Hazel Park Art Fair Connects Those Who Do What They Love

Hazel Park Art Fair Connects Those Who Do What They Love

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Aug. 27, 2018)

Hazel Park, MI- Creativity lined the paths of Green Acres Park this weekend as the community hosted the annual Hazel Park Art Fair.  The event brought artists, musicians and food trucks together to celebrate those things that make people happy.

When asked what she enjoys about painting, artist Kirsten Gerould said “It’s my zen.  No matter what’s going on in the world, or in my life, I’m at peace when I paint.” Geruld, who uses the artist name “Kurse,” spends three to six hours a day working on her creations.

“I went to the Center for Creative Studies and I studied graphic design, but I hated it.  I don’t really think that way,” she said.  “So I dropped out and started doing what I really love.  …We get it pounded into our head we need to have careers.  We need to take our creativity and put it to something corporate, something practical.  I hope society gets past that.

“I think we are in an awakening.  I meet a lot of artists who were in other careers before deciding to do what they love.  It’s insanely inspiring to hear those people’s stories.”

Among her favorite creations were portraits of musicians Lenny Kravitz and Prince.  Like Kurse, the artists that inspire her are those known for doing their own thing.

“I’ve been meeting other artists and we all try to support each other. There’s no competition.  We’re all just trying to do our own thing and be happy.  I’ve never been happier,” Kurse said.

For Cydney Andrew of Hazel Park, adding art to her passion for animals and biology has been like icing on the cake.  Andrew studies wildlife biology at Michigan State University and went with fellow students to Africa to the World Wildlife Fund College to learn about conservation and activism.  While there she took pictures on a safari which she now sells prints of at art fairs and online.

“This is the one that tried to eat me,” she said as she held up a picture of an intently-focused lioness.  “I was in the back of the safari vehicle taking pics of her man eating a buffalo.  I didn’t see her at first. She was over my shoulder, crouched down and ready to pounce.  The safari vehicle is all open so I tapped the guide and pointed her out.  Havi, our guide, said to just stay really really still.  Then he made eye contact with her and she knew she wasn’t being sneaky any more.  So she just got up and walked away, like what, I wasn’t doing anything.”

Andrew was at the Art Fair with her mother Darlene who is a painter.  They’ve been planning their business for a while, even having banners printed up for the shows they hope to do.  But this weekend’s was their first.  “We live in Hazel Park, so we wanted this to be our first one,” said Darlene Andrew as she held her painting of Queen Elizabeth.  Both were proud of each other, and seemed to enjoy the mother-daughter time and meeting the hundreds of people who came to look at their photographs and paintings.

The fair had more than just pictures. Community groups were there to raise money and awareness, including the Hazel Park Library, Wild Wings Bird Rehabilitation, and Voters Not Politicians who support redistricting reform.

There was other types of art as well. There was glass and metal sculpture, wood carvings, clothing and jewelry.  Among those with jewelry was Colleen Wellington who also lives in Hazel Park.  Many of her earrings, bracelets, rings, and necklaces glow in the dark, hence her business name Lightning Bug Beads.

“Who isn’t inspired by lightning bugs?” Wellington said.  “To me it evokes some kind of childhood memory feeling, like it’s innocent and playful.  I get so excited when they come out.  Nothing else matters, I’m just happy.  I try to keep that feeling alive with my work.”

Wellington has been doing art fairs for five years, and this was her second year doing the Hazel Park Art Fair.  “Last year was a huge success,” she said. “And this is a great place for it, here in the park.”

Others sharing their passion included Aurora’s Oddities, Delightful Scents, Geeks with Scissors, Fifth Element Studios, From Tree to Home, Sassy Lass Studio, Uniquely Different Jewelry, Lost Cat Gallery and more.

Though the artists have now gone home, and the DPW crews have removed the fences and signs, a piece of the fair has been left behind.  Artist Carl Oxley did a live demonstration painting on the wall of a small building on the site.  The brightly colored octopus mural will remain through the year to remind visitors to the park of the artistic spirit within the community.

Oxley has been spray-painting his way through requests for murals on businesses and homes ever since his arrest in May for painting a railroad bridge near his home in Royal Oak without permission. He is facing a felony charge for malicious destruction of property and he’s been raising money with murals and by selling pins and lawn signs ever since.

To learn more about the Hazel Park Art Fair, visit their website at http://hpartfair.org/

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