Iconic landmarks and sights to see; more often than not, we are blissfully unaware of the art that is present in our surroundings. We may pass by a building, a statue or an archway during our daily commute and take it for granted, but those are things that help make a city unique. Art is what truly sets one city apart from another. A city’s art is iconic in itself; it has the ability to reflect cultural ties, historical elements, economic impacts and a city’s overall mood.
When we look at Flint and the art that is created here, there are so many unique influences that can impact a piece of art. Any work could reflect the daily life of someone who calls Flint their home or is inspired by the city’s sights and landmarks. An artist sees the beauty in their environment and is then able to share this insight with others, and that is what is truly special about ArtWalk in Downtown Flint. This event holds the power to bring the community together.
Located Downtown, Buckham Alley served as the distinct focal point of Artwalk on May 9. Buckham Alley is also the place that local businesses such as Buckham Gallery and Pages Bookstore call home. Both locations displayed several intriguing art pieces; “Printmaking: Art, Process, Community” was the name of the exhibit found at Buckham Gallery and Pages Bookstore exhibited photography by Tom Hansen.
Hansen, a newspaper carrier for the Flint Journal, had several pieces of his work for sale. The majority of his photos depicted the Flint cityscape. Hansen mainly focuses upon capturing Downtown in a good light and showcases a few of Flint’s most famous landmarks, such as the weatherball. His work also depicts some of the drastic change that the Flint skyline has undergone, like the demolition of the Genesee Towers and changes that were made to Buckham Alley.
Hansen’s work also helps to capture the city as-is. “With art, specifically photography, you can tell the truth; what you see is what you get,” he says. He is helping to capture the rebirth of Downtown Flint; that in itself is an art.
It’s been said that art reflects life, and ArtWalk helps to validate this statement. To see people taking an interest not only in art but also in an event held in Downtown Flint is a sign of rebirth. To see artists and photographers incorporate Flint landmarks into their work shows how art is not only reflecting life in Flint, but is truly how their art is brought to life.
Believe it or not, the May 9 ArtWalk was my first and I now see Flint from an entirely new angle. I no longer take the many landmarks for granted and see the beauty of what is the Downtown district. Not every city has a weatherball or brick streets, but these are classic features of my city. I believe that Flint is a canvas for all who set out to create great things. We have the power to not only document Flint’s rebirth through art, but to also use art to bring people Downtown to share in the process of revival.
Take part in these summer art events!
The pARTy – An ARTrageous Affair
Flint Institute of Arts
June 14, 7-9:30pm
General Admission: $100
The summer’s hottest event will be right here in Flint! Enjoy a strolling dinner, cash bar, DJ, dancers and a surprise or two. Don’t miss it… it’s going to be ARTrageous!
47th Annual Flint Art Fair
Flint Institute of Arts
June 21-22, 10am-6pm / 11am-5pm
Enjoy the best of local artists and artisans on the FIA grounds. Find beautiful pieces and support Friends of Modern Art while you enjoy live music and food vendors!
Open House Receptions
The Greater Flint Arts Council has organized collaboration between a dozen businesses and cultural organizations to promote Downtown’s diverse gallery offerings. A summer’s eve is great for an artsy stroll!
PHOTOS BY TRACI TURNER & NAARAH MYERS