Home art tour in Glen Arbor’s west end

By Jacob Wheeler
Sun editor

At first, Paul Czamanske and Lynn Uhlmann weren’t thrilled to leave the Old School gallery space in the old hardware building on Glen Arbor’s east side. Summer foot traffic was heavy, and visits to the attractive, open space sometimes planted seeds that — in at least one case — germinated into a lucrative commission job for Czamanske, who likens his upscale Underbark Furniture to “arts and crafts goes to Denmark, with a layover in Asia”.

This summer Czamanske, Uhlmann, David Westerfield and Angela Schuler all exhibit their work at, and take turns manning, the Arbor Gallery. The space is located between Ruth Conklin Gallery and the Sylvan Inn, in the building on M-109 formerly occupied by Ashmun Portrait Art. They’ve taken to calling this the “west end art district.”

“We didn’t see the advantages of this location at first,” said Uhlmann, who is most known for her paintings of trees and forests. “But the other day a family visited, and their small child looked at the art and said, ‘I like this house’.” The gallery, with its two distinct, cozy rooms, feels like an art tour through someone’s home, Uhlmann continued.

The Arbor Gallery quartet hopes to attract more tourists, window shoppers and art aficionados to Glen Arbor’s west end by holding event openings together with other galleries along M-109. They held one on July 10; another is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 14.

Czamanske was influenced by a childhood stint living in Germany, his studies at the London College of Furniture, and art fairs in California, before he moved to Michigan in 1976.

“When I was a child, my parents would spend their weekends collecting antique furniture, and some of it would be 300 years old,” Czamanske said in our 2006 feature story (GlenArborSun.com/ local-craftsman-paul-czamanske-preserves-woodworking-traditions). “I was really impressed by the fact that this furniture had survived. I’m sure that the children and grandchildren of my clients will be desiring my furniture, if not fighting over it. When I make a piece, I stand at the bench wondering what the piece will be doing 100 years from now, even 200 years from now.”

Meanwhile, Uhlmann is inspired by her favorite locations in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “The sculptural shapes of trees and lakeshore dunes have rhythmic movement, which I describe by the light and shadow present at that time of day,” she said. “I feel like the trees are a canopy of comfort,” Uhlmann offered in our 2011 feature on her (GlenArborSun.com/into-the-woods-with-painter-lynn-uhlmann). It would be neat if my paintings were to take you somewhere, for someone to want to go into that space.”

Though known for her forest depictions, Uhlmann has recently expanded her repertoire to include not just trees but the lakeshore, itself, buildings and barns. “I’m really enjoying this new imagery. I’ll probably go back into the woods, eventually.”