Showing posts with label Ann Arbor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ann Arbor. Show all posts

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Graffiti Alley, Ann Arbor

After a year of being shut in, I was happy to be walking around the Liberty Street area of our town,
and to take a look at Graffiti Alley, where several artists were working on the wall art.

This group posed for a portrait. They told me that the painter with the spray can had never been to Ann Arbor before.
I didn’t ask where they were from, but they seemed to be having fun. The art is always new!

The art work of Graffiti Alley has been evolving
since 1999, and is constantly repainted by anyone who
wants to add to the murals on the walls.

Graffiti News from Korea

Here's an amusing story from ArtNet News: "A Couple Accidentally Defaced a $500,000 Painting in a Seoul Mall After Mistaking It for a Participatory Artwork" --
"A couple visiting a street art exhibition at a mall in Seoul unknowingly vandalized an abstract painting by American artist JonOne, said to be worth $500,000, painting three large dark splotches across its surface.

"The couple were confused by the array of brushes and paint tubes scattered on the ground beneath the canvas. They were meant to reflect the creative process of the artist, but the unwitting pair mistook the display for an invitation to add to the work."
The artist is "known for his Abstract Expressionist-style graffiti." I find this extremely funny! Especially as the $500,000 work of art looks to me just like the ones in Graffiti Alley, except that it's normal to paint over the walls in Graffiti Alley. I was happy to learn that the couple who painted on the mural were not charged with a crime.

Here's a before-and-after photo of the 23 by 9 foot painting:

Above: original work. Below: defaced work. Big whoop? (source: ArtNet News)

The Murals of El Paso, Texas

The New York Times recently published a fascinating feature about the murals in El Paso: "Art Without Borders" by Diana Spechler. If you are fascinated by murals and street art, as I am, you will surely enjoy the detailed descriptions of the artists and their goals in painting murals with topics such as racial justice, immigration from Mexico, local history and communities, and more.

The paintings in El Paso reflect many trends, especially the Mexican muralism movement of the 1920s and 1930s. This movement, the author writes, "gave us some of the most important art of the 20th century, most notably from 'the Three Greats:' Diego Rivera (otherwise known as Frida Kahlo’s husband), José Clemente Orozco (a master painter despite losing a hand to gangrene) and David Alfaro Siqueiros (who once dismissed easel painting as 'aristocratic,' mentored Jackson Pollock in New York City and is said to have tried to murder Trotsky, but that’s another story for another time)."

The photographs of murals and of their artists in the article are especially interesting, and use a sort of animated technique to interpret various parts of each mural.

Blog post © 2021 mae sander.


Monday, April 05, 2021

Home Again

Here we are back home. We bought some Lithuanian bread
at the Russian Gourmet in Fairfax and will be trying it tonight.
We miss Alice, who made us a beautiful salad to go with dinner
last night. 
We drove from Fairfax to Ann Arbor today. 
The spring flowers there are considerably more advanced than here.
Dinner on our last night in Fairfax: vegetables, scallops, and fish cooked on the grill.

Blog post © 2021 mae sander

Thursday, March 18, 2021

A Year of Feeding Those in Need

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the start of the coronavirus lockdown; that is, the moment when many jobs were first lost and when food and essential products suddenly became hard to find. This table shows how the need for food in our community -- Ann Arbor, Michigan, and the surrounding area -- has grown in the year of the coronavirus. The yellow line shows food distribution totals by Food Gatherers, the Ann Arbor Food bank, from March, 2020, through February, 2021. The green line shows the previous year. The need has been very great, and Food Gatherers’ effectiveness in collecting food and distributing it through their own and through end-user social work organizations has been a huge task.

Food Gatherers writes:
“Since the pandemic began, Food Gatherers has distributed between 700,000 and one million pounds of food each month, a significant increase over the same months in the previous year.”
Our total this year [2020] is an 18.7% increase from last year and the average distribution per day was 21,542 pounds of food!
Hunger in our community, in our state, in the USA, and throughout the world is a great concern, mine as well as that of many others. As the pandemic began and continued, more and more people lost their jobs, increasing their dependence on social services from private and public sources in our community. I have been following these issues, and I have been writing from time to time about the challenges to our society as hunger stalks our land. I have tried to support Food Gatherers and their partner organizations with donations of money. 

I have hope for the near future. Many workers are beginning to find jobs again. Vaccination is providing safety for more people to work and to resume normal lives. School re-openings have given children better access to feeding programs as well as better education. We have a new administration in Washington with a better will towards human needs and with a strong new law offering financial support for those who need it. However, our society still has a lot of work to do in helping the weakest of our communities.

I hope those of my readers who have the means to help others will continue to do so in the coming months. Update to this post: modern food banks have several ways to purchase food at favorable prices. So contributing money, if you can afford to do so, helps them a great deal. In some ways cash contributions are more effective than donating canned and pantry goods, though food banks also welcome food contributions from both individuals and businesses. When more people can safely do so, food banks also have many jobs for volunteers. There are many ways to help!

I wish you safety and good health.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Parking Garage Mural

In a parking garage in downtown Ann Arbor is a recently-created mural covering two sides of a concrete divider/structural support. I took the photos very early last week, on a sunny Sunday morning. I was thus able to have an unobstructed view of the art work, as no cars were parked in the structure.

The mural is by W.C. Bevan, and was sponsored by the Ann Arbor Art Association. The artists's statement from the Art Association Website:
"W. C. Bevan is an American painter and muralist based in Detroit, MI. His early art interests were guided by his father, a folk musician, and his mother encouraging non-traditional ways of life. The beginning of his career was shaped by being a punk and noise musician, traveler, graffiti artist, and construction worker in Memphis, TN.

