Art Beat

A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.

Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Pen Dragon Guild of Kalamazoo

A flourish of the pen and magic unfolds: handwriting that conveys a special message to the reader. No one does it better than a calligrapher. This visual art form began when scribes put the word of God on paper by hand, and it continues today in Kalamazoo.


Art Beat: Just Do It!

Dec 24, 2018
Katie Houston / Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Don Desmett began his art career thinking he’d be a sculptor. But he walked away from that, feeling that he just didn’t have it in him. But Desmett did have a good eye for great art, so he became a curator instead.


The Design Street building in Plainwell (Photo by Adam Hopkins)
Adam Hopkins

Rachel Hopkins loved her work as a freelance illustrator. But something was missing. When she and her architect husband Adam found an empty 100-year-old firehouse in Plainwell, Hopkins knew what it was: a community of artists. They turned the station into Design Street, where all kinds of artists share their work.


Andy Robins / WMUK

She’s an off-the-grid farmer in Fennville and harpist who somehow also finds time to write. Joan Donaldson has several historical fiction novels and nonfiction books to her name, along with children’s picture books. Her newest historical novel, Hearts of Mercy (Black Rose, 2018), is about Viney Walker, a spirited young woman in Tennessee during the 1880's.


Andy Robins / WMUK

The Kalamazoo YWCA, 353 East Michigan Avenue, is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. No one takes that mission more seriously and with more passion than CEO Grace Lubwama. Art is just one of the many ways she and the Y help women and children heal and find their voices.


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