Arts & Entertainment - Inside Look: Whitdel Arts & Anywhere But Here

JenClare Gawaran, a two-dimensional design instructor at HFCC, also doubles as the President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Whitdel Arts, a gallery in Southwest Detroit. Whitdel Arts is a non-profit contemporary art gallery and also a division of the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit (CAID).
The gallery is open every Saturday during exhibitions from noon to 3 pm in addition to the opening receptions, which have extended hours. There are free youth workshops held at the gallery every month and workshops for emerging artist professional development are currently being developed. For more information, visit or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down and ask Gawaran a few inside questions about the art gallery. I asked how the ideas came to be and also wanted information on the upcoming show “Anywhere but Here”.
The process to creating a gallery show is much longer than one might imagine. In the spring of each year, the gallery staff plans exhibits for the next year’s shows. Each person on the Board of Directors will pick one show per gallery season to coordinate. The next step is to put out a call for entries which is a process where artists can submit work to be considered for the show. The number of entries varies and sometimes the staff is forced to choose a limited number of pieces from a selection of over 100. This process can be done in one time-consuming day or can span over a few indecisive days.
Next, a press release goes out to the media a few months before the show is scheduled to open to get the word out. Then the real work starts: Local artists deliver their work and others ship it to the gallery about 3 weeks before opening night. A number of staff members get to work installing the pieces, lighting it properly, and preparing the space for the opening reception.
Finally, it is time for the opening of a new show! Refreshments are served and Whitdel Arts Board Members, staff, and sometimes artists attend and interact with the guests and answer questions and explain the show.
I also asked JenClare what her favorite parts about putting together these exhibits is. She said she loves to see different artists presenting a similar theme because everyone uses their own point of view. It gives new perspective to each theme. Also, the presence of non-local artists is an exciting point for her because some of the artists get to take their first trip to Detroit and have a new experience at Whitdel Arts and can meet new people and interact with artists from different countries which adds a new enthusiasm.
Whitdel Arts will soon be hosting “Anywhere but Here” February 22 through March 23. The concept of this show includes six different artists taking a plain white gallery space and transforming it into six totally different worlds. The gallery will be totally unrecognizable inside to any patrons who have visited it before.
This show will leave you feeling like you emerged from a long vacation or fell into a scene from a well-written book. This show features artists Laura Beyer, Oreen Cohen, Michelle Dickson, Patricia Nadon, Brenda Oelbaum, and Alice Pixley Young.

Visit Whitdel Arts at 1250 Hubbard St., Suite B1, Detroit, Michigan to experience this one of a kind exhibit. Join the opening reception on February 22 or stop by any Saturday during the show between noon and 3 pm.