Interpretation of a storm: this week on The Green Room

Jun 9, 2016

Beth Bricker points to the spot where a tree fell through her roof and into her bedroom and studio during last year's August 2nd storm. The storm completely changed the the landscape surrounding Bricker's home.
Credit Dan Wanschura

Beth Bricker is a painter from Glen Arbor. When she bought a home last summer, her property had a lot of trees on it. Then the infamous August 2nd storm, happened.

After waiting out the storm in her bathroom, she emerged to find a tree had landed in her bedroom and studio area.

In fact, she had five trees fall on her house, and seven more on her garage. Her property which used to be covered in trees, was suddenly wide open. She says she is going to miss all that shade.

“I’m a middle-aged woman," says Bricker. "I get too hot way too fast, and I’ve got ... high windows here which really didn’t used to have any sunlight coming in.”

But on the other hand she says she can now look up and see stars at night. Those types of new views are the inspiration behind a new exhibit at the Glen Arbor Art Association. 

New Views: A Storm of Art is a juried exhibition of art. The art association wanted to give artists an opportunity to express themselves and help the community heal.

"I think the biggest part of this is we wanted it to be interpretive, not documentary," says Elaine Keaton, program manager at the art association.

“There were so many things, photographs, showing the storm and what happened and the devastation. Obviously that was very important, but we wanted to talk about how people felt." 

Keaton says the best way to do that is through art.  

The association received 61 entries in total, but decided on the top 26 that best represented the goal of the exhibit.

Sarah Bearup-Neal, is a committee member for the New Views exhibit.  She says Leelanau County attracts hordes of artists to paint its natural beauty.

“I think it’s really fascinating to see all these creative people who have brought us their exhibits who aren’t painting the natural world from a pretty landscape," she says.

One painting in the show is titled Time for a Fresh Canvas by Hank Feeley. 

'Time for a Fresh Canvas' by Hank Feeley.
Credit Dan Wanschura

“Underneath he’s painted his impression of the paradise that he experiences in Glen Arbor," explains Bearup-Neal. "And then he goes in and he rips up the canvas, he’s really literally destroyed the thing, and then affixes on top of it a new blank canvas,” she says. 

Bearup-Neal thinks anybody can look at Feeley’s work and get the essence of it. It’s pretty straightforward.

Author Jeff Goins has written about the role art plays in helping people cope with tough times. He thinks artwork like the pieces showcased in Glen Arbor is also therapeutic for both the artist and the community.

“Self-expression in any form can be a form of therapy," says Goins. "I think it ties in with, you don’t really know what’s inside of you until you kind of let some of that stuff out."

Goins says art is a great way to do just that.

New Views: A Storm of Art is mostly paintings. Among other pieces, it includes a couple wooden bowls carved from trees that fell during the storm. 

The exhibit opens this Friday evening at the Glen Arbor Art Association and runs through June 23rd.