Last month in Hamtramck, Mich., women gathered for an old-fashioned sewing circle activity under the tutelage of Mary Fortuna, an artist known throughout the region for her handmade sculptures and figurines. (Read more about Fortuna in this Knight Blog artist profile from last year.)
The sewing circle was hosted by Hatch, an art center that encompasses a gallery, studio space for artists, and the Hatch Art Library, which won a $20,000 Knight Arts Challenge grant in 2013. With the goal of fostering a community of local art collectors, the library lends out works by Detroit artists to area residents, who are able to display the art in their homes for up to two months. It’s an effort to build a bridge between local artists and the greater community.
This summer, Hatch launched a new series of workshops, Hands On at Hatch Art, that also aims to get locals invested and involved with the city’s creative set. Led by Fortuna and eagerly attended by artists and non-artists alike, the workshops held to date have focused on manual activities like making dolls and papier-mâché masks. Most recently, participants were tasked with DIY insect-building–a project that leveraged a skill set Fortuna has developed through her own art-making.