This summer has been one of discovery for artists throughout Mid-Michigan. Thanks to the efforts of Michigan Art Share, through a grant from Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Michigan State University Extension, Urban/Rural Conversations on arts and culture have taken place in Charlotte, Detroit, Owosso, and Jackson. The culmination of those discussions takes the form of a celebration Saturday, Sept. 21 at Windwalker Underground Gallery in downtown Charlotte.

The focus of Michigan Art Share’s Urban/Rural Conversation series is to exchange art, music and creativity among some of Michigan’s urban and rural communities, said Diane Wilson, of Michigan Art Share. 

“We’ve been working on this project for about two years now,” Wilson said. “My hope is that people will find they have a lot of things in common. Despite our backgrounds, we all worry about how we’re going to make a living. When you put people in a room together and make them feel comfortable, you start to see the similarities in our thoughts, our fears, and our goals.”

The free Sept. 21 event, which takes place from 6 to 9 p.m., will feature live entertainment from Big Earn, and Kaylyn Pace and Brodberg, artwork by Detroit-based artist, Chazz Miller, photography Coley Kennedy, and free food from Firehouse BBQ.

Art can do many things. One of the most beautiful, however, is its ability to bring people together.

“We want to give artists more opportunities to go into communities where they wouldn’t normally be seen,” Wilson said. “Chazz is extremely well known in Detroit, but you get outside of that urban setting and he is not as well known. By bringing Chazz to Charlotte, he gets to meet more people, and share his art with a broader group. In return, we’ll be taking rural artists to show in Detroit as well.”

Though their backgrounds and cultures are different, Miller found a connection with Charlotte’s Richard Turbin when the two were introduced a year ago. It’s that connection Wilson feels can be shared with others in the community when people come together and realize they have more in common than they realize.

“We’re both trying to accomplish the same things with art non-profits,” Turbin said. “He took a blighted area and worked to turn it into something viable, similarly to what we’re doing at Windwalker. The educating of our younger people is something that is so important to both of us.”

For more information, find Windwalker Underground Gallery or Michigan Art Share on Facebook.