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Rust Belt Artists Getting Excited for May 7 Opening

Rust Belt Artists Getting Excited for May 7 Opening

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 4/15/2011)


As the Rust Belt Artists Market prepares for their May 7 opening, local artists are clamoring for a space at the highly-anticipated new arts collective that will be opening up in the long-vacant former Old Navy building at the corner of Woodward and W. 9 Mile Road.


The Rust Belt Market is a space where artists and crafters can come together to sell their creations on the weekend, and also store them during the week.  Owners Chris and Tiffany Best came up with the idea after visiting Artists and Fleas in New York.  “It’s like a flea market, except when you think of a flea market you think of a bunch of old stuff,” said Chris Best.  “This will be more fun, like an art festival but inside.”

The couple said applications have been pouring in for artists hoping to rent space. There will be 50 spaces available, with low rental fees which can be found at

Theresa Thompson and Ann Warner are two of the local artists whose work has already been accepted for opening weekend.




Thompson is the founder of Tilt Creations, the business through which she sells her homemade handbags, hand embroidered wall hangings and other home décor.

“I am very excited to have the Rust Belt here. And to be a part of it is wonderful! This area is perfect for this type of venue,” Thompson said.  “Ferndale is already so chock full of creative people…it’s perfect.”


Thompson has been selling her work online, with a main blog at, an Etsy shop at, and a Facebook page:


The 39-year-old designer has lived in Oak Park for nine years.  She says she doesn’t have a specific style.  “But I do try to have fun with colors and prints. And when I make a bag, it will be the only bag of that style with that fabric. So it is truly one-of-a-kind,” Thompson said.


“I have always had my hands into something creative ever since I cold pick up a crayon. I still like to draw and paint, but working with fabric & thread has won out. The sewing started when my son wanted to be Robin Hood for Halloween one year. I decided to give it a go myself since I could not find one anywhere. It stuck.”   That was about 12 years ago.  That twelve years of experience can be seen in Thompson’s work at the opening weekend of The Rust Belt Market on May 7.


ANN WARNER, Ann Warner Photography


Photographer Ann Warner has called Ferndale home since 1992.  Though she is a lawyer by day, her passion is in capturing beautiful places in photographs.  “I do art photography – landscapes, architecture, moonrises, sunsets, travel (especially Europe), flowers, doors.  I am working on some macro photography and have been working more in black and white recently,” she said.  Warner’s booth will offer an eclectic mix of large prints, as well as gift cards that feature her shots.

Warner has been working with a web designer/programmer for the past several weeks and expects her website to “go live” around May 1st at   For now her work can be seen on her blog, or on Facebook


“When I first heard about Rust Belt, my initial reaction was ‘That building won’t be empty anymore!’ But when I learned what Tiffany and Chris were going to do with the space, I was thrilled – an artists’ market in my own backyard, so to speak,”  Warner said.    “I applied to be part of it about two minutes after the announcement that they were accepting applications!   Not only will the market be good for artists and vendors, it will be good for Ferndale.  It will further enhance our reputation as a city that attracts artists, musicians and other creative types – and also attract people who support the arts and who give back to the community in so many ways.”


She’s also excited about the changes to what most people remember as Old Navy.  “The building itself will be a work of art – wall murals and exhibits that differ from the traditional art fair booth,” she said.  “It will be a real challenge for me create a display of my work that will fit in with the overall plan the Bests have for the market.”

Ferndale-based artist Mark Sarmel designed the logo for The Rust Belt Market, and his unique graphic work will also have a showplace there.  His website is


Ferndale’s own Shannon Smith will also have a space.  Smith’s artsy business, Feather Heart Trading Company, can be seen at Feather Heart Trading Company offers nature inspired jewelry, natural body products and teas and vintage apparel.


The Rust Belt Market will be open from 11am-7pm on Saturdays and Sundays year round, beginning May 7.   To find out more, go to


Also see our previous story at

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