Sidewalk art, tattoos, and equity are at the heart of upcoming exhibits and events at Studio 23

Megan Koch, the Studio 23/The Arts Center Executive Director since late in 2022, is hitting the ground running.

Megan Koch (Photo courtesy of Studio 23)Koch, who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Art History from Saginaw Valley State University in 2020 and a Master’s Degree in Art History from Wayne State University in 2022, is laying plans for diverse exhibits in the coming months.
Studio 23, located at 901 N. Water St., hosts classes and exhibits throughout the year.

Special exhibits coming up include:

Artist in Residence 2023

Dana Lynn Harper, a Columbus, Ohio-based artist, is the next participant in the Artists in Residence program. Harper works in vibrant colors to create 3-dimensional and 2-dimensional artwork.

During Harper’s stay in August and September, she will lead workshops inviting community members to provide small mementos or objects to put into art. What they create during the workshops becomes part of the exhibit.

“It’s going to be really cool with very bright colors, neons, pastels,” Koch says.

Read more about the 2023 Artist in Residence program in this Feb. 3 Route Bay City article.

Tattoo Exhibit 2024

In the spring of 2024, Koch hope to display work by tattoo artists. While the exhibit is still in the planning stages, Koch expects to include photographs of finished and in-progress work, sketches, and flash sheets. The exhibit may include live models too.

“I’m excited to get new people and faces in the door and to highlight that artform,” Koch says.

DEI Exhibit 2025

An exhibit focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion is in the works for the spring of 2025. This exhibit is in the early planning stages, but Koch expects to put out a call for artists to display work geared to people with different abilities. For example, textured art works for people with visual impairments, she says. They may offer visitors blindfolds to experience the art like someone with a visual impairment.

Koch hopes to work with community agencies, such as Do-Art, to highlight artists with different abilities. Do-Art is a part of Do-All Inc.

Koch also is continuing community favorites including the Chalk Walk Art Festival, Painters & Potters, and the Black & White Affair:
Studio 23's annual Chalk Walk Art Festival takes place in August. (Graphic courtesy of Studio 23)
Chalk Walk 2023

On Sat., Aug. 12, chalk artists will fill the streets of Downtown Bay City with colorful, temporary art for the Chalk Walk Art Festival. The 2023 event takes place along Water Street and Center Avenue. Competitions are offered for youth (ages 7 to 12), teens (ages 13 to 17), and adults (18 and up.) Registration is open now.
Visitors are invited to watch the artists work between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. The event draws food trucks, visitors, and artists.
The annual Painters & Potters exhibit at Studio 23 opens later this month. (Graphic courtesy of Studio 23)
Painters & Potters 2023

Painters & Potters takes place July 20-Sept. 9. The annual exhibit features art created by students and instructors during the 2022-23 season.

Black & White Affair 2023

The event, which will be held in December. typically includes drinks, hors d’oeuvres, music, and a live art auction. It is a fundraiser for Studio 23/The Arts Center. Koch says she is still working out details for the 22nd annual event.

Current Studio 23 exhibits include:


Mythoscape, which Studio 23 describes as “a collection of paintings by JP. Aleksander that combines myths, history, and the natural world in imaginative and thought-provoking ways.” Act fast, though. The exhibit ends Sat., July 8.

Art Around the City Riverwalk

Art Around the City Riverwalk is up until September. The exhibit consists of 50 pieces of artwork created by 50 artists in the Great Lakes Bay Region. The images are displayed outdoors on both the East Side and West Side.

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Read more articles by Kathy Roberts.

Kathy Roberts, a graduate of Central Michigan University, moved to Bay City in 1987 to start a career in the newspaper industry. She was a reporter and editor at the Bay City Times for 15 years before leaving to work at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Covenant HealthCare, and Ohno Design. In 2019, she returned to her storytelling roots as the Managing Editor of Route Bay City. When she’s not editing or writing stories, you can find her reading books, knitting, or visiting the bars of Bay County. You can reach Kathy at