The Magic of The Artists Market
The absolute Mecca of personalized gift giving exists in downtown Fremont.
Take dozens of artists from countless genres who reside in the region give them each a little space in a welcoming venue well decorated and offering exceptional service as well as gift guidance, then sprinkle in an absolute plethora of peak performance presenting possibilities…
And you have The Annual Artists Market, alive and well at its NCCA-Artsplace locale.
The Artists Market has been a seasonal shopping staple for SWK for many years because it’s got a lot of very cool items that likely cannot be found elsewhere, supports local artists (an initiative that truly serves us all), and might very well have helped enhance what has always been a rather regrettable reputation for gift giving. A reputation that by all accounts has been well deserved.
Believe it or not (truly not much of a stretch here) creativity is not among the strong points personally possessed. I once worked as recreational therapist with duties that included facilitating various activities and assisting with projects involving ceramics and what not. While well versed in volleyball, ping pong, pool, board games and field trips even the limited level of creativity involved in ceramic molds often eluded my grasp.Thus my ongoing admiration for those who possess these skills is fairly lofty.
While the NCCA-Artsplace always offers a variety of items for purchase, this time of year the distinctive little store is transformed into an ocean of options with nooks and crannies filled with surprises, though truthfully I remain unsure of what a cranny is.
The Artists Market is a place conducive to an exceptional browsing experience. That type of setting where one of those rare, but oh so welcome, ‘aha’ gift seeking moments can occur.
So if you’re stumped and need to get a little traction on your shopping list or merely wish to find that unique gift that didn’t come by mail come pay a visit to The Artists Market.
And while there take a peek at the window displays when you enter. They are pure artistry and have a really great story behind their creation we will be sharing soon in our pages.
Of course once you arrive at The Artists Market you can inquire as to the story as well.
I believe the best time to ask is when making your purchase.
NCCA-Artsplace hours are Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Thursdays 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., and Saturdays 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. For information, phone 231.924.4022.
There is nothing quite like the appearance of Christmas Lights to spur on the season. The Fremont area seems to possess some of the more impressive Griswold-esque displays including this one gracing the Stroven home. Since this photo was snapped from a car window on a chilly night using a phone, the image does not do the presentation justice so head east out of town on 48th street after dark and you will no doubt be duly impressed by this spectacular sea of blue.
Grand Rapids Public Museum Finishes 2017 Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Concert Series with Holiday Shows
Join the Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) for the final Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Concerts of the 2017 series with special holiday music performances by John Lauter on Friday, December 15 and Saturday, December 16.
Lauter will present holiday cheer this season bringing to life favorite holiday songs on the GRPM’s 1928 Mighty Wurlitzer Theater Organ. These concerts are great for families during the holiday season! Tickets are recommended to be purchased early, as they are likely to sell out.
A Detroit native, Lauter began his organ, piano and music studies at age 14, with his public debut at the Redford Theatre at age 16. He has presented concerts in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Boston, San Francisco, Phoenix, Denver, Wichita, Chicago, Cleveland, Atlanta, Toronto and more. John has been on the staff of the Fox Theatre, and was staff organist of the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor for 17 years. He is the musical curator of the Stahl Museum in Chesterfield, MI and just completed the installation of a large Wurlitzer Theatre Organ there.
Shows will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 15 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 16 in the Meijer Theater at the GRPM.
Tickets for individual concerts are $8 for Museum member adults, $4 for Museum member children, $10 for non-member adults and $5 for non-member children. Tickets are available by visiting www.grpm.org/Organ or by calling 616.929.1700.
The Walk Beckons
Newaygo's Christmas Walk is a classic small town celebration when the main street is closed, carolers cruise the walkways, chestnuts roast on an open fire and merchants throw open their doors to browsers, buyers, and snack seekers. There is magic in the air during this evening of enchantment and while traditions prevail there is always a surprise or two to be found on the lively streets of town.
This Friday, December 1st starting at 6pm and ending at 9pm
Braunschweiger Blues Band Boogies Black Box
A post-Thanksgiving Day holiday tradition for many is the annual visit the Braunschweiger Blues Band has made to the Dogwood Center the past several years.
