Current & Upcoming Exhibits

Cuba: An Opening Door, Photographs by Sandy Schopbach

Now through October 29, 2015 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

This exhibit includes 51 photos taken during Sandy Schopbach’s recent trip to Cuba.

Some are landscapes: the harbor and streets of Havana, the bay of Cienfuegos, the church and cobbled streets of Trinidad (the Cuban city, not the country), and the countryside in between. Others are snapshots of daily life: the vendors in the covered market of Cienfuegos, people watching the streets below from their balconies, students in uniform enjoying the end of the school day. Still others are portraits: the young singer in a restaurant, or the proud veteran with his many medals, or the woman-with-cigar posing for photos to earn extra money.

Cuba reminds Sandy of the America of the fifties. It’s a country perched on the precipice of the great changes that will come, now that relations have been re-established. A few young people are already walking around with their ears glued to a cell phone. And until mid-summer the U.S. Embassy in Havana flew no flag and was only a “U.S. Interests Office." Things are changing and perhaps they will change fast.

Still, she hopes that much will remain of the Cuba she saw during this magic visit to an island that has remained a Never-Never-Land for so many years.

Kerrytown BookFest: The Art of the Book

Now through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

The Kerrytown BookFest celebrates all aspects of book writing and creation. This year, this annual exhibit at the Library showcases entries from the festival’s 8th annual Book Cover Design contest for high school students.

The contest, open to all Michigan High School students, asks the students to reimagine a cover for a chosen book and give a visual interpretation to the written word. The contest winners will be announced at the reception.

This year’s book is My Last Kiss, a young adult novel by Bethany Neal. Over 100 entries were judged by Bethany Neal, author; Paula Newcombe, graphic designer for the University of Michigan Press; and Melissa Weisberg, Macmillan Publishing Company representative.

Eight finalists were chosen on the basis of originality, execution, and understanding and application of the subject matter

The public is invited to an opening reception for the exhibit and the BookFest on Friday, September 11 from 7:00 to 8:00 pm on the third floor of the Downtown Library This event will include: elegant refreshments; exquisite music by harpist Deborah Gabrion; and remarks by Robin Agnew, Kerrytown BookFest President and owner of Aunt Agatha’s bookstore, who will present an overview of the exhibit and the book design contest

The Kerrytown BookFest, which will be held on Sunday, September 13, is an event celebrating those who create books and those who read them. The primary goal is to highlight the area’s rich heritage in the book and printing arts while showcasing local and regional individuals, businesses, and organizations. Since 2003, the BookFest has been growing, sharing, and discovering more and more about the rich book culture in this region.

Handbuilding with Clay: An Exhibit by Clay-Art-Friends

Now through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: Lower Level Display Cases

Featured Artists: Barbara Brown, Nancy Bulkley, Jeanine Center, Kim Scott, Caron Valentine-Marsh, Oni Werth, Lineke Zuiderweg, and Mieke Zuiderweg

When people think of ceramics, they tend to visualize the smoothly wheel-thrown shapes of vases, mugs, and plates. Ceramics built by slab, coils, or pinching tend to be off their radar, yet so many of the items that surround us in this world are made by these techniques. The eight Midwestern artists participating in this exhibition share a common bond of manipulating clay through similar processes, but their results could not be more different.

When looking at a ceramic object, we tend to get lost in the piece’s beauty, not its process. This exhibit hopes to capture the public’s interest in what’s behind the art façade. By showcasing a large variety of work and how it’s made, the medium’s mysterious nature will come to light:

• Bowls and figures by Nancy Bulkley are the perfect example of unknown process; the work is made by “pinching”, an incredibly ancient technique that still holds true to modern forms. The viewer can revel in the small imperfections of this process, literally seeing the hand of man upon its surface.
• Sophisticated pieces can spring from slowly building forms, as seen in Barbara Brown’s tall vases and 2 D sculptures featuring birds and natural elements.
• Slab building can yield results that both celebrate the form of the slab (Lineke Zuiderweg’s fairytale figures and Mieke Zuiderweg’s architectural forms) and intense texture as seen in Kim Scott’s “tree trunk vessels.”
• Caron Valentine-Marsh delves further into using slabs with a refined hand not often seen in clay - her “Nicho” constructions have both incredible form and function.
• Still further from the “traditional” vase, Jeanine Center creates clay jewelry that celebrates both detail and natural texture as well as her plates, while
• Oni Werth takes mixed media to a higher level with his driftwood and ceramic compositions.

We hope this show will not only open a new world of ceramics to people, but create enough intrigue that they want to try it for themselves. Handbuilding has an accessibility not found in any other art form, and should be tried by all!

The Individuality of Color: Watercolor Paintings by John David Macdonald

Now through October 15, 2015 -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room Exhibit

These twenty watercolor paintings are the goal of a training method begun many years ago to develop an intimate relationship with color in order to realize form and motif and the creative tendencies inherent therein. The exhibit ranges from nature moods to works where artistic fantasy weaves its way in without violating the above stated goal.

This method of training with color, through systematic and methodical exercises, has its chief exponent in the late Gerard Wagner (1906-1999), who spent a lifetime developing and expanding indications of Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), who provided the foundation for this method.

