Sharon Sims Award given to Rita Gazdag for service

going-placescA highlight of the opening reception of the 31st Art Ambience show and sale on May 4 was the presentation of the Sharon Sims Award to member Rita Gazdag for her continuing service to the art community.

The reception, held at the Woodhaven Community Center, included the presentation of awards to winners of the group’s annual art competition, in addition to musical entertainment, drawings for gift baskets and visitation with the participating artists.

Gazdag, a Taylor resident, has attended classes at Wayne County Community College District’s Downriver Campus in Taylor. Her artistic interests have included water color, stained glass, wood burning and ceramics. The award is named for the late artist Sharon Simms, founder of Art Ambience.

Patt Slack, owner of the River’s Edge Gallery and one of several speakers at the event, said that Sims established the show to support and highlight the Downriver area as a growing cultural region.

Also addressing the gathering was the honorary chairman of the show and sale, Woodhaven Mayor Patricia Odette.

The first-place award in the competition was won by Nancy Knapp of Woodhaven, who received $500 for her pastel titled “Winding Down.”

Other winners were Michael Bollerud of Taylor, who was presented with the second-place prize and $300 for a pencil drawing, “Untitled”; and Joseph Lippo of Woodhaven, third and $100, for “Elephant Rescue, a clay sculpture depicting a family of elephants saving a young elephant.

The Artists’ Choice Award of $100 went to Ronald Mitchel of Grosse Ile  Township for his acrylic painting titled “Quince,” which also received an honorable mention.

Among other artists who received honorable mentions, along with $50, were Avenda Allen of Grosse Ile, for her oil pastel “Sasha”; MaryJo Caruana of Romulus, for an ink stippling, “Through My Eyes”; and Claudia Culp of Brownstown, for her acrylic “Vibes.”

Others were Janet Humble of Riverview, for a photograph, “Transparent Orange Slices”; and Maria Neino of Allen Park, for her acrylic, “Black & White Abstract.”

The juror for the show was Jan Brown, an award-winning abstract artist who has received many awards and accolades in her field.

Row House program set

A presentation on the Workers Row House by Tim McKay and Kathleen Mutch, representatives of Corktown Experience, is planned for 7 p.m. June 6 at the Lincoln Park Historical Museum, 1335 Southfield.

The Workers Row House is a three-unit tenement built in 1849, the oldest surviving building of its type and representative of the working-class houses that dominated Corktown and Detroit.

There is no charge for the program, which will feature slides and an exhibit on the Corktown area and the Workers Row House project.     Corktown Experience Tour Guide Lynn Lutton will provide information about tours of the area for attendees.

The 33rd annual Corktown Walking Tour, sponsored by the Corktown Historical Society, will take place on June 3. Tickets are $15 and available online at Buses will be available to transport those with tour tickets to each site. For more information, call McKay at 313-610-7810.

Coming up . . .

June 3 — Opening day of the Lincoln Park Farmers Market; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the southwest corner of Fort Street at Southfield Road; for more information, call 313-427-0443 or email

June 25 — Ford Fireworks at 9:55 p.m., celebrating 60 years of the tradition; for information about the annual Ford Fireworks Rooftop Party, with proceeds earmarked for the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation, go to, or call 313-923-7400.