Depending on where you're standing or your proximity to a sound stage, there will be music in your ears all during Ford Arts, Beats & Eats. And unless a late summer cold affects your olfactory senses, you'll be savoring delicious smells from morning 'till night. Your eyes will be dazzled as well, because the "A" in this year's AB&E is once again nothing less than an explosion of beauty, craftsmanship and pure creative energy.
This is a show of national importance with over 140 artists occupying booths throughout the designated area. That impressive number is made even more extraordinary when one considers that nearly 600 artists submitted applications during the past year.
Lisa Konikow, the Art Director for the Juried Fine Art Show, has been involved with this gala for 15 years and has always tackled the task with unabated enthusiasm. "I think I've gotten it down to a science now," she says with a laugh. "There's the selection of the jury, of course, and then the equally important job of choosing among the applicants. What always excites me most, however, is the fact that Arts, Beats & Eats not only gets a little bigger every year, but more national. The diversity is extraordinary! And those who have been and continue to be regular participants are always keen on showing their newest works and projects."
Konikow's use of the word "diversity" in this instance neatly sums up the whole enterprise. One cannot help but notice the sheer eclecticism of the works submitted – you'll see works of that nature at AB&E, but you'll also be treated to photography, digital art, pastel drawing, glassware, graphic design, fabrics, jewelry and numerous pieces fashioned from metal and wood. In other words, you're going to enjoy an art fair that could be easily subdivided into no fewer than three or four separate shows.
It is virtually impossible for us to note (and justly praise) each and every artist who will be at this year's event. We strongly suggest you visit the Arts, Beats & Eats website to obtain a complete list of names. We'll bend the rules slightly on this one occasion and give a strong recommendation that you check out the ceramics of Alice Ham, the exquisite paintings of Inty Muenala and the jewelry pieces by Annette Morrin and Michael Stephens. We'd also like you to enjoy the following exchange between RDW and Detroit artist/AB&E veteran Carl Lundgren.
How do you feel about being in the juried AB&E show?
Proud, excited and happy as always. I've been doing AB&E for about ten years now and I absolutely love it.
What advantages does a show like this offer today's working artist?
Aside from bringing in thousands of art buying patrons? This is one of the top art shows in the country and provides a rare opportunity to sell a lot of art in one place and during one weekend. That's a little self-serving, so I'll also add that it's a golden opportunity to meet other artists and reconnect with the ones you know and admire.
What is your particular medium and your favorite subject matter?
I still produce graphic art and design, but these days I work almost exclusively in mixed media, using oil paints, paper scraps, granules, pencils and oil chalks. No favorite subject matter. I've been told by my wife that I'm not "disciplined" enough for a favorite subject matter, so I'll simply say that whatever project has my full attention at the moment is my favorite.
You mentioned "reconnecting" a moment ago. Are you looking forward to seeing any returning artists?
Yes, many – and they will all be there! Jan Kaulins is a photographer from the west side of the state who specializes in Detroit landmarks and celebrities. Then there's Chris Maher, a photographer famous for full color and black-and-white digital enhancements of artistic nudes. They're breathtaking and electric. Donna Beaubian who creates handmade three dimensional paper collage work with paint. Another favorite is David Scherer from Madison Heights. He makes art clocks from abstract cuts of metal, wood, plastic and heaven knows what else! | RDW