Buchanan gathers artists, musicians for ‘Non Pareil’Published 9:28am Wednesday, September 2, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – Having just cleaned up from its annual Old Mill Festival this past weekend, the city of Buchanan is already gearing up for its next big event.
Just in time for Labor Day the city’s downtown merchants have banded together to present “Non Pareil, Buchanan Un-Equaled” event Saturday, Sept. 5.
Organizers are hoping that there will plenty of people on hand this Saturday as the street musicians are expected to fill downtown with music and there will be plenty of arts, shopping and discovering to go around.
“We all came together,” said Mary Lister, of the Buchanan Art Center. Merchant owners discussed creative ways of drawing people into the city.
“Non Pareil,” a take on the city’s uniqueness, will see merchant doors and even some downtown vacant spaces open up to visiting artists.
“We’ll have vetted, regional artists set-up in vacant store fronts, as well as an over flow artist crowd in tents in Harger Park at Oak and Front streets,” said Alan Robandt, owner of Alan Robandt in the Union Block Building on Front Street.
“Music is the additional highlight for Non-Pareil,” he added. “After Memorial Day, a number of extremely talented musicians including Greta Pope and Matt Thornton came forward with offers to participate.”
For her part, Pope will be performing at the gazebo located next door to the Buchanan Police Department on the corner of Front and Oak streets.
The jazz performing artist and host of “Jazz and More! …. with Greta Pope,” on WRHC Radio Harbor Country will celebrate the first anniversary of the program, performing live with members her Greta Pope Trio and recording a live episode of the program which is said to be scheduled to air Sept. 13.
Robandt said Pope will be performing at 7 and 9 p.m. in Gazebo Park. Thornton and his son, he added will perform in Mill Alley at Front and Main streets.
Restaurants will be open, Robandt said and many of the merchants will have refreshments available inside their stores.
“The people that live and work in Buchanan are what sets it apart from just about anywhere else I can think of,” said Jeffrey Antisdel of the Buchanan Museum of Fine Art.
The event will also give residents and visitors a chance to take a look at two of the city’s newest downtown business. “We have a wonderful new confectionary shop called “Sweeties” that just opened on Front Street, and a new Justin Brown Shoe Store just opened on Main street in the last week,” Antisdel added. “Before that we had the opening of F R O N T Gallery, The S.L. Consignment Gallery and Thomas Jolly Antiques. And all of these events have come before the pending National Registry application for the Buchanan Downtown District which, if approved, would further accelerate Buchanan’s renaissance independent of macro-economic considerations.”
Artist exhibitions will be showcased in buildings and under tents and shop owners will be showcasing their fall collections.
“There are a large number of artists participating,” he added. “These include Catherine Doll, fiber and textile arts; Jane Michalski, encaustic paintings; Annie Klein, photographic arts; Vickie Mitchell, specialized body works; Sheryl Kosovski, oil paintings; Bill Jensen, pastels and portraits; Alan Fore, mixed media paintings; Margaret Bryant, fiber and textile arts; Dawn Grofvert, lamp worked glass and enameled jewelry; Amanda and Tom Temple, photography and hand-made books; Sandy Whitewinds, jewelry arts; Tricia Werntz, sterling and stone jewelry arts; Kathee Kiesselbach, prints; Greg Allen, ceramics; Fire Arts of South Bend, ceramics and sculpture; and Kathy Reddy White of Circa Arts South Bend, crafted glazed tiles.”
The Buchanan Art Center will again hold a “Walk thru Raku” firing where visitors can pick out a bowl, glaze it themselves and fire it in a Raku style to take home.
“The art center has really changed a lot over the years,” Lister said. The project to put on such an event as “Non Pareil” has a very clear objective, she added. “(We want) to let people know that we’re here,” she said. “What we hope to achieve is bring more people in from outside,” while also bringing Buchanan residents out to rediscover the development going on in their own downtown.
So far, organizers are expecting a positive turnout.
“We’ve heard a lot of people say they were going to be here,” Lister said, adding that many said they wouldn’t miss another downtown event.
“This one will be bigger and better,” she said.
“We all have a tremendous amount of pride in our little town and the excitement being created here,” Robandt said. “I guess (Buchanan) it’s unequaled in terms of what a community supported group of tireless volunteers can achieve to help focus economic development and enhance the quality of community life.”