living in Farmington/Hills? We’d like to feature you and your work here, too. Download our questionnaire and return it to info@kickstartfarmington.org.)

Get Your Kicks in F2H This Week! (1.6.20)

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 January 6th:

  • Ann Arbor artist Terry Butler, who took Best in Show honors at the 2019 Art on the Grand in downtown Farmington, is featured through January 18 at the City Gallery at the Costick Center.
  • Memoirs and Stories. Join a memoir writing gathering and share your favorite memories and stories with others. January 7th, at 10:30 am at the Farmington Community Library on 12 Mile Rd.
  • Classical Lunch. KickstART Farmington & Thistle Rose Academy of Arts invite you to bring your lunch and a colleague and join us for our free Classical Lunch series, featuring violinist Joseph Gray. January 8th at noon at KickstART Gallery & Shop at 33304 Grand River Ave.
  • Elvis Presley’s Birthday Movie. See Elvis Presley in the film King Creole on January 8th at 7:30 pm at the Farmington Civic Theater.
  • Grab a movie and popcorn at the Farmington Civic Theater. This week’s schedule (Monday-Thursday) includes Richard Jewell, Harriet, and Ford V Ferrari.