Arts & Culture: Galleries of Metro D

By: Toni Cunningham | November 11, 2014

While most of us are familiar with the large art museums of the area, such as the Detroit Institute of Arts or the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, fewer of us know about the “mom and pop” galleries, so to speak. These lesser-known galleries house works from local artists that are just as breathtaking as the big name buildings!

Last summer (come back to me!), I wrote an article about local art galleries in the city of Detroit, and now I am here to bring you the second edition. This time around, however, I will be branching out a little bit and covering the Metro area as well. This time, I’ll also be putting a bit of a holiday themed spin on things, where you can find galleries perfect for gifting. I now present to you a list of southeast Michigan art galleries, part two!

Red Twig Art Gallery, 796 N. Mill St., Plymouth, features all Michigan-made items, including fine art, scarves, pottery, jewelry and more. The space, which is a converted painting studio, displays the artwork of over 30 local artists. Works are displayed on a continuing basis and new pieces are added as they are created.

At any give time, visitors will find prints, ceramics, tiles and other hand crafted items for purchase. Since the space is somewhat untraditional, the artwork is always displayed in a creative manner, using things like upcycled and repurposed items.

Ann Arbor Art Center, 117 W. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, is home to 117 Gallery, where you can fulfill the gallery’s mission statement to support local artists and enjoy a place “where creativity and community meet.”

At the 117 Gallery, local artists are given the resources to create, exhibit and sell their works of art from start to finish. On any given day, you’ll find hundreds of pieces available for purchase, and everything from jewelry to pottery to textiles to paintings to fine blown glass will be represented.

Take a peek at the website to see the full list of 117 Gallery featured artists, including featured artist John Tebeau, who has a rendering of Ann Arbor’s Blimpy Burger featured on the artist page.

Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center, 1516 S. Cranbrook, Birmingham, is an all-inclusive arts center that features everything creative under one roof: workshops, exhibitions, classes, programs, camps and more.

The BBAC Gallery Shop changes up its inventory month to month, so you know you’re always going to see something different each time you visit. Which is precisely one of my favorite aspects of art gallery shopping: in addition to supporting local artists, you’re receiving a 100 percent unique product! You’ll find glassworks, exquisite jewelry, fiber pieces, prints and more from Michigan-based artists and national ones as well.

Best of all, this time of year, the BBAC features its annual Holiday Shop, where two galleries will be styled into a shop filled with over 300 artists with kitchen items, paintings, soaps and more for sale. Mark your calendar for the Holiday Shop, which runs Thursday, Dec. 4 through Saturday, Dec. 20.

Detroit Artists Market, 4719 Woodward Ave., Detroit, is a group that has been around for over 80 years in the city of Detroit. The group was founded and started to sell their works in the middle of the Great Depression!

Nowadays, the gallery hosts exhibitions and events, as well as Art for the Holidays, an annual celebration of art in the city of Detroit. The gallery exhibition began last Friday and runs through the end of December, where you’ll find the perfect handmade gift for everyone on your list—everything from paintings to jewelry to photography to books to ceramics!

Keep in mind that the Detroit Artists Market Elements Gallery is open year round, not just during the holiday season, where you can always find unique works of art crafted by local artists.

Although it’s not exactly an art gallery, Free Art Friday is another great opportunity to engage in art in the Metro Detroit community. If you’re an artist, create a piece, hide it, share your clues on social media and wait to see who finds and gets to keep your work of art. If you’re on the other side of the deal, get ready to get your Nancy Drew on and hunt down a piece of art in the area. Then, you can have a snazzy, original piece sitting on your desk at work just like me!

Whether you’re looking for a holiday gift for a loved one, or just enjoy perusing local art for yourself, all of the above galleries are great venues in which to do so.