Calhoun County

Halloween art to haunt Marshall's Eastend Studio & Gallery

Halloween Art may not be considered fine art or art at all by some, but this isn’t stopping the Eastend Studio & Gallery in Marshall from mounting an exhibit featuring the work of artists who create highly sought-after pieces by collectors throughout the United States.

As a way to celebrate the work of these artists who will be selling their work at the Bewitching Peddlers Halloween Show on September 30 at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds, Eastend, at 143 W. Michigan Avenue, will showcase the work of several of the artists who were invited to participate in The Bewitching Peddlers event, says Jennifer Conley-Darling, Executive Director of Eastend.

These artists include Cyn Tennant, Jill Chambers, Joanna Barnum, Sheila Bentley, and Jennie Hepler-Takens, owner and curator of the Bewitching Peddlers Halloween Show.

The exhibit will be up until November 1. On September 29 East End is hosting a Meet & Greet from 6-7:30 p.m. with the exhibiting artists as well as other Bewitching Peddlers artists. Conley-Darling says the event which is free and open to the public will give people an opportunity to see and buy some of the most detailed work she’s ever seen.

A doll created by Stacey Walsh of Goode Wife's Tea., who will be displaying at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.“I do believe it’s a form of fine art,” she says of the Halloween Art. “Eastend is a place for all types of visual art and this exhibition is all about celebrating what Bewitching Peddlers have created. I feel like it’s an honor to showcase a small cross-section of artists. The work we’ve chosen to showcase is more of their elevated work which shows their true skills and experiences in making this specialty art for their fans.”

“I think it should be celebrated more than once a year.”

There is a very real possibility that it may be more of a revolving exhibit if more of these artists agree to bring in their work, she says.

The partnership between Eastend and Bewitching Peddlers came about while Gallery team members were brainstorming ideas for Fall gift shop items and exhibitions and proposed a collaboration “which seemed a perfect fit,” says Cathy Bovitz, Project Manager.

Every year Bovitz says team members decide what to bring into the Larson Gallery which is a space in the rear of East End that features rotating exhibits every six to eight weeks. She says this year, they wanted to feature Fall-inspired art.

“They have a huge following,” she says of the Bewitching Peddler artists. “The show is the only place collectors can get their art. It’s fascinating to see them and they have such a huge group of people who love them. It takes some of these people decades to create their collection.”

Bewitching Peddlers is unique in that it summons the most celebrated Halloween artists in the country to one location, says Jennie Hepler-Takens, owner and curator of Bewitching Peddlers Halloween Show.

Dolls created by Jennie Hepler-Takens of Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.“Each Season, seasonal collectors heed the summons of enchantment and fly, drive, or carpool their way to historic Marshall, Michigan to see their favorite artists, in person,” she says in a press release. “Creating a collection takes years of persistence. It’s truly the longest trick or treat you will ever experience.”

Each collection takes on a personality with all of the pieces culminating into some grand thing that brings the same wonder as preparing for Halloween night as a child, she says.

“The joy of collecting Halloween art is deepening your knowing. It’s seeing your favorite artist’s creative process or how the materials are stirred up to create something lovely. It’s understanding that you are building a collection and your entire collection can become a work of art.”

While the show allows collectors to add to their collections, it gives Marshall and surrounding communities an economic boost, says Amy Peterson, Director of Marketing for Choose Marshall.
“We have people traveling to Marshall from all over North America, to see these unique, curated artists and their work. Visitors are spending the weekend at our hotels, dining in restaurants, and shopping. We are thankful for the opportunity to host this show each year and appreciate the impact it offers Marshall businesses.”
In addition to the Meet & Greet and the exhibit, Eastend has taken the partnership one step further with its first-ever “Bewitched Ball” fundraiser to benefit the Gallery. The first fundraiser was called Arts and Crafts which featured craft cocktails and an auction, Bovitz says.

A doll created by Stacey Walsh of Goode Wife's Tea., who will be displaying at Bewitching Peddlers of Halloween.“We thought, what a cool tie-in to make it the Bewitched Ball,” she says.

The Ball will be held from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on October 28 at Eastend. It will be a Halloween-themed event featuring appetizers, craft cocktails from Cinnamonkey Shrubs beer and wine selections, an art auction, DJ music and dancing in the ballroom, and tarot, palm, and tea leaf readers. Bovitz says guests are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes.

Tickets are $40 each and may be purchased through Eastend’s website.

“We are really looking at becoming an accessible community space,” Conley-Darling says. “We don’t want people feeling uncomfortable around what they perceive visual art is. We want people to come and explore it with us.”

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Read more articles by Jane Parikh.

Jane Parikh is a freelance reporter and writer with more than 20 years of experience and also is the owner of In So Many Words based in Battle Creek. She is the Project Editor for On the Ground Battle Creek.