The 230 members of the Ann Arbor Women Artists can take part in workshops, critique groups, and presentations on everything from a guest artist’s work to website design. But the group is most visible when it mounts exhibits in venues around town, from the Ann Arbor District Library and NEW Center to the Women’s Center of Southeastern Michigan and Curves for Women gym.
Member Terry O’Dell says her teachers told her she had no artistic talent. She’s glad she persevered, because making art and photographs has given her great joy. Still, it was only after she sold two photos at Curves last fall that she was finally ready to declare herself an artist.
For many members, AAWA exhibits provide their first chance to sell their work. Molly Ann Indura says that’s one of the reasons she joined the group two years ago. “And,” she adds, “to be part of a community of artists.”
Indura exhibited her large abstract paintings at the downtown Sweetwaters in August and September. Though none sold, Indura, who also describes herself as a healing guide, wasn’t discouraged: she took them straight from the downtown cafe to the Sweetwaters on Plymouth Road, where they’ll be seen by a new audience.
Pastel painter Linda Kortesoja Klenczar didn’t make any sales at Sweetwaters, either, but she did sell two pieces from a simultaneous exhibit at the Whole Foods on Washtenaw–one of the exhibition sites AAWA president Katherine Willson recently added, along with Babs’ Underground Lounge on Ashley and Keller Williams Realty on South State.
While exhibiting and selling are high priorities, sales aren’t what drives these women to make art. “Painting is a joy,” says Klenczar, a retired interior designer. “Complete and total relaxation.”
The AAWA recently added another cafe-gallery, Moonwinks in Dixboro. “They even want the artist to have a reception there,” says Willson–which is of course a win-win for artist and business. Moonwinks has adopted the same rules that Sweetwaters requires the artists to follow: no nudes or violent material.