Family Owned & Independent - Est. 2017 - Haslett, MI
(Lansing, MI) – It is not unusual in arts & entertainment to see talented artists come together to form “super groups”. The Rat Pack and later The Brat Pack in film, and The Highwaymen, Traveling Wilburys, & The Three Tenors in Music are just a few examples. In 2021, near the end of the pandemic, 4 visual artists from Lansing formed a super group of their own. Mila Lynn, Sarah Sanders, Autumn Hopkins, & Kylee Kellett, in addition to being real life friends, are 4 of the most recognized artists in the Mid-Michigan Art Scene. All 4 own their own individual artistic businesses, all 4 are from Mid-Michigan, & all 4 have decided to pursue their artistic careers based here in the Capital Region.
“The 4 Aces of Visual Arts” were revealed over a 4 week period with each Ace having a video vignette introducing & highlighting them & their work individually. Each Ace’s suit is a reflection of that artist’s personality. A 5th video vignette was then released highlighting the entire group as a whole. The videos were produced by Paul Schmidt & UnoDeuce Multimedia in collaboration with Opportunity Arts. The video vignettes aired on Opportunity Arts’ Facebook & Instagram, and are available for viewing permanently on the Opportunity Arts website. www.opportunityarts.org/the-aces
A meet and greet for The Aces is scheduled for June 27th from 2pm – 4pm as part of the Grand Opening Celebration of the Opportunity Arts Artitorium at Cedar Street Art Collective. At the event, each Ace will have art available for purchase, as well as 1 piece each that will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. The Aces will also be available for pictures, & to sign autographs for fans & members of the community. In addition, esteemed local poet Morgan Madden will debut a poem at the event to honor & exalt The Aces.
About “The 4 Aces of Visual Arts”:
Sarah Sanders, The Ace of Spades, is the owner of Contrasted Content. A mixed media artist who specializes in body paint, Sarah doesn’t just create art, she becomes it. She’s Visual Art Personified. She’s been featured on the cover of books including The Social Gap Experiment Anthology, & in television shows including The Power of Mid-Michigan Arts. Sarah holds 2 collegiate art degrees from Lansing Community College.
Mila Lynn, The Ace of Diamonds, is the owner of Mind of Mila. An artist that truly knows & understands what her worth & value are, Mila has presented art on multiple continents. She has been featured on the cover of the Lansing State Journal, as well as in multiple television news outlets for her “Black is King” project. She is the winner of the 2021 MLK Jr. Holiday Art Contest sponsored by Delta Dental, The MLK Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan, and the MSU Broad Art Lab.
Kylee Kellett, The Ace of Clubs, is the owner of Shooting Star Arts. A natural talent, Kylee has been featured at the Carnival of the Creatives, & at The Artist’s Umbrella’s monthly show. The only thing more extensive than her versatility is her talent & ability. Kylee comes from a family of great female artists, and can create anything from the smallest sticker to the largest mural.
Autumn Hopkins, The Ace of Hearts, is the owner of Aura Lee Gallery, a company she founded to honor her grandmother. Autumn's mediums are emotion & passion. In addition to helping to raise her 9 siblings, Autumn is completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Michigan State University, where she was the recipient of the 2021 Ralf Henricksen Memorial Award in Art. The award recognizes a graduating senior painting major, whose work is deemed by the faculty to be the most successful in the final year of study.
It’s been said that if you pursue a career as an artist, the deck is stacked against you. But when it comes to these 4 artists, they form an unbeatable hand.
For more information on "The 4 Aces of Visual Arts", including all 5 video vignettes highlighting the group, visit: www.opportunityarts.org/the-aces
(Mid-Michigan) – Vocal Performer & Opera Singer Extraordinaire Stephano Andreotti has moved to Lansing. The Globally Award Winning Artist has won awards on multiple continents, has performed in some of the largest attended events in New York City, and has also toured Europe. Stephano’s first performance to a Mid-Michigan Audience as a resident of the Creatives’ Capital will be as part of the upcoming local television special, “The Power of Mid-Michigan Arts” where he will be performing alongside long time Lansing resident & fellow Opera Singer Sarah Elizabeth Wallace.
Stephano could have gone anywhere in the world to pursue his artistic endeavors. He chose Mid-Michigan. “We were looking at North Carolina & Pennsylvania, said Stephano. “Mike Marriott of Opportunity Arts suggested we take a look at Lansing as well.” Stephano was impressed with how talented the visual & performing arts community is in Lansing. “I’m an Opportunity Arts Affiliate and have been since I was in New York. I kept seeing the amount of Mid-Michigan based talent that was being added to that roster, and witnessing just how versatile, innovative, and engaging it is, and it really made me take a hard look at Lansing.” Mike first introduced Stephano to the Lansing Art Scene when he booked him to perform as the headliner for the Artist’s Umbrella’s first ever virtual show a year ago. “Everything in New York City & Long Island was shut down completely at the time, so when Mike asked if I would want to headline the show virtually from my home in New York, I was honored.”
