FORWARD ARTS

BELLE ISLE ART EXHIBIT

“BOATS!!!” installation by Matthew Scarlett, part of 1st Belle Isle Art Exhibit in 2009.  Photo by Alan Truhan.
“BOATS!!!” installation by Matthew Scarlett, part of 1st Belle Isle Art Exhibit in 2009. Photo by Alan Truhan.

Belle Isle Park is one of the city’s greatest assets and we are proud to be given the opportunity by City of Detroit to work within such a beautiful and significant space. Started in 2008 by Louis Casinelli, the Director of Access Arts program, and a friend of his, Access held its first 2 exhibits at Belle Isle in 2009.

In 2010, two more exhibits were held on the island and an education program was started. That same year Access Arts moved its operations under the umbrella of Forward Arts.

“Plasticity” installation by Julie and Stephanie Howells (it was epic!), part of the 5th Belle Isle Art Exhibit.
“Plasticity” installation by Julie and Stephanie Howells (it was epic!), part of the 5th Belle Isle Art Exhibit.

In our 2011 exhibit on the island, we started funding projects for the first time. Exhibit leaders, artists and volunteers have been the backbone of this grassroots exhibit. In years past, it was by the blood and spirit of these groups who made the exhibit happen. So it gave us much pleasure to fund 19 projects (25 artists total) for 2011, creating a major milestone for Belle Isle Art Exhibit. Creating opportunities for artists and paying them and administrators is one of Forward Arts’ main principles.

2011 Also marked the exhibit’s first Curatorial Committee. The 2011 Belle Isle Curatorial Committee consisted of Cedric Tai (Artist, Educator and Kresge Artist Fellow), Louis Casinelli (Artist, Founder and Director of Access Arts), Andrew Thompson (Artist and Teacher at U of M, CCS and Paint Creek Center) and Vanessa Miller (Artist, Educator, CAMP Director and member of New Leaders Art Council of Michigan). It was fantastic to work with these talented individuals and can’t wait to know the 2012 individuals.

The elephant making workshop at the 5th Belle Isle Art Exhibit hostsite.  The workshop was a partnership with University of Michigan’s Detroit Connections Project & Marygrove College’s Visual Art Department for their exhibition “The Gathering of the Herd.”), part of the 5th Belle Isle Art Exhibit.
The elephant making workshop at the 5th Belle Isle Art Exhibit hostsite. The workshop was a partnership with University of Michigan’s Detroit Connections Project & Marygrove College’s Visual Art Department for their exhibition “The Gathering of the Herd.”

Since it’s being, the Belle Isle Art Exhibit has produced 82 works of art by over 50 different artists. The exhibit is a great example of when art organizations and the city are able to partner and create arts & culture while serving the community at the same time. Every year, more organizations, local businesses and communities have come on board to help make the Belle Isle Art Exhibit happen. In the past, local groups such as Detroit Synergy, Greening of Detroit, Friends of Belle Isle and The Hub of Detroit have all supported the exhibit. Additional support this year will come from Belle Isle Women’s Committee, Detroit Parks Coalition, Studio Couture Detroit, Wheelhouse Detroit and Woodbridge Neighborhood Development Corporation, and add Supino Pizzeria and Recycle Here! as sponsors. And of course, the City of Detroit continues to be a major supporter, especially its staff at Belle Isle Park. Because of all this, Access has been able to grow. So far over 65 different works of art from 41 different local artists, including students from our youth workshops, have been shown at Belle Isle.

For more information about Belle Isle Art Exhibit, please visit www.accessartsdetroit.org/belleisle or email info@accessartsdetroit.org

Installation by Sean Hages.  The piece produced this beautiful buzzing and humming sound.  Part of the 3rd Belle Isle Art Exhibit in 2010.
Installation by Sean Hages. The piece produced this beautiful buzzing and humming sound. Part of the 3rd Belle Isle Art Exhibit in 2010.

Installation by Miranda Clark.  People signed up to have dinner there over the same week as the exhibit, with food brought by Miranda herself.  They were asked to write letters to each other afterward.
Installation by Miranda Clark. People signed up to have dinner there over the same week as the exhibit, with food brought by Miranda herself. They were asked to write letters to each other afterward.

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