Grief Art Exhibit, a major part of next week’s Grief Week sponsored and organized by GrieveWell, is a platform for people to share their stories through art and many local artists are taking part in the event. GrieveWell created a juried art exhibit which will be up all week and walked as a community at the end of the week. The Grief Art Walk is scheduled for Friday, April 12 starting at 6 p.m. at the Literati Bookstore and ending at the Ann Arbor Distillery. Each location features several unique works of art accompanied by the artist’s stories of their grief journey.
WeLoveAnnArbor.com is featuring a look at some of the artists participating in the Grief Art Walk.
Connie Velin has always been an artist – and has tried her hand (and feet) in many different artistic endeavors. The Ann Arbor artist will display her work this coming week as part of the Grief Art Walk.
“I’ve always been interested in art and my parents were great at exposing me and my siblings to various arts and encouraging us to be creative,” Velin says. “As a young adult, I wrote articles and photographed for hospital publications. Then after having my first child, I took a dance class to get back in shape and became totally smitten with dance.”
For the next 15 years, Velin taught dance, choreographed for high school and community musicals, directed a dance company that took dance into southeastern Michigan and supervised the Ann Arbor Recreation Dance Program.
Following her dance career she started sculpting in clay and also became a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA).
“Color and artistic movements began to fascinate me based on my experiences at UMMA, so I started painting and now paint exclusively,” she says. “I prefer abstract expressionism. Local abstract artist Ruth Gilmore Langs has been a wonderful mentor.”
Velin, 68, says her process depends on what she is painting.
“Sometimes I paint from a photograph in which case I push color and form to make it my own,” she says. “If I’m painting for the sake of painting, I start with color and quickly get lost. Sometimes I find my way in the painting quickly; sometimes discovery is labored. Regardless, it’s always a great journey.
“Abstract expressionist painting for me is a total emotional, kinesthetic experience.”
Velin has exhibited in juried shows of the Ann Arbor Women Artists (AAWA) as well as exhibiting in small shows at coffee houses, Kerrytown Concert House and a large solo show at Burns Park Senior Center.
She’s looking forward to showing her work as part of the GrieveWell special Grief Week.
“I learned of it through the AAWA and I have paintings I had done during my sister’s two and a half year fight with cancer,” she said. “The emotions I experienced in that time were great fodder for abstract expressionism. I also found it fitting that my sister’s birthday is April 12, during Grief Week!”