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“Straight & Wealthy” – a One-Night-Only, Limited Edition Art Event from the Tanglefoot Building Artists

PRESS RELEASE — WhenStraight & Wealthy”  opens on Friday, November 22, it will usher in a fresh and very unique visual art experience as the artists approach their 28th annual Tanglefoot public open studios event with fresh energy. 

Instead of its traditional two-day model that our local creative collective has applied for nearly 30 years, this new exhibition by the Tanglefoot Building Artists is being shaped differently and welcomes more voices who have not been present in the past.

And just like the annual Tanglefoot Artists Open Studio events in the past, “Straight & Wealthy” offers yet again a wonderful opportunity for our city to meet the many multi-discipline and accomplished local artists whose studios are peppered throughout the building. 

This one-night only, limited edition event showcases fresh contemporary art works made within the Tanglefoot building — an old flypaper factory located on the westside of Grand Rapids. 

This annual artists open studio event is a great way to meet the many makers of Tanglefoot while providing a platform for supporting our local creative community as all funds raised through the sale of their artwork support their studio practice. 

This exhibition title, “Straight & Wealthy,” was created to visual signal a shift in how we are organizing this year’s event and playfully references the directional street markers folks often use when sharing directions to the westside’s Tanglefoot building. “

“Straight & Wealthy” builds off this art collectives’ long history of being an open and welcoming space where a sense of community belonging can take root through the many floors of dialogue-inducing art. 

The Tanglefoot Building Artists have expanded and perfected their mission over the last three decades to become an area leader in how to build welcoming community spaces where area folks can connect with others. In the early years of this event, the artists used to serve homemade soup but the growth of this event has made that difficult today. Patrons of the arts are welcome, too, as many of these works are available for purchase. 

As an added bonus, “Straight & Wealthy” still enables folks the opportunity to speak directly with the artists.

History of Tanglefoot Building Artists
The Tanglefoot Studio Artists collective was founded in 1988 and founded in 1990 would become Grand Rapids longest-running open studio event in the history of Grand Rapids.

The Tanglefoot Building Artists began humbly when artists Elaine Dalcher and Michael Pfleghaar sought all over Grand Rapids for a building that would be open to renting space for them for their studios. Later these two artists would welcome artist Nikki Wall and found a new event rooted in community and establishing what would be a solid tentpole for our then young arts community.

Tanglefoot represents the power of art studios to be more than just a creation station but encourages a feeling of belonging through the many layers of dialogue that the artist’s works of art enable to happen. Key things that have contributed to the success of this space and their mission to build an artist community include:

1. Tanglefoot studios promotes the power of affordable spaces for artists. When artists are not driven by market forces, they are able to experiment taking us on uncharted pathways that help us visualize our world.

2. Within these individual studios, many of the established studio artists have been incubating fresh faces whom many went on to form their own studio practice.  Artists Tommy Allen, Alynn Guerra, Jason Villareal, and many others have been incubated by others before establishing their own practice with the building.

3. Even though the artists are defined as a collective, when looking back at the long history it is clear that this space is where individual support has been readily given for those artists in need. The sense of community these spaces have provided to members of the collective is inspiring and reflects the desire of the artists to leverage our model for others seeking to build a greater sense of community.

The lightness of our promotion was intentional this year, too, and gets back to our early roots. 

“We Xeroxed the hand drawn announcement, folded it in half and sent it out to our friends, families, colleagues and clients,” says Tanglefoot Building Artist co-founder Elaine Dalcher, who is not appearing at the event this year, “Nearly 300 people showed up that first year, and as word spread the event grew to welcome thousands upon thousands of art lovers over the years.”

This year, the event promises to include some new surprises for regular attendees, as resident artists are welcoming in select guest artists to participate in the annual open studio event. 

Available for purchase will be paintings, prints, small and large-scale sculptures, greeting cards, and photo-based art. Just as important as the chance to purchase art, though, these artists recognize the importance of finding chances to reconnect with their community in a festive kick off pre-holiday event. 

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