Chelsea Painters Art Fair returns in June after a two-year hiatus


By Andy Nixon, STN Reporter

In June, twenty award-winning artists will come together to exhibit and sell original artwork in all mediums including watercolor, acrylic, oil, pastel, gouache, encaustic, mosaic, colored pencil and mixed media.

Since the late 1960s, a diverse group of painters have met weekly to learn techniques, paint, and spend time with like-minded artists to develop their talents. Beginning with art classes taught by Betty Maxwell at the Chelsea Art Center (where CVS is now located), the group eventually moved beyond its studio space and expanded into the basement of what used to be the eye clinic from Chelsea Medical Center. In 1974, Betty helped establish the first art exhibition and sale in conjunction with the opening of the surgical wing at Chelsea Community Hospital. Today the group holds weekly meetings at the Washington Street Adult Education Center in Chelsea. Several past and current members of the Chelsea Painters are locally and nationally recognized.

For 38 years, the annual art fair has been held on the grounds of the Chelsea Community Hospital. While continuing to grow, the art fair moved to the Chelsea Community Fairgrounds. This year, the event is scheduled for June 11 and 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. After being postponed for two years because of the Covid, the artists are ready to appear. Located one block from Main Street, the art fair will be split between indoor and outdoor spaces with plenty of parking available. Stop to meet the artists, view their work, and take home a piece of local art.

The group has exhibited at the University of Michigan Power Center of the Performing Arts, the University of Michigan Taubman Center, the Ella Sharp Museum, and more. In today’s world, art allows us to escape and explore life through the eyes of the artist. Long-time member Janice Botsford says, “Art is an essential part of my own self-expression as I try to communicate thoughts and feelings in response to the external and internal worlds. For me, the complexity of life is always inspiring; there is always something fresh and new around the corner”.

To become a member, artists must be judged and sponsored by a current Chelsea painter. An intermediate to advanced skill level is required for all potential artists. Membership is limited to 25 painters, plus life members. Weekly meetings take place between mid-September and May. After making the cut, the members participate in workshops on various painting techniques, help each other critique each other’s work, and scout for venues to display their paintings.

Painting is a great activity that should be enjoyed by all ages. After a stressful day, nothing compares to sitting in front of a blank canvas or paper to create your masterpiece.

For more information, including artists’ biographies and work, visit: chelseapainters.com

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