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Support local artists and purchase one-of-a-kind handmade items at a unique Ann Arbor setting

Lisa Barry
89.1 WEMU

Some 20 Ann Arbor area artists will be showing and selling their creations Friday, November 26, 2021 through Sunday the 28th at the Valley Barn at Frutig Farms on Scio Church Rd in Ann Arbor.

WEMU’s Lisa Barry speaks with one of the participating artists, John Gutoskey, about what’s being called“Art Sale at the Valley.”


Lisa Barry: Of the many things to appreciate and enjoy in our community, there are a number of amazing and talented artists who bring so much creativity and beauty to our lives. This is Lisa Barry, and one way to show your appreciation is to support them with a purchase in some cases, which may be just what you're looking for with the holidays approaching. The day after Thanksgiving and this coming weekend, a number of area artists are getting together for what they call Art Sale at the Valley. It's on Scio Church Road in Ann Arbor. And joining us now on 89-1 WEMU is one of the participants, local Ann Arbor artist John Gutoskey. Good to talk to you, John. 

John Gutoskey
Credit ArtPrize / artprize.org
John Gutoskey

John Gutoskey: Hey there, Lisa. Nice to be with you.

Lisa Barry: How would you describe your work? 

John Gutoskey: Well, I'm a mixed media artist. I work with multiple mediums, often in the same piece. I do a combination of sort of assemblage work with found objects. And then I do printmaking, which is also kind of mixed media. 

Lisa Barry: OK. How many people are going to be participating in the event coming up? 

John Gutoskey: There are 20 artists that work with wide range of media. There are several woodworkers. Doug Madaras Designs--he and his wife, Angela. She helps do some of the design work, and she's an amazing woodworker. He also helped restore the historic barn at the Valley at Frutig Farm, where we're going to have the show. It's a gorgeous space. And that's part of what he does, as well as historic preservation of of dwellings and buildings. And then another wood artist is Max Davis, and Max is the partner of Terry Soave. Terry is the coordinator of the show. Max is a well known Ann Arbor and Detroit artist. He taught at CCS about 40 years, well over 40 years, actually. And he's doing some just some gorgeous woodworking with live edges, making cutlery boards and cutting boards and charcuterie boards. And they're, really, they're gorgeous. Also, he's making knives for these boards. 

Credit Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU
89.1 WEMU
Woodworking display by Douglas Madaras at Art Sale at the Valley


Lisa Barry: Hmm. 

John Gutoskey: Well, let's see. Who else? Menlo Park Laboratory. These are a couple. Martin Soave, who happens to be Terry's brother and his partner, Scott Taylor. And I actually really love their stuff. They do work somewhat in the vein of the work I do, the assemblage work with found objects. But the Menlo Park Laboratory, which is what they call their duo, it's kind of references Thomas Edison and electricity. So, most of their pieces have lighting in them, but they're made from, like, vintage old boxes, stuff from old machinery, kind of a steampunk vibe, that kind of Victoriana, found object mixed with kind of a punk vibe. Theyre really--I love them. I think they're really quite amazing. 

Credit Art Sale at the Valley / artsaleatthevalley.com
Menlo Park mixed media


Lisa Barry: Let me set the scene for a minute. I had never been to the Valley Barn at Frutig Farm. So. Full disclosure. I went to a similar sale like this. Is it a sale? An event? What do we what should we even be calling it? 

Credit Art Sale at the Valley / artsaleatthevalley.com
The Valley Barn

John Gutoskey: Well, it's a sale.

Lisa Barry: A sale. OK. 

John Gutoskey: You know, we're artists. 

Lisa Barry: Right. 

John Gutoskey: We're there with our wares. 

Lisa Barry: Yeah. 

John Gutoskey: Trying to sell our work to the public for Christmas.

Lisa Barry: So, I walk in into this amazing magical space and-- 

John Gutoskey: It is amazing.

Lisa Barry: You can go in, and you can buy pottery, and you can buy jewelry and more. Were there are a few other artists you wanted to highlight as well? 

Credit Art Sale at the Valley / artsaleatthevalley.com
Pillows by Marie Krull.

John Gutoskey: Marie Krull, who is a local seamstress and textiles artist, has really beautiful home goods. I think they have kind of a mid-century modern vibe. I love the textiles she chooses to work with, and she makes things like pillows and throws. She also does clothing, and she will have a range of work at the show. And then, our youngest artist is a woman named Cassidy Kaufman. I believe she's still a student at CCS, and she works in metals and does beautiful jewelry and some vessels. And it's really quite lovely and delicate and has kind of a modernist look to it. 

Lisa Barry: So here are 20 artists from the Ann Arbor area, all together in this beautiful, historic barn, hoping that you will purchase something for, perhaps, the upcoming holiday season, maybe for yourself. That's how I end up doing a lot of my holiday shopping. Tell us, what does that feel like as an artist to be supported in that way? 

John Gutoskey: You know, it's interesting. I've had this conversation with other artist friends about what's the best validation for the work you make, and it's always this thing: compliments versus sales. And compliments are great. They're wonderful. But it's, like, a sale is like a step further than a compliment, I guess you could say. It's when somebody goes the step beyond, "Hey, I like it enough where I'm going to buy it from you." And that's like the jig validation. You know where you do the little jig because that's the best validation. Or somebody liked your art enough to purchase it from you and take it home or gift it to somebody else. Don't get me wrong. Compliments are great. Come on by, and tell us you like our work, but we're there to make money. Honestly. 

Lisa Barry: Many people want to earn a living by selling or sharing what they're passionate about, and your 20 artists. I know there are a lot more artists in our community who have the same goal and dream that you guys do.

John Gutoskey: Yes, there are many. If you're on Facebook at all these days, there are many, many announcements. I think we're sort of the first show to lead off this, you know, the little Christmas season of art sales, but there are many of them happening over the next month up to Christmas.

Lisa Barry: And we do our best to bring you as many as we can here on WEMU. Beginning this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, you can walk off some of that turkey and pie by going to Art Sale at the Valley. For me, it's worth it just to see the barn alone. But you can go in.

John Gutoskey: I agree. 

Lisa Barry: And meet John and all these other amazing, talented artists and hopefully support them. 

John Gutoskey: Come on by. We love to see you. And Lisa's right. It's a gorgeous place in a gorgeous setting, and we'll be there Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 


Credit Art Sale at the Valley / artsaleatthevalley.com
Watercolor work by Angelis Jackowski


Lisa Barry: And we'll put links to that with this interview on our website. WEMU dot org. John Gutoskey. Thanks for all you do to bring beautiful art to our community as well.

John Gutoskey: And Lisa, thank you so much for all you do to bring us to the community, so people know the artists in our community. You're the best. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving. 

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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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