February 22, 2012 - Former Orion Art Center Director Reggie Harrison's vacant position was officially filled, yet while the new director has a number of promising ideas, she's aiming for a greater approach to the Orion Art Center's involvement in the community.
Dinneweth poses with some of the offerings already on display at the center. Photo by G. Ouzounian (click for larger version)
"Really I'm hoping to reconnect some people with their passion -- that is how I view art," said Lauren Dinneweth, the new Art Center Director. "It's a bridge, a way to connect with people. It can link people to businesses, to kids and to the greater community."
A photographer by training, Dinneweth said was sidetracked when she started being an on air reporter for Fox 2, Channel 50 and CBS Detroit, doing national and international broadcasts. These careers led her to treasure communication and now, given the opportunity to work with art once again, she wants to help find the same spark for creativity she had starting out.
"When you're creating it can be a very solitary experience, but when you get together with other people and take your creation out to the world it can be a little scary," she said. "But at the same time, being together with other artists you can form a connection and a kind of synergy. It's a really magical feeling, and I find that's when the best things can happen.
"I want this to be a place that connects people."
To accomplish this goal, Dinneweth plans to introduce a number of new initiatives at the art center, including monthly artist meetings, writers' workshops and a large degree of teen involvement with help from the schools.
She wants to work with area schools to form a "teen advisory board" responsible for planning their own shows and connecting other area people and businesses to those shows. She hopes this will provide an exhibit for Orion residents to see, and equip students with a "concrete experience" for when they leave school.
Other plans in the works include "food-is-art" at Victoria's Delights in Oxford. The show can involve still-life featuring meals, someone eating as a more abstract example, or anything that features food prominently.
A fundraiser at the restaurant will revolve around the idea of picking the best wine to go with art and features a sommelier talking about what food to serve with what wine and why that wine compliments art.
A six course meal and wine tasting is planned as well.
To keep the art center updated, Dinneweth is also having the website rebuilt.
"Though it's still under construction, the website has been redone with an added blog to help encourage people to participate," said Dinneweth. "I'll be having guest bloggers contribute to talk about inspiration and creativity. We already have Emily Locke, a student blogger from LOHS, whose mother - Laura Locke - has work on display now at Lennon Photography (on S. Broadway Street.)"
Those who enjoy the summer Dragon on the Lake festival shouldn't fear - most of the traditional events will remain.
First up on the long list of eventsn is the 2012 Dragon Gala on March 10 at the Addison Oaks Ballroom in Leonard. The black tie optional event will celebrate the Chinese Year of the Dragon and includes dinner, dancing, an open bar, live artistic presentations and a raffle. Tickets are $100 per guest or $800 for a table of 10.
For more information call 248-693-4986, go to OrionArtCenter.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Orion Art Center is located at 115 S. Anderson Street.