With Mid-Michigan on their radar, Stephano’s life partner Courtney began sending her resume out, and when she was offered a job as the School Age Program Director for the Okemos Kids Club, the decision to relocate to Lansing was a no-brainer. Two of the first places Stephano & Courtney visited in the Capital Region were Horrocks, & MEAT Southern BBQ. “We were introduced to Horrocks, and we hadn’t seen anything like that in NYC or Long Island that was as neighborly, fairly priced, and above all well stocked with every kind of quality grocery a family cook like myself could dream of ” said Stephano. “I’m also a fan of the Food Network, so I was familiar with MEAT from it being featured on Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives. It was the first place Courtney & I ate as official Lansing residents.”
Stephano & Courtney said they have been blown away by the friendliness of Michiganders, and how welcoming everyone has been to them since they got here. Courtney added, “This place is very quickly feeling like home!” The importance of Stephano’s decision to join the Lansing Art scene did not go unnoticed. “Someone of Stephano’s caliber deciding to come to Lansing to pursue his career is really a testament to what this art community has built over the last few years,” said local arts promoter, & Vice Chair of the Mayor’s Arts & Culture Commission, Mike Marriott. “Adding Stephano is one of the first steps in establishing a thriving Arts Industry here in the Capital Region.”
About the Artist:
Stephano Andreotti is a vocal performer, opera singer, actor, model, and pianist, from Long Island, New York, and residing in Lansing, MI. He has performed in operas, plays, and for film & television. Stephano is the 2 time Back-to-Back winner of the New York City National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition for both classical performance and musical theatre performance. He has been a featured singer on the Sons and Daughters of Italy and The Columbia Association floats in the New York City Columbus Day Parade, where he was featured on every major television outlet. Stephano is the Overall Winner of the 2019 Talent Inc. World Showcase in Florida beating out more than 500 competitors from all over the world. He is the Winner of the 2017 Festival of Song USA international competition in Brooklyn, NY, earning the right to tour Sicily. He is the recipient of International Honors at the International Singing Show & Competition Cantamare & is the protégé of world renowned vocal performer Kelly Nassief, too which he owes a great deal of his success.
For more information on Stephano, & his work visit:
Hear Stephano’s rendition of Oh Holy Night via the link below:
(Lansing/East Lansing, MI) – A creative partnership between two women-owned businesses is driving traffic & creating place near Frandor. Award Winning Artistic Entrepreneur & Body Painter Sarah Sanders, the owner of Contrasted Content LLC will have her ‘Windows to Eden: A Geometric Landscape Body’ Collection on display at Apple Blossom Kombucha, owned & operated by Caley Gunthorpe, throughout the spring. Sarah’s work can be viewed during Apple Blossom Kombucha’s regular business hours, Tuesday & Thursday from 11am – 6pm. An artist meet & greet is being planned for some time in Spring of 2021, & Sarah plans to appear in a body paint uniquely designed for the event & collection. For more information on the collection & partnership visit www.contrastedcontent.com/windows-to-eden.
Two members of the local business community, a local female artist who wanted to have her art on display & available for purchase, and a local female kombucha business owner who wanted to drive business to her new tap room near Frandor realized they could work together to accomplish both of their goals. “I had this wall space and thought it would be nice to have a local artist display their work,” says Caley Gunthorpe, owner & operator of Apple Blossom Kombucha. Sarah Sanders, an award winning local artists & Lansing Community College graduate, had come highly recommended, and the two worked out the details of the partnership. At that point, Sarah began work on the pieces that would become the ‘Windows to Eden: A Geometric Landscape Body’ Collection, which consists of eight different pieces, split into 2 different sets. It is one of the first, if not the first collection to predominantly feature a form of Gold Leafing in the Capital Region. Sarah wanted to create pieces that not only were unique & stood out, but something that people would gravitate to. “Just like the apple blossom attracts bees to pollinate, I’m hopeful & confident that the ‘Windows to Eden’ Collection will attract patrons to Apple Blossom Kombucha’s tap room,” says Sanders. Visitor can come & enjoy the variety of delicious kombucha that Caley has brewed, while also getting to enjoy the exceptional work of one of the Capital Region community’s award winning artists. Sarah also wants visitors and art enthusiast to know that the collection is available to purchase either individually or as a set.
