August 08, 2012 - Downtown Oxford's Merge Studio & Gallery is hosting a unique event that combines art, cars and charity.
On Friday, Aug. 10, the 18 N. Washington St. business will host an automotive artist reception, silent auction and classic car show from 7-9 p.m.
"We have a lot of car crazy people in Detroit – it's the Motor City," said Merge owner Karey Collins, of Oxford. "People can look at the art, look at the cars and bid on the art work."
The event will feature the automotive-themed works of artists Larry "Sinister" Stephens, Anthony Barchock, Haneif Katebi, Billy Coach, Alexander McGowen, James Lopiccolo and Graig McDaniel.
In addition to photographs and paintings, the show will include works such as a clay model of a car sculpted by McGowen, a recent graduate of the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and some "more unusual pieces" from Stephens, who's an Oxford resident.
Collins explained that Stephens will display paintings he's done on old car parts (see photo below).
A silent auction will be held featuring five or six pieces from the aforementioned artists.
Collins indicated that 20 percent of the proceeds will benefit Meals on Wheels, a local nonprofit group that delivers prepared meals to the homes of senior citizens (age 60 and older) who are unable to grocery shop for themselves or cook their own meals. Volunteer drivers also provide wellness checks and give seniors someone to chat with.
A charity that uses vehicles to serve others seemed like the perfect group for this event to support, in Collins' view.
"It fits the theme," she said.
In addition to viewing and purchasing art, folks are invited to bring their classic cars and vintage vehicles to participate in a special car show that will take place in the parking lot behind Merge, which is located in downtown's northeast quadrant.
"We thought that would be a fun addition to the event," Collins said. "Everyone's invited to bring their cars. There's no registration or entry fee. It's just a friendly gathering."
Some might think it odd to combine cars and art, but Collins believes "it's a natural fit."
"The people who restore old cars are very creative," she said. "Many of them also paint and draw."
And it's not just the guys who bring classic cars back to life who possess an artistic streak.
"There are some extremely talented artists in the automotive world,' Collins noted. "A lot of people don't realize how much artistic ability goes into designing cars. Just about everybody that works in design for the Big Three went to art school."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.