Cass Area Artists group looking forward to busy season

Published 10:05 am Thursday, April 25, 2019

CASSOPOLIS — Alongside thousands of books on the shelves at the Cass District Library, are paintings from local artists – farm scenes, abstract pieces and a wood sculpture – all on display for public review, all by members of the Cass Area Artists group.

Sitting just steps away from her own art, Alli Farkas gushes with excitement over the things happening in Cassopolis for artists and art-lovers, alike.

“There’s been an effort to create an artist’s community in Cassopolis for years, now it’s starting to take place and we’re part of it,” Farkas said.

Once vacant buildings on Broadway Street in Cassopolis are now home to artisans.

The old jewelry store building now houses an art studio, next door is a neon artist, a little further up the street is an artisan shop where artists can rent a space for a period of time and display their artwork.

“You should really take a walk, up Broadway – it’s short street – and see what’s going on. This is really becoming a movement which we are happy to be a part of,” Farkas said.

Along with displaying art at the public library, the CAA also is hosing their second event at the Sinclair Station in town on June 7 and 8.

“Kevin Bradley bought the Sinclair Station, and he is devoted to making it an art center,” Farkas said. The exhibit in June will be in conjunction with an art walk going on the same time on Broadway.

Once again, the CAA will host their annual summer art fair, now in its fifth year, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 20 at the Council on Aging, 60525 Decatur Road, Cassopolis.

“Artists from all over the area, not just our group, come and set up outdoor booths, we have music, and this year we are raffling one of Neil’s [Neil Benham] wood pieces,” Farkas said.

Attracting artists and crafters from around the area, festival goers can expect to see traditional artwork on display, Farkas said, as well works from a very intricate rock painter, a whimsical doll maker and jewelry made from a special glass, among others.

The group is always looking for new members, according to Farkas. Anyone interested can join the Cass Area Artists at their regular meeting, the third Thursday of each month at 3:30p.m. at the COA. There is almost always a special presentation from an artist, said Farkas, and all artisans are welcome. Dues are $25 per year, which helps offset some of the advertising costs, Farkas said.

“Anybody who is doing something creative, if it’s a hand-made original thing – whether it’s a craft, or a painting or a sculpture or a print, or computer art – as long as it’s made by the artist and didn’t come out of a kit, you are eligible,” Farkas said.

The Cass Area Artists group is always accepting donations and will use part of donated money to help fund the supplies needed for classes, as well as scholarships, and to produce the exhibitions throughout the year, Farkas added.

“We educate, give people experience and spread art through people getting out there and sharing their life work,” Farkas said.

One of the ways they do that is through the art classes they offer at the Cassopolis Public Library.

Sharron Ott is the leader of the artists classes, they range in topics from peering out the window and painting what you see, to human form and animals, Farkas said. The subject matter changes, from specific lessons on things like perspective, composition, color and even how-to manipulate paint.

“[The classes are] affordable, and for anyone who might not have the funds to cover the $12 class, CAA offers scholarships each year for both children and adults to come to the classes,” Farkas said.

“The library has been overwhelmingly supportive, letting us have this huge space to conduct our classes,” she said. After each class, the students get to have a show of their own at the library to display their work for their family, friends and the public.

“It’s really important, because once you get your work on a wall, It’s a strange feeling to say – this isn’t just my private thing anymore, people can see this and appreciate it,” Farkas said. “It really changes your mindset.”