Grand Haven Artwalk

10 Questions to the Artist – Denise LeClaire

2017 ArtWalk Artist - Denise LeClaire

Denise R LeClaire Denise is our 2017 ArtWalk artist.  She is a West Michigan artist and high school counselor. Denise creates collages using found paper objects such as antique sheet music, atlases, and books.  Often, she applies a photo transparency over the collage and then, paints over those layers allowing you to see or hide different components of the canvas.  This artist focuses on an idea such as belonging, forgiveness, mortality, or love. Her goal is to create a connection between people and her art with shared experiences.  All of Denise's work is personal, a combination of the ordinary and the profound.  Like a soft kiss on the forehead for no reason. In Honour of the Fact that Life is Short ArtWalk Voting Code:  Artist number - MM14. Category - Mixed Media Denise answers our "Ten Questions to the Artist" so that we can get to know her, just a little.     1. What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally? I heard a quote once, I think it was Marianne Williamson who said that the spiritual path is just the journey of living our lives and we are all on a spiritual path, sometimes we just don’t know it. I love this philosophy and feel like it falls together with my own belief in the importance of small moments, the little things that end up being the most memorable. So, it’s just everyday life that does it for me. We get to decide in the first world, what to do with our days, how we respond to life, and how we are creative; it’s a huge gift that not everyone has, that’s a pretty big turn on. 2. Do you have an influence or theme that guides your work? I think the theme is connection through common ground. I think there is a spiritual and emotional element to my work with the combination of ideas, words and photographs and I see and feel this when I talk to people about what’s drawn them to a particular piece.    3. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Travel photographer/writer 4. What profession would you not like to do? Police officer 5. Who are your favorite artists? VanGogh, O’Keefe, Gustav Klimt, Mark Rothko, Jim Dine 6. What is your favorite tool used to create your work? A “mop” brush. 7. What is your favorite word? Serendipitous 8. What is your least favorite word? Can’t think of one. 9. Who is your favorite musician? Impossible to choose. I love all kinds of music. 10. How much formal education have you received? My B.A. is in Sociology and Fine Art. I’ve taken art classes on and off my entire life including in photography, pottery, painting, drawing & collage. What I’m currently doing with regard to the combination of collage, photography, photo transfer and painting is self taught, trial and error. Thank you, Denise, for answering our questions.  Stop in to the gallery to see her exhibit. She and I will be hosting an Artist Talk beginning at 7:30 pm.  Denise will be in the gallery, Friday night, October 6, 6-9pm.      

Volunteering for ArtWalk 2016

GHAPS 4th Graders visit ArtWalk For the last three years, I have helped organize a class trip to ArtWalk for Grand Haven Area Public School’s Fourth Graders. The first year, we created chalk art tessellations with the students. In 2015, the students spent the morning looking at the Detroit Institute of Art’s traveling exhibit.  Grand Haven was one of the first towns outside of Metro Detroit to host their traveling exhibit.  We loved watching residents and visitors consider these reproductions from their collection.   The administration and teachers at Grand Haven have been wonderful to work with organizing this class trip.  It has been interesting for me to watch the teachers discuss what the students could learn from their visit to ArtWalk. What has impressed me is how collaboratively they work together to offer the best possible opportunity for our kids.  The students will view the different entries and encourage them to "See, Think, and Wonder" about art.   This year, we have decided to focus on music as an art form.  There has been a problem with suicides in the high school and bullying throughout all of the different buildings.  My friend, Susan Picking, is a singer/song-writer.  She created a new album focused on kind, positive interactions between all of us.  Susan asks us to consider that the child/adult who is quiet or loud might be wrestling with something that we have no knowledge.  We need to be kind, being different from one another is ok, even great.  Susan attended Mary A. White Elementary, is a touring musician who currently resides in Beloit Wisconsin.  She will sing and play her impactful Hip Hop ArtPrize piece, "No Bully" on Wednesday, September 28 at 12:15pm.  Art and Music are inspirational teaching tools for children that invite creativity, connection, and enthusiasm.  It utilizes all of our senses and provides access for all learning styles in getting to know our world.  

Come visit us in lovely downtown Grand Haven.


Handmade Art & Gifts

104 Washington Street
Grand Haven, MI 49417
Cyndi Casemier, Owner

Spring Hours:
Monday - Saturday: 10am - 6pm
Sundays: Noon - 5pm
First Fridays: 10am - 8pm

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