It’s a time when the Black Box gets filled with friends and neighbors who gather to perhaps kick up their heels a bit and listen to the extensive songbook of familiar tunes cranked out by one of the area’s most entertaining and interactive musical ensembles.
Between a compelling array of oldies from Motown to the Monkees they managed to slip in a little ‘Jingle Bells’ and though not a song that generally inspires dancing the time honored carol drove no one from the dance floor on this night.
Tree Time At Church's!!!
Photos by Lesly DeLaat
A few photos taken in the early hours before the crush of tree seekers descends on this Grant area holiday icon
Getting a Christmas tree from Church’s is a time honored tradition for many families throughout West Michigan. For over 6 decades the farm has spent the weeks before the Big Day filled with the excitement that comes with getting that freshly cut frasier fir, blue spruce, pine, or conifer of choice.
Then it’s time for a little hot chocolate before hauling the treasured tree home to be festooned with ornaments, lights, garland, and...
...the magic of Christmas
Small Business Saturday right?
That is the crux of what one needs to know about doings this weekend.
After all if you decided to venture out on Black Friday (or even ‘Greyish Thursday’ once known as Thanksgiving) toward Alpine or to the malls or the Big box stores in search of those gotta-have-it gifts or scoring some new devices from TVs to tablets there could just be a little bit of exhaustion setting in. First there’s the crush of humanity involved. People, lots and lots of people, picking their way through the traffic, the parking lot and finally the store . Then there are the varied personalities one encounters during such shopping sieges. The masses seem akin to a post-disaster, looting kind of crowd where rules are changed and manners take a serious sabbatical..
Now for the rest of the weekend it's time to slow things down. Get past the hurried frenzy rife in such settings and taken advantage of Small Business Saturday a day to celebrate the unique, eclectic and altogether fun and functional local establishments that can only flourish with the help of the citizenry.
Any shops you recall that once dotted the landscape of the Near North that you miss having around? Maybe a store that stocked an item or two you loved picking up on occasion? A place that knew you and know what you were looking for and actually cared about making you happy with your purchase?
Wonder why they’re gone?
Simple. Lack of traffic meaing lack of sales., meaning lack of resources meaning closed doors.
Now look at what we have around us.
Just consider Newaygo
How would we look without Sui Generis the store that put the fun back into furnishings? The gem known a Gala Gourmet would be sorely missed by foodies, oenophiles and people who like really good coffee and baked goods, The intriguing meat items at the Jerky store,the browsing opportunities at the bookstore, the General Store filled with surprises, the needlework nook known as the New Ewe and the hop heaven known simply as ‘The Brewery’ each add to what has become a thriving downtown district.
What is desired is to not only keep these and the other local treasures thriving but to create an atmosphere that draws even more shops of uniquity and purpose to each of our towns.
So whether you find yourself frolicking in Fremont, winding up in White Cloud, going through, Grant, cruising around Croton, hunkering over to Howard City or nestling into Newaygo this weekend spend a little cash at one of the shops we are so fortunate to have filling our storefronts.
In this spirit we will be resurrecting the Shopping With Ken series that drew literally dozens of readers to its pages in past years to learn about the gifting opportunities that abound in these parts Yes, beginning Monday (or Tuesday if the protagonist finds himself wrapped up in a hot news story or a compelling Netflix show requiring a bit of binge watching) we will showcase an array of options as we pursue potential presenting propositions.
As always we invite your suggestions and will strive to follow up on any tips. Just contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Embrace The Mitten
By Mollie Jo Swendrowski
I love mythical creatures. Dragons, unicorns, mermaids-I have always found the idea of these things fascinating since I was a small child. When I found out over the summer that an exhibit (ironically) called “Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids” was going to be coming to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, I promptly got a museum membership so I could go on multiple visits.
Last week Adam (the ever supportive and equally as into mythical creatures boyfriend) and I were able to attend one of the GRPM’s Beer Explorers series, and this one was centered around the new exhibit.
Full disclosure: I do not (usually) like beer.
