Dragon on the Lake Showcases Arts in Lake Orion

Dragon on the Lake Showcases Arts in Lake Orion

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Sept. 20, 2021)

Lake Orion, MI – Shelby and Cliff Chatfield moved to Lake Orion from Louisville, KY three years ago and were excited to come out for the community’s annual Dragon on the Lake Festival.  Not only was it a great chance to check out artists, vendors, local restaurants, concerts, and family-friendly fun – it was also a chance for Shelby to connect with the Orion Arts Center.

The Orion Arts Center hosts the event each year to celebrate the arts and showcase their programming.   “I’ve always been an artistic person and I want to meet other artistic people,” said Shelby Chatfield.  “I’m going to Baker and I do a lot of acrylic painting, but I want to learn new things. The pottery sounds interesting, and it’s good to know there’s a place to do different things here.”

Kelly Gagliardo is an instructor at the Orion Arts Center, who spent time at the festival demonstrating the pottery wheel for curious passers-by.  She’s a former college professor who taught design, but left to focus on motherhood.  She came to Lake Orion from New York in 2013, and also was drawn in once she learned of the center.  “I was trying to find other artists, and this was perfect,” she told Oakland County Times.  “I saw the pottery classes and I was looking for something to do, and I got hooked pretty fast.”

Gagliardo continued to perfect her pottery-making skills, and now she is an instructor.  In addition to demonstrating her craft, the potter was helping to raise money for a new kiln.  There is currently a small kiln, and they’re aiming to get a larger one.  “It will be nice to be able to do bigger pieces and have more projects going in at once,” she said.

The OAC’s mission statement has always been “to make fine art experiences available to Southeast Michigan residents and artists by nurturing the artistic expression and creativity of individuals of all ages and artistic levels through art classes, outreach programs, exhibitions and community events.”

Dragon on the Lake gave many artists and local creators a chance to share their work.  This was Nicole Collins’ first year as a vendor, though having grown up in Lake Orion she’s visited in the past.  She started her jewelry business, Hints of Nature, in April and has been putting her skills to use as she pursues her degree in business at Walsh Business School.  “I’ve been making jewelry for seven years,” she said.  “I mostly like nature themes.  I use polymer clay to make them and it’s really fun.”

Another nature-inspired artist uses plastic sodapop bottles to make butterfly and dragonfly themed creations.  Linda Jones came from Fowlerville to showcase her business “My Dad’s Butterflies.”  For fifteen years she’s traveled back and forth between Michigan and Florida doing craft shows and gracing the world with the thin, bright plastic insects.  There are hairpins, necklaces, and nightlights in a variety of colors.  “People really get a kick out of them, and it’s a way of recycling,” Jones said.

Other festivities included dragon boat races, dance performances, a kids area with bounce houses and games, concerts, a tiki bar for the grown-ups, and a dragon dance through the streets.  Learn more about Dragon on the Lake on their website.  For more local news visit the Orion Area News Page.  Help us grow in your area by Buying Advertising on this site or Signing up to Make a Monthly Pledge.


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