You Can’t Touch A Ghost: Five Senses For A Cause

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Zelma, Orpha, and Golda Series: Rules for Women, by Leslie Sheryll, 2018,archival digital print, 38″ x 16.5″

Detroit’s contemporary art ecosystem seems to attract energetic, hardworking creatives who aren’t afraid to take on big multi-year projects that aim to fundamentally alter  Detroit’s cultural environment. Things Feel Heavy, the independent curatorial project of accomplished painter and creative entrepreneur Anna van Schaap,  is one of those ambitious and public-spirited efforts. This series of  exhibitions and events has taken place over the last decade or so, throughout the city and beyond,  in venues such as the Carr Center, the Charles H. Wright Museum and the Ann Arbor Art Center.

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Anna van Schaap at Gallery 2987

Van Schaap’s latest effort, You Can’t Touch A Ghost: Five Senses for a Cause, is a party, an art auction, a fashion show and a live musical performance that starts at 6 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, in downtown Detroit’s Gallery 2987.  It will benefit Alternatives for Girls, a highly respected and successful Detroit non-profit that provides programs and services for homeless and at-risk girls and young women. It’s a cause that is close to the artist’s heart.

She comes by her interest in women’s rights by way of her art and her life experience. “I’m heavily influenced by the Dutch masters in terms of the palette and by some of the Italian masters like Caravaggio, but in terms of conceptual influence, my work is a modernist take on women’s issues,” she explains. “A lot of my work revolves around …being silenced or eradicated–how women’s identities are tied intrinsically to their bodies, and also about language, about speaking these truths…because  we’re not allowed to vocalize our needs,  our wants, our desires outright or efficiently, we find subversive ways to communicate through body language or gestures.”

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Never Kneel by Anna van Schaap, oil on linen, 44″ x 30″

As she investigated Detroit non-profits for You Can’t Touch A Ghost to benefit, van Schaap was immediately attracted to Alternatives for Girls because it spoke directly to her concern for female empowerment.  Through extensive programs in Detroit’s public schools and shelters, Alternatives for Girls provides street outreach, educational support, vocational guidance, mentoring, prevention activities and counseling to help girls and young women make positive choices. She chose the organization “not only because they provide assistance and shelter and food and programming, but they also have a preventative element, which I think is such an important part of rearing young women, getting to them early,  before problems start. They work with girls predominantly in the younger ages, 9 or 10, all the way up to teenage mothers. This is a large program and they’ve been around for quite a while now, and their reach is pretty far at this point.”

For You Can’t Touch A Ghost, van Schaap has organized a curated exhibition and auction that features some of Detroit’s best artists, as well as music by True Blue and Electric Blanket. The $15 cover provides entrance to the exhibit and performance, as well as an open bar and hors d’oeuvres and desserts by Forte Belanger and Celebrity Catering. For more information about You Can’t Touch A Ghost or to RSVP go here. 

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Bury Me Softly (It’s lovely in the fall) by Jennifer Belair Sakarian
Participating artists: Callie Nazzpuller, Dominique Chastenet de Géryöïö, Brian Spolans, Marianetta Porter, Leslie SherylKate Hanley, K.A. Letts Erin Case, Ingrid Tietz,  Renee RialsLeanna Hicks, Jennifer Belair(Jennifer Belair Sakarian),  Catheryn Amidei, Jessica Tenbusch,  Sharon QueSarah Swarz(Sarah C. Blanchette), Michael Ross(Mike Ross), Nicki SzydloParisa Ghaderi/Ebrahim Soltani, Donna ShipmanMichael E. O’Reilly, Jill Eggers, Tali Morgolin, Jeffrey BowmanCaryn Bopp Kelly Burke, Adrian Deva, Molly Diana, Marceline MasonMeagan SheinAlison FrancoMelis AgabigumKidané A’der Jhons, Paula Marie Deubel PMari. Anna van Schaap has also created a piece specifically for the event.

 

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