Art in Public Places

Artist of the Month - June
Sharon Berkan-Dent

Sharon Berkan-Dent - Copy (4)

Saginaw Township Art in Public Places is pleased to present Sharon Berkan-Dent as the Artist of the Month for June.  Sharon's art will be on display at Saginaw Township Hall, 4980 Shattuck Rd., Saginaw, 48603, Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. thru June 28, 2024.

Artist Biography
I am a lifelong artist who has sampled a range of artistic mediums including drawing, pen & ink, paint, and textiles, which led to a focus on jewelry making that I pursued for 25 years. During that time, my jewelry was featured in a solo exhibit and published in Art Jewelry Magazine as well as the book CAST.  While teaching at The Midland Center for the Arts, I took advantage of other artists’ classes where I rediscovered my love for drawing, and developed techniques in long-form drawing with graphite mechanical pencils. I continue to create and teach jewelry, but for the past 10 years, my creative emphasis has been focused on drawing. My work has been accepted in local, regional, and international shows, as well as solo exhibits. I sell both my drawings and jewelry on my website as well as my Etsy shop.

Artist Statement
When I spend time in nature, I often feel awed by its splendor: the wide vistas, the vegetation, the change of seasons, and especially the creatures that inhabit it, both wild and domestic. Through my graphite pencil drawings, I explore this connection; the joy I sense by interacting with farm animals, the feeling of wonder in viewing deer throughout the seasons, and an ethereal bond between humans and animals.

There are three series of drawings in this collection of work, the first is “Beyond the Fence”.  During the Covid lock down, I spent many hours engaging with animals at a nearby farm, which inspired the series. Observing the deer wandering through our property in my subdivision was the foundation for "Waskevich Whitetails". The mystical bond and long-held beliefs about the symbolism of animals, their importance, and how we might apply these traits to our lives are explored in the series "Animalia".

Using a naturalist viewpoint, my drawings are formed with great attention to composition, texture, and detail. Despite their modest scale, these graphite renderings take a lot of time to complete, with each piece requiring anywhere from 40-150 hours of work using 0.2 and 0.3 mechanical pencils. Through my art, I aim to inspire a deeper appreciation for the wonders of nature and foster a sense of stewardship for the wildlife that graces our world.

State of the Arts 2024 - Award Winners

Test Winners - Copy
2024 Award Winners

Brief History of Saginaw Township Art in Public Places
On September 12, 1986, by joint resolution of the Township Board an Art in Public Places Committee was established. The Committee functions primarily to: Advise the Township Board on art and culture-related issues, promotes the display of art in public buildings, organizes the Annual State of the Arts Exhibition and selects works of art to be permanently or temporarily displayed in facilities owned by Saginaw Township.

Former Saginaw Township Manager Robert C. Homan first investigated ways in which to promote art appreciation in Saginaw Township. The Township Board appointed a committee of seven individuals with various art backgrounds to organize activities and schedule displays. The original members; Bonnie Bellinger, Patricia Shaheen, Patricia Koucky, Luther Hale, Walter Nagel Jr., Rev. David Bracklein and Marian Tincknell held their first meeting on November 13, 1986. At that first meeting they discussed the possibility of showcasing a monthly art display at the Saginaw Township Hall. During the remainder of the year and the year following, the Committee organized an art show featuring Michigan artists and their works. This annual show is now referred to as the "Annual State of the Arts Exhibition".

The Committee appointed Bonnie Bellinger as Chairperson and through her and the Committee's hard work a successful arts appreciation program was established for Saginaw Township residents. Bonnie Bellinger retired as Chairperson in 1990, but her projects live on. In 2004 the Annual State of the Arts Exhibition dedicated the exhibition to Patricia Koucky who unexpectedly passed away earlier that year.

The Committee is now Chaired by Saginaw Township Manager Brian Rombalski.

Committee members include:

  • Karen Gerhardt
  • Bob Lewis
  • Gaye Sass
  • Marion Tincknell
  • Barbara Walworth
  • Jim Kelly --Board of Trustees