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KickstARTing Creativity: Displaying Humanity & Beauty

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!

  • The Onion Has a Little Fun With Our Priorities: In a huge blow to the already neglected varsity team, the Lowell High School football program found its future season in jeopardy this week after administrators allocated $500,000 of school funds to the theater department’s upcoming production of Little Women.
  • The Case for Slower Cities: “When people start driving at a certain speed, they lose awareness of where they are.… Where this gets reflected in urbanism is the more we create spaces where people move fast, the less they understand about what those spaces are.”

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Mary Lou Stropoli

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 and creative entrepreneur Mary Lou Stropoli, owner of That Art Girl, offering DIY products that facilitate art making for everyone.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I’ve been an artist since I was a kid.  It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, with the exception of being an art teacher.  

Did you receive formal training in art?

I have a BFA (Bachelor’s of Fine Art) from The University of Michigan and a K-12 Certification in Art Education.  I loved learning all aspects about art production and developing the skill set to support that passion in others. Teaching others the fundamentals of art and helping them discover, develop, and express their creativity is at the heart of my teaching philosophy; I help others to see and appreciate their own giftedness as well as the talents of others.

When we create and are true to our talents, we develop into the best versions of ourselves.

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

I’ve sold at Art on the Grand for the past two years.  I started selling at Founder’s Festival way back in the day when the art was still under the big yellow and white tent (Now I’m dating myself)!  I also teach Watercolor for Farmington Hills Cultural Arts. 

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

Mary Oliver: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists? 

The active process of manifesting an artwork from concept to final product is a thrill that may be unrivaled. The process itself evokes a sense of awe and wonder. Art students tend to be well-rounded individuals with strong decision-making skills, visual thinkers with a broad world view. In the workplace, individuals with these skills sets are often innovators and sought after with high regard. (Think: Google.) Ironically, I often see parents discouraging their children from pursuing a career in the arts. To the younger artist, I urge you to follow your passion to where your heart lies. Although there isn’t always a road map, you are competent and can forge a fulfilling life for yourself in the arts.

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

I’ve always dreamed that we could have a collective arts space, where artists could maintain studios and open them for First Night Events.  The community as a whole would benefit from an artists’ community whereby collaboration and interaction are commonplace.

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

I believe in the unifying power of art—it connects people of all ages, backgrounds, interests and abilities. It’s my personal belief that we are all creators in some fashion. When we create and are true to our talents, we develop into the best versions of ourselves. The making and viewing of art literally brings people together across cultures and continents. The process of creating can change lives by building self-confidence, harnessing imagination, helping to practice problem-solving, and bridging differences. 

Learn more about Mary Lou Stropoli and her work here and here.

Would You Like to See an Art Gallery in Downtown Farmington?

In July KickstART Farmington hosted a pop-up art exhibition featuring work by Aj Cooke. During the four days of the pop-up we heard from many people a desire for a “permanent” art gallery and space for events.

Well, we heard you and we’re working on a plan to partner with some like-minded groups on a building in downtown Farmington, with plans including a gallery/event space and a shop selling work by local artists and creatives!

To make this happen, however, we need your support. Our partners will help with the lease but there are many additional costs we need to raise funds for, including insurance, utilities, signage, retail displays, along with furniture and equipment.

We’re looking to raise $10,000 over the next 30 days. Will you join us? One hundred people donating $100 will get us to our goal but any amount will help.

Make a donation today and we’ll invite you to an exclusive sneak peek open house!

