When it All Comes Together

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Since November 2013 I have been managing (voluntarily) a gallery in REO Town. For three years this space was operating under the name Art Alley. I was quite familiar with it as Art Alley and attended many events and meetings there. I even went to the curator of Art Alley to see if I could have my City Saunter photographs put up as an exhibit to celebrate completing this project. In September 2013, a month before my planned exhibit, Art Alley shut down. I won’t get into all the gossipy details but the main point was a community based event & gallery space no longer had anyone managing it. I was in a panic when I got the news. I was told to contact the landlord and since I had funds in place already I was able to rent the gallery space (the entire space, not just one wall like previously planned) for three weeks. I am not sure what was more exciting, that I could move forward with the exhibit, that I was finishing my three year walking project or that I was renting gallery space in a turn of the century building in REO Town. For three weeks I set up a mobile office at the gallery and invited pedestrians and social media contacts to stop in and check out the exhibit. For three weeks I sat in a fully functioning gallery and fell in love. I loved the roughened, painted advertisement wall that at one time was on an outside wall. I loved the large southern facing all window store front that glows bright with the setting sun. I enjoyed meeting the other tenants that resided in this building, all of whom I became fast friends with. I liked being in REO Town and seeing the burgeoning groups of business owners and employees walking passed my window. I soon realized that I wanted to stay and be a part of this progress. When my three weeks of renting was over I had planned to vacate the building but before I did I mentioned to the landlord how much I would like to attempt to do what Art Alley had tried to do before. I proposed a three part plan. The first would be the rental of gallery space. This was a given, since it was a gallery after all. The second was the venue space. Despite not having a bunch of extra things, many people I spoke with loved the space and enjoyed the idea of hosting parties there. My final idea was a photographer share. For the three weeks I was at the gallery I was able to offer studio photography sessions with my Ariniko Artistry business. This was a great opportunity for me as a photographer and I knew of quite a few other photographers that also were interested in a space that could be shared. I pitched the idea to the landlord and he agreed to let me continue on as the manager of the space. To stop the confusion about the name I decided to rename the space to AA Creative Corridor. It took me about a month to get organized and reach out to people but by December I was booking events including a wonderful Salsa Dancing group that come in every second and fourth Friday of the month. However, it was my most recent event held at the gallery that knocked my socks off. The event was the second Art & Craft Beer Fest. Paul Starr, the owner of I’m a Beer Hound had come to me back in November asking about using the gallery. Since I had just been put in place as the manager I didn’t really know what to do or what to expect. I gave him the go ahead without much more thought to it. In passing he mentioned I could leave my City Saunter photos up for the second day but that he was looking for something different for the Friday night event. This was a two day event with art being featured on both days. Paul wanted sculptures. It was my job to get him 8-12 sculptures. My first thought was David Such at Such Video. I knew he was an active member of The Scrapfest and Old Town and I thought he might know of some artists. With one communication David’s brother, nephew and friend was able to bring in close to 20 amazing pieces of art for the first night of the event.

aaccIMG_0225Gorgeous dark blue rose stem created by artist Dace 13

aaccIMG_0218Beautiful lake edge scene, crafted out of metal by Dace 13

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As we were loading all the pieces into the gallery, some as tall at 15 feet, I, for the first time, felt like a curator of a true gallery. I even at one point said, this looks like a real gallery to which David responded, “This is a real gallery”.  He really meant it. Wow. The next day I spent 3 hours helping move out welded art and hang over 30 City Saunter & Ariniko Artistry photographs plus 6 Miranda Hartmann drawings.

aaccIMG_0268Steely Flower by Dace 13

For those two days, this one event brought together Right Brain craft beer makers, the folks at REO Pub, at least six artists, four musicians and over 300 community members who came out to enjoy all that we were offering, including Meat. Southern B.B.Q. Lovers & Carnivore Cuisine, who fed us all.

aaccIMG_0285I’m A Beer Hound Merch Table

aaccIMG_0278Musicians Mark Warner & Garret Bielaniec 

I don’t know what’s coming up next for the gallery space, but I am looking forward to whatever adventure is around the corner. If you are looking for a venue or if you are an artist that wants to exhibit your work, or if you’re a photographer that needs some studio space for inside shoots, well, give me a holler, because I’m the manager of an art gallery, event venue and a photographer share and I can’t do anything without all of you.

