Leave gray skies behind this winter and brighten your day with a brilliant splash of color at the South Haven Center for the Arts. In its 67th year, Artists of Tomorrow—through March 28—gives art students an opportunity to communicate visually in a professional gallery setting. The exhibition, sponsored by South Haven Public Schools and the Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs, allows students, parents, and the community to step into the visual world of young artists.

Participating this year are students from South Haven, Bangor, and Covert public schools, St. Paul Lutheran, St. Basil, and Van Buren Tech. Art teachers are Sarah Rydecki, Tanya Ebert, and Wynn Wikman of South Haven, Kelsey Vollrath of Covert, Chris Measzros and Zach Page-Wood of Bangor, Mary Harris of St. Paul, Naima Abdul-Haqq of St. Basil, and Kelly Vander Kley and Kimberly Wood of Van Buren Tech.

Teachers agree that for many students, Artists of Tomorrow is the first opportunity they have to share their artwork beyond the classroom. Preparing and participating for such an event helps students build skills of self-reflection and critique, and gives them a sense of confidence and pride as others view their work.

To be chosen to exhibit, teachers look for submissions containing original ideas, unique vision, and the technical ability needed to execute the work. These criteria resulted in a show with the makings of a professional exhibit. The collection holds illustrations, screen prints, watercolors, acrylics, photography, collage, digital works and sculpture, created with materials ranging from prismacolor pencils to a discarded book.

Students explored portraiture, architecture, Mexican heritage, eyes, and even social-emotional learning through creative expression to address the stress and anxiety plaguing kids in today's society.

The impact of this type of experience can help students grow and learn in the arts, develop a personal style, and transition from student to working professional. They are our future graphic designers, art directors, animators, videographers, and fine artists. The look on their faces when they are recognized for their time, effort, and talent is beyond words.

Artwork left to right: Spiraling, Kaitlyn Hamacher; Haring and the Blobs, Finn Roberts; Untitled, Kyra Gumpert; Entangled, Morgan Welch; Lust, Max Erb; Rainy Reflections, Katherine Sanchez

I am proud of the work the South Haven Center for the Arts has accomplished this past year and owe many thanks to the kindness, support, and commitment of you, our members, volunteers, and community partners. I hope that you were able to visit and experience our eight exhibitions this past year, that you enjoyed the 61st Annual South Haven Art Fair, and the 33rd Annual Mistletoe Market, as well as our many other programs and events throughout the year.

It is my greatest pleasure to work with a board of directors committed to bringing quality exhibitions and programming to our entire community. In my first year as Director, I have focused on building relationships in South Haven with our fellow non-profit organizations and community leaders, with the goal of broadening the reach and impact of SHCA’s mission to enrich our community through the arts. For example, it was our honor to participate in South Haven Sesquicentennial Celebration by hosting a special student art exhibition on our second floor this past spring.

With an enthusiasm to engage all community members, the South Haven Center for the Arts concentrated on several public art projects over the past year. Art Bikes celebrated South Haven’s designation as one of the first Pure Michigan Trail Towns and engaged thirty local artists to artfully decorate the bikes. The Detroit Institute of Arts’ public art exhibition Inside|Out encouraged people to discover reproductions of DIA treasures around town. Additionally, in conjunction with our summer exhibition, BOND: Five Mosaic Artists, the art center created a mosaic bench decorated with tiles created exclusively by South Haven residents and visitors to our town.

Through supporting our many accomplishments this year, you have made an impact on your community. We thank you!

The South Haven Center of the Arts will go into 2020 ready to reach new heights. The Center has been chosen to host the National Endowment for the Humanities traveling exhibition Frida Kahlo's Garden from June 16 to August 11, 2020. The focus is on her life and sources of inspiration, especially the influence of nature and her garden at Casa Azul, in Coyoacan, and the exhibition is in English and Spanish. Hosting this exhibition will be a big feat for the Center, and it is with great enthusiasm that we embrace this opportunity. In 2019 we set the groundwork for expanding both the reach and quality of education programs, as well as our outreach programming and collaborations, which will allow us to create the maximum impact with this opportunity.

South Haven Center for the Arts needs your continued to support to build upon our momentum. Can you help us with a contribution now as our fundraising year concludes? With your support, we will end the 2019 a success, and will head into the next year with the operating funds we need to expand our programming and enrich our community through the arts.

You are greatly appreciated,

Kerry Hagy

Executive Director

South Haven Center for the Arts

P.S. End of the year donation can be made HERE

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

The South Haven Center for the Arts fall exhibit consists of fiber art made with materials ranging from suede to steel.

The art center’s 10th Annual Juried Exhibition features creative explorations in fiber and textile by 26 artists working in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.

The artworks were created using traditional materials such as silk, cashmere, suede, denim, felt, string, and Toile de Jouy, which is a type of printed calico typically used for curtains and upholstery. Visitors will also see works created using materials one wouldn’t necessarily associate with fiber, such as clay, paper, plastic, vinyl, glass, porcelain, metal leaf, copper, brass, steel, birch bark, and sticks and stones.

The artwork hints at an underlying theme of repurposing discarded materials, which are in turn woven into themes of their own. T.J. Schwartz incorporated fibers from her grandmother’s clothes to create some of the weft threads in her piece entitled “Spirit Wolf”, borne of grief and dreams of wolves––the spirits of which have come to symbolize for her “guidance through grief”.

Kelly Hanson used acrylic, clay, craft paper and string to create her piece, “Sleeping Arrangements”, which represents the history of her marriage and divorce through various sleeping arrangements her family assumed as it grew to include three children. “The black squares symbolize nighttime, the gray squares, naptimes,” said Kelly. “The square highlighted with stitching is, to me, a moment of complete happiness.”

Edwin Shelton incorporated cat litter, plastic bags and a mesh window screen into various fabrics to create “Two Spirits, Shiny Intuition”, which reflects a life-changing experience he had while teaching art in Zibo, China.

The artists have also employed a wide variety of techniques such as hand stitching and embroidery, crochet, machine quilting, applique and weaving; and various mediums including encaustic (beeswax and pigment), metalwork, drawing, painting, felting, soft sculpture, ceramics and printmaking.

South Haven artist Sheryl Drenth, a watercolorist and former art teacher, created “Self Portrait: Unfinished” using applique, a technique of applying individual pieces of fabric to a larger piece of contrasting color or texture.

“My grandmother taught me to make clothes by hand stitching and using a sewing machine and I have made other art quilts,” said Drenth. “The image shows the state of my studio. I have a painting table and a sewing table and at some point seeing all of my materials at once seemed to migrate together and stimulated the piece.”

Drenth’s artwork represents a universal theme of humans as unfinished beings, always growing and changing in some way. “I started the piece quite a while ago and I have more ideas than time to complete, so I found myself adding to it and then taking elements of the piece away. I incorporated safety pins into the self-portrait to indicate that I, as a human being, am unfinished, as is the piece.”

The exhibition was juried by mixed media artists Helen Geglio and Judy Wenig-Horswell. Geglio often uses repurposed materials and enjoys working with fibers that have passed through the hands others to create a visual connection between women, work and textiles. Horswell co-founded the Goshen Jewelers Guild in 2012 and her focus is lost wax casting of jewelry, watercolor, drawing and ceramics. She has traveled extensively overseas to gain further experience and insight into her work.