Get Your Kicks in F2H This Week! (8.19.19)

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 August 19th:

  • Enjoy the fiber art of Muriel Jacobs in an exhibition titled Threads of a Life –My Story, at the City Gallery at the Costick Center through September 6th, open weekdays.
  • Lunch Beats in Riley Park, featuring accomplished singer and songwriter Emmanuelle Jacob. August 21st at noon in Riley Park.
  • Family Fun in Riley Park, featuring performers Cirque Amongus. August 21st at 7 pm in Riley Park.
  • Chirp, a four piece known for their progressive rock/funk and jazz-fusion, keep their sound fresh by hopping genres with a blend of originals and covers and will close out the season at Rhythms in Riley Park. August 23rd at 7:00 pm in Riley Park.
  • Shakespeare in Riley Park, featuring Much Ado About Nothing by Thistle Rose Academy of Arts, presented by KickstART Farmington. August 24th at 3:30 pm in Riley Park.
  • Grab a movie and popcorn at the Farmington Civic Theater. This week’s schedule (Monday-Thursday) includes Yesterday, PavarottiRocketman, and The Secret Life of Pets 2.

Love in the Songs: Music + Movies

KickstART Farmington and the Greater Farmington Film Festival are pleased to present a fall film series at the Farmington Civic Theater.

The series is generously sponsored by School of Rock Farmington, with support from Thistle Rose Academy of Arts.

Love in the Songs: Music + Movies is a series of three films documenting the power of music in our lives. The movies include:

Amazing Grace on September 11th at 7:00 pm.

“When Aretha Franklin sits down at the piano and begins belting out the opening verse to Marvin Gaye’s ‘Wholy Holy,’ it’s maybe three or four notes before the tiny hairs on the back of your neck stand up at attention. They’ll stay that way for the next 80 minutes, as you realize you’re witnessing the performance of a lifetime.

Amazing Grace is a documentary chronicle of the two nights in 1972 that the Queen of Soul spent recording her landmark live gospel album of the same name at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, California. It’s an astounding cinematic experience — elevational and ecstatic…. This is a miracle of a movie, and it’s a miracle we get to see it at all.” — Sean Burns

May it Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers on October 16th at 7:00 pm.

Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio’s award-winning May it Last is an intimate portrait of the acclaimed North Carolina band The Avett Brothers, charting their decade-and-a-half rise while chronicling their collaboration with famed producer Rick Rubin on the multi-Grammy-nominated album True Sadness, released on American Recordings/Republic Records. With the recording process as a backdrop, the film depicts a lifelong bond and unique creative partnership, as band members experience marriage, divorce, parenthood, illness, and the challenges of the music business. More than just a music documentary, May it Last is a meditation on family, love, and the passage of time.

Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury on November 13th at 7:00 pm.

Parallel Love: The Story of a Band Called Luxury follows the path of Luxury, a band from small-town Georgia, who, on the cusp of success, suffer a devastating touring wreck with long-term consequences. In the intervening years, they continue to make records and three members of the band become Eastern Orthodox priests. Through interviews and archival footage, Parallel Love tells the gripping and poignant story of Luxury and documents the making of a new record, now as priests.

Tickets are $6 and available at the door or save over 15% by purchasing a series pass for all three films for only $15 below.

The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Cindy Carleton

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 painter Cindy Carleton, a member of the Farmington Area Arts Commission.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I was pretty young when I started drawing and painting.  I remember my Kindergarten teacher being a little confused when I blended my crayons when coloring.

Did you receive formal training in art?

I graduated from Wayne State with a BFA. While my concentration was in commercial art, it’s there that I really began to appreciate and dive into printmaking and painting.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

My father was a draftsman and really encouraged me to pursue a career in graphics. He was also very musical which made for many great memories in our home. Dad listened to and played Jazz and Polka music, brother’s played guitar – rock and metal, sister sang pop.

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

The Farmington Area Arts Commission, Farmington Arts Council, DIA, and Adcraft.

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

I have had pieces in the last series of the Public Art Program and currently have a solo show as part of the current program.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

Somebody already used it, but I’ve always liked Picasso’s quote “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose is to give it away.” Then there’s always “Next to torture, art persuades fastest.”

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Don’t lose your sense of wonder. Be open and opportunities will come.

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

A permanent gallery space and opportunities to network.