Ferndale Restaurants Using Empty Tabletops to Promote Local Artists
(Lara Mossa, Oct. 26, 2020)
FERNDALE – With the Coronavirus canceling art fairs across the country, it has been hard for local artists to connect with those who might love to see their work. Restaurants in Downtown Ferndale are working to change that.
Starting in mid-September, Rosie O’Grady’s set aside 10 empty tables for artists to display their wares. Restaurant Executive Ed Jeffery explained that the tables were not being used, because of the Coronavirus restrictions that mandated more space in between tables.
“The Funky Ferndale Art Fair has always been a great weekend for business,” Jeffrey said. “2020 being what it is, we were pretty confident it would be canceled. Due to social distancing we had a lot of tabletop space available for display.”
One of the employees, Devin Germaine, came up with the idea to connect the business with artists through the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission.
“We got together and decided we could find a way to make lemonade by giving local artists a place to exhibit and our guests a chance to do a little extra shopping,” he added.
The art show will run into the holidays unless restaurants are able to start using all their tables again. There are currently 12 artists and an author involved in the project. The pieces include everything from traditional paintings and prints to metal and other media. Prices range from $5 to $500.
Artists include Was from Art On5 in Royal Oak, painter Marta Carvajoal, wood artist Tim McEvoy, and author of “Dead Mom Disease” Lucy Lane.
Rosie O’Grady’s was first to host artists, and Bobcat Bonnie’s across the street has joined in. The Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission is hoping other restaurants will join in now that the idea has taken off.
“We’d like it to be more robust,” said Mark Loeb, a commission member. “Many artists have run out of sales outlets in this COVID situation. We’d love to have more people come out and look at the art and purchase.”
About 75 percent of the artists have sold multiple pieces, while the others have received attention, Loeb said.
Artists are not present at the display, but patrons can make a purchase using their cell phone and scanning the items’ QR (Quick Response) codes. This way the Rosie O’Grady’s workers do not have to be involved in the transactions.
Emily Adelman, 38, of Hazel Park has a big display including her original notebooks, bookmarks, keychains, pens, pencils and coasters along with three-dimensional paintings. One of her newer products is a mask hanger designed to be mounted on a wall.
Adelman, a professional artists for the last five years, works with epoxy resin, a form of plastic that she molds into different shapes. Her 3-D paintings are made with geodes, a form of rock with layers of quartz crystal. Prices range from $1 for a pen or pencil to $50 for a painting.
“I think it’s a fantastic cooperation between the restaurants and the local artists helping each other out,” Adelman said of the show. “I hope to remain as long as possible. I think it’s a great thing they’ve organized especially with the holiday season coming up. People like to find unique gifts. It’s been very difficult to find unique gifts with the pandemic.”
There also has been some interest in creating art shows on the days that restaurants are closed, Loeb said.
“It helps to cement people’s idea that Ferndale is a community that supports the arts.” Restaurant owners and artists who want to participate can contact Mark Loeb at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the Ferndale Arts and Cultural Commission visit their Facebook page.