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October 18, 2012
Let's celebrate a 75th birthday with presence.

The Grosse Pointe ART Center invites the community to its birthday party from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20, at 17051 Kercheval, in the Village. The celebration includes food, beverages and live and silent auctions. The evening's highlight is a "celebrity" auction.

Some 35 people about town, "celebrities," were matched with artists who created a piece of art inspired by that celebrity.

For example, City of Grosse Pointe Manager Peter Dame was matched with Susan Munro. He inspired Munro to create a collage of photographs depicting the city.

While photographer Lisa Vreede took a picture of a sunrise over Lake St. Clair because Julie and Chris Ahee of edmund t. AHEE Jewelers, said they the lake's sun-ensconced scenes are what they most enjoy about Grosse Pointe.

There will be close to 100 pieces donated to the art center for the birthday party's auction, said Amy DeBrunner, the center's director.

Though the evening generates about 5 percent of the center's annual budget, it is the celebration's core.

"The celebration is focusing on the birthday party," she said.

Yet, it is more than a birthday party — it is an announcement to the community of the center's continued commitment.

The non-profi t organization is dedicated to encouraging and promoting artistic talent and art education through the actions and participation of a diverse membership.

The association is committed to showcasing a wide range of artistic styles and media through various community outreach activities, including exhibitions, lectures and art classes, said the mission statement. "I feel strongly about inclusiveness, " DeBrunner said. "We are mission driven to promote arts in the community.

"I've been director three and a half years and still Grosse Pointers don't know about the art center. We've done a fair job of promoting (the center) and we've been voted in the top fi ve (favorites) of Click on Detroit. The art community knows we are


According to DeBrunner, the center began when the Ford and Dodge women met to show water colors of the lake they had completed.

It was an exclusive club.

Years later, the Neighborhood Club held a public exhibition only once. That was followed by the art center leasing space in a house on

Jefferson and Maryland for $1 a month until the city tore it down. The organization moved to Wayburn and Kercheval paying market rent prices. In July, the art center moved to its new location. DeBrunner's predecessor, Susan McDonald, opened membership to

be more inclusive and member driven. And, DeBrunner said, she has been expanding membership to artists from the metro area, California and internationally, including Peruvian Juan Carols Moscario Zeballos, who works mostly in oil. He visits Grosse Pointe once a

year to create and to leave his completed works.

The spacious store front is fi lled with local artists who work in oils, watercolors, ceramics, fabric and metal, all for sale.

Workshops, the gift shop, membership and exhibitions at Grosse Pointe ART Center fulfill, what DeBrunner sees as the center's contribution to the community to interact, collaborate, expand, promote and sell cultural arts. There are six to eight exhibitions a

year, each with a preview party attracting 200 to 300 guests.

"There are talented people in this community,"she said of those who have work in the store and of those taking classes.

Six week workshops are held fi ve times a year, offering classes for both children and adults.Classes include, oil and watercolor painting, photography, traditional Japanese woodblock printing, fi gure drawing and glass painting.

"We have a broad, diverse offering for adults and children," DeBrunner said.

Classes depend on the availability of the instructors and attendees feedback, DeBrunner said.

She said the art center is a good place to buy not only a piece to decorate the home, but also Christmas presents and stocking stuffers.

Shoppers will find pieces priced at less than $50 and gift wrapping is free.

The City provides the wrapping materials for the wrap center.

DeBrunner said if gifts are bought in the Village, they also can be wrapped free at the art center.

One could say, the Grosse Pointe ART Center is both a gift giver and a gift recipient.

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