(Crystal A. Proxmire, Jan. 5, 2011)
When Level One Bank took over Paramount Bank at 22635 Woodward on Dec. 10, 2010, the walls of the lobby, normally decorated with the work of local artists, stood bare. But now that management at the new headquarters in Farmington Hills has had a chance to get settled in with the acquisition, they’ve turned their eyes back on how to continue Paramount’s dedication to supporting local artists.
On Jan. 4, 2011 Ferndale painter Kate Paul came in with hammer, nails and painted canvases to bring the lobby/gallery back to life. Her exhibit, “Ardent” officially opens Jan. 10, with a reception on Friday, Jan. 21 from 5pm-8pm. It features a variety of work that reflects her “ardent” desire to share her world through her art.
There are florals, portraits, scenery and dream-like paintings that might, you’d think, tell a story. “As you can see I certainly like color and mixing images a bit with each other. Some of the painting may seem have a story but it’s not my intent,” Paul said. “It’s up to the viewer to see for themselves what they may like the translation to be. In this age of instant ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ it’s a visceral response that is the truest for the viewer. I get the joy of painting and then watching how people relate to what I’ve painted. They often see things I didn’t imagine!”
Paul moved to Michigan in 1995 after meeting her husband in LA, where she painting sets for the film industry. Since 1992 she has owned Kate Paul Studios LLC, a business that provides many types of decorative painting services including set painting, murals, architectural painting, children’s book illustration, and other commissioned work. In March 2009 she was selected to paint the stairwell mural to the Children’s Room at the Royal Oak Public Library. From 1997-2004 she created “Noogieland” inside Gilda’s Club, and Gest Omelettes restaurant in West Bloomfield boasts another of her murals.
“When the paid work is complete I please myself by working on my own point of view in fine art painting,” Paul said.
The return of art to the former Community Arts @ Paramount Gallery is welcomed by Level One Bank staffers old and new. “When Level One took over, we knew they were going to bring back the art. They really like the idea of sharing the space with local artists, and of having a lobby that is a little more fun and interesting than your normal boring banks,” said Marius Padieu, a former Paramount teller who has stayed on through the transition. “They’re talking about opening galleries in the other Level One locations – it will be like Ferndale in the other cities now!”
Level One acquired Paramount after it was closed down by the state for being undercapitalized, mainly because of business loans that were not being repaid. Both Paramount and Level One were headquartered in Farmington Hills, and the transition has been an easy one. Level One now operates six branches and has total assets over $400 million according to their website www.levelonebanking.com.
Besides the name, little has changed at the Ferndale branch. John McQuiggin is still the branch manager, and Margaret, Marie and Marius still man the counter and drive-up window, ready with smiles and good neighborly conversation. And now that the art is back up on the walls, 22635 Woodward is back to being a truly Ferndalian kind of bank.
Read some of our previous stories about Paramount Bank and their commitment to the arts:
Art About Books at Paramount Bank is Another Chapter in Big Read Event http://www.ferndale115.com/19p15gallery.html
Custom Guitar Exhibit at Paramount
Albert Young’s Community Arts @ Paramount Debut
Metro Detroit Gay & Lesbian Chamber Formed in Fabulous Ferndale
Also check out Marius Padieu’s Zumba Class Article at: