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Thursday April 24, 2014
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Liz Davis



Her eclectic list of regulars include several groups of U-M grad students, "lots of writers," a men's softball team, a fencing club, and neighbors who walk here from the Old West Side. Former customers who've left town often stop by the Old Town on visits to greet her. "People like to be recognized when they come in--and I like to be recognized," she says. "Day-to-day life can be hard."


Born in Manhattan, and raised on Long Island, Davis moved here in junior high when her father, a graphic designer, accepted a job at Car and Driver magazine. Within a year, her parents divorced, and he went back to the east coast. Her mother raised the family, making ends meet by working at the former Jacobson's department store.

Attending Community High "before it was popular"--her graduating class had just forty-five students--she started college at U-M, transferred to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, then returned to Ann Arbor. Going to school while working at the Old Town and as an assistant to the art teachers at Community, she was thirty by the time she finished her BFA in printmaking. She subsequently switched to painting when a drawing teacher told her she "drew like a painter." Her specialty is large, abstract oil paintings, inspired by Japanese calligraphy and its "large, unfussy brushstrokes."

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