Art Walk Central aims to add growth in third way

For the third year, downtown streets and businesses across Mount Pleasant will feature manifestations of the imagination by local artists through Art Reach of Mid Michigan.

Art Reach of Mid Michigan, which was founded in 1981, helps to facilitate and enrich arts and culture in the community. Today, they offer 15 arts and cultural programs and also participate in the Michigan Cultural Data Project.

"Think of a creative mind and what it can do for life," said Kathy Hill, the director of Art Reach Mid Michigan. "It makes our community a better place to be, it makes our city more beautiful and fun."

According to aggregate data from organizations participating in the data project,  $133 million was raised across the state from admission to art events. The events also employed 46,907 people from 2010-2012. 

Last year, over 119 artists participated in 31 Art Walk Central galleries hosted in local business venues. The event is a combination of art competition and gallery displays for fun.

Artists must enter pieces of art younger than three years to be judged in adult and youth categories. Attendees can also vote for a people's choice winner.

Hill said $21,000 in prizes will be awarded to winners. First place winners in the judged competition earned $5,000 in the adult division and $1,000 for the youth division.

The month-long event also features a large selection of events, from Max & Emily's-sponsored summer concerts, talks given by artists, a Movies by Moonlight series and a host of other art activities for families.

"It's all thanks to an incredibly generous group of people," Hill said. "In Mount Pleasant, we have a fantastic growing artistic community that is so willing to help and get involved."

She said the first year saw the largest group of artists, but lost around 80 people in the second year. Nearly, 130 have registered this year and the goal is to grow that number each year.

On August 20, awards will be granted to the winners at Sacred Heart Parish Hall. Tickets are $50 per person, or $30 for Art Walk Central artists and include: "Taste of Mt. Pleasant" local food tastings, a silent art auction, raffles and games and an open bar.


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