John David Macdonald’s work with Gerard Wagner provided guidance to explore the limitless creative possibilities contained in one of nature’s primal phenomena

Totems, Trees, and Birds

Now through September 10, 2015 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

This dual painting exhibit by Joyce Tinkham and Betsy Beckerman features thirty-five works in a variety of media, including watercolor, acrylic on canvas, mixed media on wood, and collage.

Joyce Tinkham is an award-winning artist, and a graduate of the University of of Michigan School of Art & Design. Her work features pieces in acrylic paint on canvas and watercolors. Joyce Tinkham's heritage is Nisga'a Native American, a factor that, as she puts it, "creeps into my work. "My paintings sometimes have Native American themes, and sometimes American native designs."

Betsy Beckerman is a musician and an artist. She features watercolors, mixed media on wood and collage in this show. Most pieces have nature themes or depictions of birds.

Betsy and Joyce are friends and are in two art groups together: AAWA and SaturdayforArt. Both have previously had solo shows at the AADL and with similar tastes and themes decided to mount this collaborative show.

The Pleasure of Portraits: Paintings by Bertie Bonnell

Now through August 30, 2015 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

Ann Arbor artist Bertie Bonnell’s evocative acrylic paintings, in colors often glowing, at times brooding, are atmospheric interpretations of each person and their surroundings.

She comments, “I’ve endeavored to capture the expression and the chromatic essence of a person, to create a tightly woven composition, and to knit the figure seamlessly into the background. The brushwork is spontaneously messy when seen up close, but from a few feet away seems realistic.”

Bonnell, a lifelong painter and third generation artist, attended New York City’s School of Visual Arts before she moved to Ann Arbor. In 2006, her “Porches and Gardens” series was exhibited at AADL.

The AADL Staff Awesome LEGO Exhibit

Now through August 30, 2015 -- Downtown Library: Lower Level Display Cases

Summer 2015 is all about LEGO at AADL!

Thursday, August 6 is our 10th Annual LEGO Contest, hosted at Kensington Court in Ann Arbor for kids, teens and adults! Every year a few children of Library Staff enter the LEGO contest and sadly, no matter how awesome their project is, they can't WIN. To rectify this and to show off the awesome creativity and LEGO enthusiasm of AADL staff, we're filling the Downtown Library display cases with lots of LEGO awesome projects!

AADL staff, family, and friends of staff worked hard to show off their work with unique LEGO structures, built with pieces from favorite sets and everything in between!

This special LEGO display is also part of AADL’s Summer Game 2015! Game codes and other clues will be hidden in the display and LOTS of points will be earned! Go to for more information about the Summer Game and to learn about earning LEGO badges!

Food of Love: Paintings in Various Media by the Painting Section of the U-M Faculty Women's Club

Now through July 30, 2015 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

This group exhibit of 35 paintings features the collected works of the Painting Section of the University of Michigan’s Faculty Women’s Club (FWC) covering a large variety of styles and media.

The theme of this year’s exhibit is “Food of Love”, taken from the Shakespeare quote:
“If music be the food of love, play on…” The works in this show are meant to be an embrace of the sensuous: love, food, music and a reminder to enjoy beauty in life. As artists, we felt free to base our paintings on any or all facets of the Bard's idea of “food of love”.

The FWC is a cross campus organization, offering members acquaintance and fellowship. The members of the Painting Section have been “painting” together regularly since 1929, creating award-winning pieces in a wide variety of media, and learning from one another at weekly gatherings in their homes. Sharing experiences with new media, critiquing one another’s work, and encouraging exploration in artistic expression are the basic elements of their continuing study of the visual arts as a group. Shows of their works have been displayed for the past 44 years at venues in the greater Ann Arbor area, including art fairs, art galleries, banks, churches, and libraries.

The members of this group strive to enrich the cultural life of the Ann Arbor area by raising awareness of, and by encouraging active participation in, the visual arts.

New Art Prints from the AADL Collection

Now through July 14, 2015 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

The circulating art print collection at the Ann Arbor District Library makes available original works of art and fine reproductions of paintings, photography, prints and drawings. Artists represented in the collection are global and multicultural in scope. Works selected ranges from the iconic to the eclectic but are always, good examples of the artists’ works.

All art prints in the collection are professionally framed by Format Framing of Ann Arbor. Images of the collection are available in the online catalog. Each library card holder may borrow up to 3 prints, circulating for 8 weeks. Sturdy nylon carrying bags are available for safe and easy transport from our staff at the Circulation Department.

Celebrating 50 Years of Sister City Friendships

Now through July 24, 2015 -- Downtown Library: Lower Level Display Cases

This display of photographs, memorabilia and artifacts illustrates Ann Arbor’s fifty years of sister city relationships with seven countries.

Items include:
• a dress from Senegal,
• the trophy from the Arborough games,
• miniature items used as teaching aids for Japanese trips,
• a wooden model of a Tubingen punter boat,
• many books, pictures, and posters.

This exhibit is held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Ann Arbor/Tubingen sister city partnership. On December 9, 1965 the official charter of the Tubingen and Ann Arbor partnership was presented to City Council, followed by a concert of Christmas carols sung in German by Ann Arbor High School students. Visits between the two areas started as soon as the decision was made.

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