Ypsi Emerging, a reception and art show featuring young artists from Ypsilanti, will take place from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Washtenaw County Democratic Party headquarters, 418 W. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti.
Participating artists are Paris Green, Terrell Jones, Mi Pham, Skylar Crouse, and Teilo Wessells. The free event will include music by DJ KAITO, and artwork will be available for purchase. Free food and drink and voter registration materials will be available.
Margaret Schankler, a volunteer with the Washtenaw Democrats, says the group's leadership established its headquarters in Ypsilanti because members wanted to get more involved in the east side of the county. They brainstormed the idea of hosting art shows at their headquarters to make area residents aware of where they're located.
The first show in the space featured artwork from K-12 students in the Ypsilanti Community Schools and served as a fundraiser for students whose work will be on display in Washington, D.C. this spring. Schankler called that first show "hugely successful," raising more than $5,200 for the D.C. trip.
"We always planned on doing more of these art shows, and (local artist) Paris Green was brought to my attention by his former art teacher Lynne Settles," Schankler says.
Originally the plan was to showcase just one artist, but the idea evolved when Schankler asked Settles to suggest other former students who would be interested in having their work shown.
"The idea was to simply have an event featuring young artists who are out of (high) school and don't have a lot of opportunities to show their work, because most art shows are for more established artists," she says.
The five featured artists work in a variety of media, from painting and drawing to textiles and manipulated photos.
Green says he got into art via pencil and paper drawings when he was in grade school. He still draws today, but much of his best-known work involves painting and customizing textiles through bleaching, distressing, and other processes. He sells his customized shoes through a small business called KP Customs.
"I started with the shoes, and I got to a point where I had a whole bunch of shoes customized but I was still wearing regular clothes," he says. "It didn't make sense. I had customized shoes, so why not customize clothes as well?"
Green names Settles as a big influence that led him to seek a career in art.
"Miss Settles was the best teacher I had in almost my whole school career," Green says. "When I transferred to Ypsi my senior year, I was behind a few credits, and she was the teacher who made sure I was on it, asking if I needed anything."
Schankler notes that all five featured artists are Settles' former students.
"We wanted to keep the show to Ypsi High School graduates and showcase the strength of that program and local talent," she says.
More information about the reception is available at the Facebook page for the event.
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township and the project manager of On the Ground Ypsilanti. She joined Concentrate as a news writer in early 2017 and is an occasional contributor to other Issue Media Group publications. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of Terrell Jones.