Artist demos showcase local talent, artistic process


COURTESY / LaFontsee Galleries

Allison Rafferty

On Saturday, Sept. 14, LaFontsee Galleries will be hosting live artist demos. The event, taking place from 12-4 p.m., will be held at the gallery located in downtown Grand Rapids. The public is welcome and admission is free. 

LaFontsee Galleries hosts artist demos approximately three to four times a year and has been doing so for the past three years. Due to the high success rates of the artist demos, LaFontsee Galleries has plans to continue putting on these events in the future. 

This upcoming event will feature four local artists Elizabeth Brandt, Linda LaFontsee, Kathy Mohl and Eric Wieringa. Since the event looks to feature various forms of art, each artist will be doing something that is uniquely their own. 

Brandt is a fiber artist, LaFontsee creates mixed media art, Mohl is a plein air artist and Wieringa is a hyper-realistic, representational artist. 

“All of these artists are currently represented by us,” said Tina Derusha, art consultant and frame designer at Lafontee Galleries. “We have a rigorous submission process that each have gone through in order to be part of our staple of 70 plus represented artists at LaFontsee.”

In choosing from their represented artists, Derusha said she looks for a good mix of mediums and subject matter that will interest a broad audience.

The artists’ demos are set up in a way that allows them to be put on year-round, with opportunities for guests to engage with the art and artists in different ways with the seasons.

“In the warm weather months, we put tents up outside for artists to engage with guests,” Derusha said. “In the fall and winter, our demos are hosted inside the gallery.”

Typically, these artist demos draw in a crowd of about 60 to 70 people. As the events grow and become more well-known, Derusha said attendants are coming from outside the area.

The idea for the artist demos came to those at LaFontsee Galleries when they saw people’s interest in the art-making process, Derusha said.

“(We) felt that there was a real interest in the community for people to connect directly with artists to learn their process and what inspires them,” Derusha said. 

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to interact with the artists. Derusha explained that each artist will have a table where guests may watch their process up close and ask questions about their respective mediums.

She also shared that the interaction between those in attendance and the artists is what those at LaFontsee love most about the demos.

“We appreciate that guests have an opportunity to interact and learn more about the artists we carry and support their craft,” Derusha said.

Derusha, along with the rest at LaFontsee Galleries, believes events like these are beneficial to the community because it shows community support for local artists.

“It’s our mission to share the incredible talent that resides in our community,” Derusha said.