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Don’t be SAD this winter

It’s January. It’s January in Lansing, MI. It’s January in Lansing, MI in the year 2014, which by most accounts, has been one of the most “winter-like” winters we’ve seen around here in a long time. We’ve had snow on the ground almost constantly from the end of November last year until now. It’s also been extremely cold. This time of year is often difficult for those that suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, like me. When there’s an extra long, dreary winter like there has been this year, it’s even more difficult to handle the doldrums, melancholy and sadness that can sometimes seep in during a Michigan winter. I’d like to offer up some of my remedies, not as a professional, because if you are a serious sufferer you need to seek professional treatment, but as someone who finds these winter greys a bit too much sometimes.

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  • Exercise: I know this one seems obvious but there’s a lot that goes into winter exercising. I honestly love exercising in the winter. But I think the trick is finding the activity that you really like to do, that’s worth going out into that cold for. There’s a few extra steps needed for winter fun. The first is clothing. All Michiganders are taught at an early age to layer. This is especially important while exercising outside. You can layer socks, gloves, shirts and pants. Always bring more than you need as you can add more as needed but only if it’s on hand. Some of the activities I like to do are ski and sled. There’s also walking, running, skating, tobogganing, ice fishing, shoveling, snow sculpting (playing in the snow), snowball fighting, and snow football. A second thing to remember is bring water! Most outdoor water fountains are shut off this time of year. It’s really important to bring your own. A third thing is you do get warm while exercising outside. Even though it’s negative 12 wind chill you are exerting energy, probably more so than in the warmer months. I’ve come home from skiing with all my layers drenched. My final suggestion is to get dry and warm fast! The worst part of winter activities is getting wet and chilled and not being able to warm up. Be prepared with dry clothes, heat, warm drinks or even a dip in a hot tub or shower if you can.

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  • Color:  It’s that time of year where everything is grey, white or grey/white. Wear brightly colored shirts. I love wearing super bright knee high socks or slippers. Put a bow in your hair. Do anything that adds some color to your day. If by chance there’s a blue sky, don’t let it go without a notice. You really have no idea when you’ll see that gorgeous blue again.

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  • Sunshine: From November until March true warm on your skin sunshine is hard to find. But when it does come out you just hang onto it and don’t let go. Sit in the window, go for a drive, take a walk, and enjoy it. 

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  • Flowers: This idea stems from both a color perspective and a desperate need for spring. At any time you need, go and buy some bright flowers. Put them in a vase and enjoy their beauty. There is nothing more refreshing than some glorious spring flowers. And men, pretend you are buying them for your significant other or daughter and enjoy them too.

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  • Food: I am constantly craving starchy carbohydrates this time of year. Don’t do it. They may make you feel better momentarily but the heavy, bloating feeling they cause a few hours later just isn’t worth it. These types of food may also affect your mood. There is much discussion about wheat and its negative effects on behavior. If you feel you might have problems with wheat, eliminate it for a while and see if it makes you feel better. As with the flowers, I suggest bringing in color again. This is a great time of year to eat brightly colored vegetables. You can make them into warm, yummy soups or sauté with a bit of olive oil. Add your fruits too. Florida oranges are usually pretty cheap right now. All those A,B, & C Vitamins, will do a bunch of good for your mood. Don’t shy away from chocolate too. It has been known to elevate serotonin levels which are the feel good hormone. Try dark chocolate if you can, it’s better for you. Other foods I like are hot teas especially peppermint and chamomile. Always consult with a doctor about your diet. These are just some of my techniques to get me through the winter months.

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  • Remove Negativity: For the first time ever, I had to take a Facebook fast. For whatever reason I was not able to filter out the negative posts, comments and activities like I normally can. I was letting it get to me and it was really depressing me. If you are being influenced by negative thoughts or ideas you really need to balance that with some positive. Most negative thinking is false thinking. Think about the things you tell yourself. Now examine it. Does it really ring true? If someone said the same thing to you would you believe them? Would you be willing to sit your child down and tell them, honestly, that those names or ideas you keep telling yourself are true? Don’t be your worst enemy, be your best friend. It is true that people will treat you like you treat yourself. Eliminate all negative self talk and see you it doesn’t enhance your mood.

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  • Be realistic: As much as all this dreary weather can wear on us, always remember it too shall pass. The buds of spring are really much closer than we think. Even though the calendar says spring is two months away, we know in our hearts that there’s always a bit of hope at pretty much any time now. Ground Hog’s Day is only 12 days away and Valentine’s Day is 12 days after that. Add another two weeks and we’re at the beginning of March. That’s not so bad.

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Again, S.A.D. can be a serious condition. This blog in no way represents medical advice. If you are having serious symptoms you must seek out a professional. This blog represents personal ideas and should not be mistaken as medical advice.

Ariniko O’Meara is a natural light photographer in the Lansing, Michigan area. She specializes in family photography including candid and portraiture shooting styles.  All photographs within in this blog are protected under copyright law. ©Ariniko Artistry 2014