About The Artist:
Sarah Sanders is a mixed media artist & body painter with extensive experience in installation art, music, mural work, body casting, video art, makeup, photography, frame design, cake decorating, and floral design. She has transferred body paints onto canvas, canvas work onto cupcakes, pastel work into video work, and prides herself on being able to make art versatile with the medium. She is the owner of Contrasted Content LLC, a for profit art business located in Lansing at the Cedar Street Art Collective.
Sarah earned an Associate’s Degree in Arts Foundation, and an Associate’s Degree in Art History from Lansing Community College, where you can also see her work displayed publicly & permanently as the winner of The 2017 Zimmerman Arts Fund Competition. She was also selected as the Cover Artists for the 2020 Social Gap Experiment Creative Anthology. Additionally, Sarah has won The Award of Excellence for outstanding performance and contribution to the 2014-2015 Art Gallery Exhibit & Celebration from Ingham Intermediate School District and Lansing Art Gallery, The Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts at Mason High School, and The Outstanding Performance of Excellence in Visual Arts from Mason Public Schools and the Mason City Council. Sarah’s work has also been seen at the Ingham County Fair Art Contest, MSUFCU Art Exhibit, Ingham Intermediate School District, From Soup to Art: A Fundraising Auction for Arts Initiative of Mason, and the Mason Emerging Artist Event & Exhibition. Sarah was born & raised in Mason, MI, Her art studio is located in Lansing. To purchase Sarah’s work, www.contrastedcontent.com
About the Establishment:
Apple Blossom Kombucha makes kombucha as close to the traditional way as possible while sourcing as local as possible. Kombucha is fermented tea. It is lightly bubbly, with a little 'tang'. It is primarily made with green or black tea and is known for probiotic benefits. Apple Blossom uses a blend of teas, MI sugar, and real fruits, vegetables, and herbs from local farmers they know. Apple Blossom Kombucha wants to know where their ingredients come from, and are dedicated to supporting local! In addition to their ingredients being local, all of their design work, bottles, boxes, labels, caps, and much of their equipment is Michigan made as well! Apple Blossom Kombucha works hard to keep things local, because the money spent here, stays here. In addition to their location near Frandor, Apple Blossom Kombucha can be purchased at over a dozen local area eateries, cafés, & beverage establishments.
For more information on the ‘Windows to Eden: A Geometric Landscape Body’ Collection, to purchase one of the pieces or sets, or to inquire about business partnerships with Contrasted Content LLC, contact Sarah directly at:
For more information on Apple Blossom Kombucha visit:
(Lansing, MI) – Local Stone Jeweler & Artist Danielle Smith, wanted to show her appreciation to the front line workers at Lansing’s Sparrow & McLaren Hospitals. Danielle, along with her mother Robin, own Lithic Creation, a local business that makes stone jewelry. They decided to make & donate over 250 Wire Wrapped Amethyst Pendants to nurses & doctors specifically in the COVID and I.C.U. units of both hospitals. They made the pendants with Amethyst since it is traditionally known as a protection stone. Danielle & her mother wanted to give protective pendants to the people who are in harm’s way fighting the virus, and helping others heel throughout the pandemic.
‘The Precious Stones for Precious People’ Project was an idea Danielle had back in May of 2020 to create the pendants as a show of appreciation to frontline hospital workers. “We wanted all of the healthcare workers to know that we saw them, we still see them, and that we appreciate everything they have done for the people of Lansing, and our community since the world changed a year ago,” said Danielle. It took almost a year to actually make all of the pieces by hand. Danielle, her family, and her team at Lithic Creation were able to finish the pendants by March of 2021. They then delivered the pendants to the two Lansing hospitals at the beginning of April. Each pendant is attached to a necklace/leather neckband, and have been given along with a Thank You’ card.
With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in Michigan, these frontline healthcare workers will continue to sacrifice of themselves in an effort to combat the virus. Danielle is happy that she could give them a physical reminder that they are thought of, & appreciated. “These nurses & doctors are heroes that made themselves present in a time that is unprecedented,” said Danielle. “Those are the people that need to be celebrated.”
About Lithic Creation:
Lithic Creation is a women owned, Michigan based jewelry & precious stone business founded in 2019 by Danielle Smith, along with her parents, Steve & Robin Smith. Lithic Creation focuses on creating one of a kind jewelry from stones while providing stone work including slabs, specimens and collectables. The company provides you with information about where your piece came from, and how it was made. There is a unique story behind every piece they create. A large number of Lithic Creation’s collections consist of stones indigenous to Michigan, and they pride themselves on showcasing the beauty of their home state. They also use recycled materials, and they recycle their scrap metal back into their production creating a sustainable business that is environmentally conscious. Each piece is custom cut & custom wrapped, even if it comes from the same stone or slab, making each piece a one of a kind.
Find out more about Lithic Creation at www.lithiccreation.com/our-mission
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