With that being said, the Beer Explorer series is right up the alley of someone who would consider themselves a beer snob. About once a month, the museum pairs up with a local brewery or restaurant to do a presentation and/or pairing on beers and sometimes various food items. If beer is your thing, I could not recommend this series more. Even though it is NOT my thing, I still enjoyed myself.
At this particular session we were able to sample four beers from New Holland Brewery. There were tables set up in the main atrium under the blue whale skeleton for people to sit and sip. My trend as of late is to never be right on time (contrary to the first 25 years of my life) but instead coming in hot on two wheels, so we stood for the duration of the beer presentation.
Two of four of the beers were a bit too “hoppy” for my taste, but the other two were dark and lovely and more how I like my beer if I drink it, and included New Holland’s famous Dragon’s Milk brew. It was fun to hear how the presenters chose the beer to fit the exhibit, as well as learn more about the brewing process for each. (I wish I could give more precise details on what those entailed but my mind was focused on getting upstairs to the exhibit.)
The exhibit itself was better than I could have imagined. It examines different mythical creatures across many cultures and how those creatures may have been come to be, based on legends and maybe ever tricks of the eye.
Without giving too much away-go to the exhibit. It is completely unique and makes you think about legends and lore that we have all grown up with, and how they became exaggerated to the extent of things like Bigfoot (or ARE they?).
“Dragons, Unicorns, and Mermaids” will be at the GRPM through May 20.
The Midnight Line Review
By Alexis Mercer
My Dad and I used to watch Die Hard every year around this time. First it was the original Die Hard. Then we added all the sequels into the tradition, making it more of a marathon. I went off to college with a few VHS tapes: Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and the full set of Die Hard movies.
So in 1997 when Lee Child came out with his first Jack Reacher novel, Killing Floor, naturally my Dad and I ate it up. It was a series based on a supernatural like character, a former Military Police Officer in the Army. Mammoth in physical size, moral in his reasoning, hitchhiking the country with only a toothbrush, comb and debit card and constantly finding himself in situations that required him to flex his muscles and take care of evil.
For 20 years Dad and I have been reading these novels and not a single one has disappointed. Rather like Die Hard movies.
The latest release is The Midnight Line. Once again Reacher finds himself somewhere in America looking to mind his own business. But he comes across a West Point class ring in a pawn shop and makes it his single minded mission to find the owner of the ring he knows someone wouldn’t pawn off as it is a hard earned honor.
Unlike some of the books in the series, Reacher spends more time detecting and working with others to solve what becomes an obviously criminal situation. He retains his uncanny ability to think like the criminal to predict the next step, a true Reacher characteristic.
And he also flexes his physical muscle from time to time to handle the situation.
From the moment the book arrived on my doorstep until the time I flipped to the last page, 9 hours had passed. Three of them spent making dinner, eating and getting ready for the next day. At 1:00 in the morning, I closed the book, completely content with the decision to stay up to finish the book in one shot.
It was quintessential Reacher, one of Child’s best yet.
My dad had the willpower to keep his unopened until Opening Day, which proved to be a good decision since he saw zero deer.
We will sit down this Thanksgiving to watch Die Hard, just like when I was in high school. And we will check to discover the release date for the next Reacher book so we can pre-order it and count down the days until the next adventure begins.
If you are in Newaygo, maybe for Shop Small Saturday, stop by Flying Bear Books to pick up a copy of The Midnight Line. It will be on display near the register.
The NCCA-Artsplace Winter Community Photography Contest is an event that anyone can enter and showcases the season as we turn toward the winter months. Entry deadline is Tuesday, December 5 by 5:30 p.m.
This free contest is for all ages and all levels of skill. All entries will have “Baby, It’s Cold Outside!” as the theme. Participants may submit up to two entries. Each entry must be an 8”x10” unframed photograph.
All entries will be on display December 8 through January 6 in the corridor gallery at NCCA-Artsplace. First, second and third place ribbons will be awarded on December 8 at 5:30 p.m. during Fremont’s Christmas Walk.
Registration forms for the competition are available at NCCA-Artsplace, 13 East Main Street, downtown Fremont or call 231.924.4022. The guidelines and forms may also be printed from www.ncca-artsplace.org or click here!
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