"His recent mural and painting work is focused on high contrast visual movement, imaginary extensions of architecture, uncommon rhythms rooted in free-associative practices, self-reflective scenarios rooted in an embrace of chance/change, and a deep respect for folk art traditions and their regional manifestations."

Blog post and photos © 2021 mae sander. 

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Downtown Ann Arbor, Sunday Morning

New mural on the side of Vogel’s Locks. This business was founded in 1913, and recently closed.

Painted windows at Downtown Home and Garden, another traditional downtown business.

Blog post © 2021 mae sander.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Spring? Perhaps.

 New photos from an afternoon walk:

Much of the ice has melted at Ford Lake.

The red-winged blackbirds have just returned from their winter habitat, which may be as far as
800 miles from here. Seeing them and hearing their song is a real sign of spring!

Blog post © 2021 mae sander.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Ypsilanti, Michigan

© 2021 mae sander


Saturday, February 06, 2021

Mystery Mural


In September, 2006, I photographed this mural on the side of a barn in Webster Township, around 10 miles west of Ann Arbor where I live. Recently, I’ve driven down the road where I seem to remember finding this mural, but either the building isn’t there any more, or I have not correctly remembered the location. There was a llama farm not far from there as well — we walked past it the day we saw this mural. Although I have found more recent references to the llama farm, I haven’t been there recently, either. 

Blog post © 2021 mae sander. Photos © 2006.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

In my backyard

The waning moon in our yard around an hour before dawn.

The spooky view.

Our yard at sunrise, looking south.

Photos © 2021 mae sander for mae food dot blog spot dot com.


Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Groundhog Day

Woody the Michigan Groundhog making the 2020 weather forecast -- Mlive.

It's Groundhog Day. As the sun rises this morning, the Groundhog, known here in Michigan as Woody the Woodchuck, will come out of the hole where he spends the winter. If the day is sunny, Woody will look around and see his shadow and go back in and we'll have six more weeks of winter. If the weather is cloudy, Woody will not see his shadow. Unfortunately, we'll probably have six more weeks of winter anyway, though Woody is said to have successfully predicted many "mild" winters by failing to see his shadow. Groundhog Day superstitions (and similar beliefs about other burrowing animals) occur in many European traditions, and the explanations are numerous. 

UPDATE February 2, 2021: "Woody emerged from her house about 8 a.m. Tuesday. She did not stay out for 30 seconds, indicating she is forecasting six more weeks of winter." Also this news flash makes clear that Woody's preferred pronouns are "she" and "her." My bad. (source)

I have seen many wild groundhogs in the Ann Arbor area where I live, mostly in the spring and summer. I don't recall ever taking any photos of them. Googling for images of Michigan groundhogs, I mostly find advertisements for pest control services -- because groundhogs do a lot of damage to gardens, sheds, decks, patios, concrete work, and other structures that they ruin by burrowing and making tunnels. Not a popular animal except on February 2.

Woody the groundhog belongs to the 
Michigan Department of Natural Resources. (DNR)

While in past years, Woody the forecasting woodchuck has appeared to an admiring crowd at an early-morning event beside his hole in a DNR facility in Howell, MI. This year, the festival will be virtual (information here). For Ann Arbor and nearby Howell tomorrow's forecast is "partly cloudy." We'll see what happens!

Groundhog Day has another name and meaning in Catholic countries: February 2 is called Candlemas. This holiday commemorates the 40th day after Christmas with a variety of religious rituals, including blessings that involve candles. Outside the church, Candlemas celebrations involve food, dancing, and other enjoyments. In France, Switzerland, French Canada, and other French-speaking places, the favorite food for the holiday is crêpes. Some Candlemas festivals include tossing a partly-fried crêpe in the air and catching it in the frying pan; in some places these crêpes are wrapped around a gold coin. In past times, farm families used to preserve one of these crêpes in their wardrobe, believing that it was a way ensure good crops. In Marseilles, bakeries made little boat-shaped pastries to celebrate the holiday. In Spain, the food traditions were quite different, including small onions and barbecued meat. A very complete collection of Candlemas traditions appears here: "Candlemas" at Gourmetpedia.

In France, Candlemas is called La Chandeleur, which is often
 celebrated with crêpes. (Photo from a past trip to a Paris crêperie.)

In the main square of Lima, Peru, we watched a huge Candelaria parade on February 2, 2017.

When we toured downtown Lima, the Candelaria, or Candlemas, holiday had attracted hundreds of groups from towns and villages in the high Andes. Wearing elaborate and colorful costumes and headdresses, they were participating in parades and dancing in the streets. Normally our tour would have visited the cathedral (as seen in the background of the photo) but it was much more fun instead to see the many dancing groups, especially indigenous people, from all over Peru.

I will spare you my gripes about being trapped in a never-changing world where every day is the same and there's no escape, like the movie Groundhog Day. Eat a crêpe. Smile. Maybe spring will come and bring vaccine.

Blog post and original photos © 2021 mae sander for mae food dot blog spot dot com. Other photos as credited.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

A Sunny Day

Decorated garage door in the park shelter.

Someone tried to erase “Black Lives Matter.”

After several weeks of absence, Kathy’s bear came out of hibernation
to celebrate the Inauguration!

© 2021 mae sander

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Walking in my neighborhood

Walking down Packard Road, a major street near my house, I enjoy
looking at a wide variety of colorful buildings. I don't walk there often
because there's much more traffic than on residential streets.

A mural signed Eva Rosenfeld.
You can see we still have a remnant of dirty snow.

The ice machines at Stadium Market are painted with icy designs.

Gas pumps -- which I usually don't notice -- have colorful logos.

I walk this way often, and I may have posted photographs of these buildings before. But on a grey day, when I don't feel safe going inside, it's fun to take another look at them. These are my photos, © 2021 mae sander.