Co-owned by four ambitious artists - Vivi Woodcock, who works in mixed water mediums and collage; Marty Scott, who designs and crafts mobiles; Susan Lange, who makes jewelry; and Susan Galbraith, who represents the photography of her talented late husband, Jim - the gallery, opened in October of 2003, is a place where a wide range of local artists are encouraged, catered to, and given space for their work.
For as little as $20 a month and a commission fee, artists of all levels, from well-known regional talents to those who may never have displayed their work before, can place their art on display in the Artists Market both for viewing and purchase.
One of the first issues we had was how to set the gallery up, Marty Scott explains. We wanted it to be as artist-friendly as possible. The usual cooperative art gallery, while a good idea, wouldve also involved the artists having to come in here and work in the gallery itself. We didnt want to do that - we wanted to give them time to work, we wanted to help the artists produce more art and get in touch with their audience. Thats whats important.
So, instead of the usual co-op format, the quartet decided to man the gallery themselves, inviting the artists instead to stop in whenever they liked, but not making it an obligation. Its a plan that has worked out well if the gallery itself is any indication - with all that time to work, the place is chock-full of unique and expressive items by their roster of over 80 artists who work in a very wide range of mediums.
NORTHERN MICHIGAN ONLY
Our only exclusivity detail is that all of the artists must be from Northern Michigan, Scott emphasizes. It is a Northern Michigan artists market, after all. Other than that our range is very broad. We thought it was important to establish a place like this.
Scott and Vivi Woodcock explain that around a third of their exhibiting artists are people who have wandered in to the gallery and who wind up in conversations with the friendly owners, often explaining that they do art as well. The Northern Michigan Artists Market enjoys looking at and evaluating all kinds of artwork, much of which does end up in the gallery itself. And a lot of it is affordable, even for the art collector who is just beginning, or who is on a limited budget.
We have everything from $2 watercolor cards to paintings that cost upwards of several thousand dollars, Woodcock enthuses. We also have ceramics, fiber art, mobiles, hand-crafted boxes and baskets, lots of gift cards, photography -- theres so much here. When we get a new artist in, we try to get them to bring in as much of a variety as they can of the things they create.
Scott continues, Thats why its an artists market as opposed to a typical gallery -- clearly, it is a gallery, but we wanted it to sound friendlier, and we wanted to convey that its even more than a gallery. Its also less formal. Its really all about the art.
And theres plenty of art to be had at the Artists Market. Bright acrylic paintings by Nicki Griffith share space with photography by B. Hull, watercolors by Jan Glass, colorful fish platters by Shapero, jewelry by D.H. Designs and Morning Star Jewelry, and fabric tapestries by Joanne Cromley, who also volunteers in the gallery.
Our website is another great opportunity for our artists, Vivi Woodcock offers. Each artist has a chance to have a page of their own on our site, and its all integrated in with our in-house system as part of their fee. That way customers can browse all of the art online, too.
And were not just a tourist destination, Scott points out. Of course, one part of the visitors experience is seeing Northern Michigan art, and maybe taking it home with them. But just as many of our customers live here and visit here in the wintertime, too.
Woodcock agrees, W
e do participate in gallery walks, and we encourage our artists to come in when there are a lot of people here. But its also important to have something going on artistically year-round.
The Northern Michigan Artists Market is located at
445 East Mitchell in downtown Petoskey, telephone
231-487-0000. They can also be visited online at