It’s becoming an annual tradition to see windows of storefronts, businesses, and organizations adorned with festive flair via art murals across Mt. Pleasant. From cartoon illustrations of the infamous Grinch and other holiday-film characters, to scenic settings that instill the holiday spirit and winter season—local artists are spreading cheer through their work.
One of the artists is Corby Blem, whose art business, Pa Blem's House of Trite
, covers artwork, caricatures, and windows. It’s common for Blem to interact with people strolling sidewalks while he’s plein air painting Mt. Pleasant windows for the holiday season.
“Painting the windows downtown is a great unifier and invites conversation,” shares Blem. “You hear a lot of laughter when I'm painting my windows. The finished work shows up in selfies and local advertising as backdrops.”
“It's an interesting bonding experience the four of us artists share because we're doing this exhausting, exhilarating thing together, and we inspire each other,” he continues on the comradery of the artists who participate. “We like to stretch each other's visions of what ‘holiday’ can mean.”
Nutcracker feet on display at the Mt. Pleasant School of Dance by artist Corby Blem. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Corby Blem appropriately painted holiday “Aristocats” at Karma Cat Cafe on Broadway Street. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Characters from “The Grinch” grace windows of Mt. Pleasant Agency and Central Insurance painted by Corby Blem. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Local artist Sara Woodruff, owner of Sara Ellen Art LLC
, echoes Blem’s sentiments.
“I absolutely love seeing the windows that the other artists do!” says Woodruff. “We all have totally different styles and it's always so much fun to see what everyone comes up with.
“Every year when I get the email from the City about the downtown holiday windows, I am thrilled and so thankful to be included for another year,” Woodruff continues. “It is truly an honor to be a part of this project.”
A winter wooded wonderland with cardinals is painted on the windows of Headliners Salon on Broadway Street in downtown Mt. Pleasant by artist Sara Woodruff. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. PleasantArtist Sara Woodruff painted holiday pups on the windows of Sleepy Dog Books downtown—it’s recommended to view these paintings from the inside, too! Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Broadway Theater displays holiday window artwork by artist Sara Woodruff. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
“It's so nice when people stop and tell me that they like my work,” Woodruff says. “My favorite is when people tell me that seeing the windows painted always makes them happy and brightens their day. That really means a lot to me.”
2023 marks Megan Bair’s third year painting windows downtown. Bair is owner of For Art's Sake & Mama Bair Art
, and calls the murals a “scavenger hunt” for the community, as they can find new art each day throughout the season.
“This is my third year painting windows—the first year just one month after my daughter was born,” Bair shares about her artwork which can be found at Three Oaks Therapeutics, Hardware on Main Street, and five other businesses. “This is a wonderful way for the City to not only decorate our downtown but to also support art in our community! This opportunity has a huge impact on myself and my family.”
Artist Megan Bair painted a giant Yeti on the windows of Three Oaks Therapeutics in downtown Mt. Pleasant. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. PleasantAt Hardware on Main Street you’ll see artist Megan Bair’s holiday handiwork. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
Woodruff says she is mainly a mural artist, however she also does seasonal window paintings and other custom art projects. This year, she has painted nine seasonal window paintings in Mt. Pleasant.
Blem’s 2023 holiday mural season in Mt. Pleasant consists of 14 murals across town, noting he has also painted windows all across the lower peninsula of Michigan.
Artist Corby Blem’s painting of the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” at 818 Broadway in downtown Mt. Pleasant. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
The windows of Coldwell Banker display what artist Corby Blem entitles “North Pole Fizzy Lifting Drink.” Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
“The Snowy Day” depicted by artist Corby Blem at the Veteran’s Memorial Library. Photo Credit: Courtney Jerome / Epicenter Mt. Pleasant
“My personal favorite windows this season include the Mad Hatter's Tea Party for which I was allowed free reign to paint in 100% my style, Coldwell Banker's because they fully encouraged my Wonka-esque spin on the North Pole in preparation for Santa's visit, and the Library because I challenge myself to recreate a literary wintery scene to last until springtime,” he says.
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