After one year of operation, Art Williamston continues to grow


Prior to October 2022, Williamston didn’t have a dedicated space where local artists could display their work. There were a few galleries run by local artists who exhibited their own work and taught art classes, but the majority of creatives had to venture to other parts of Greater Lansing if they wanted their pieces to be featured in a gallery.

“Williamston has a lot of artists, a lot of really creative people, and we didn’t have any place to display anything. A woman named Michelle Eichler came up with the idea of creating an art gallery,” said Marlene Epley, a member of the Art Williamston gallery’s Board of Directors. “The Capital Area District Library is in the same building as the middle school, and there was extra space that wasn’t being used, so we got permission to use that space.”

Open the same hours as the library, the Art Williamston gallery offers a new exhibition quarterly, or about every three to four months. Some exhibitions, like its first, “Unveiling Our Heritage: Introducing Artists of Williamston,” focus on a diverse range of subject matter, mediums and styles, allowing a variety of local artists to contribute. Others, like its last two exhibitions, “Love Is in the Air” and “Autumn Gothic,” focus on a specific theme, but creators are welcome to submit pieces as long as they’re relevant.

“Our goal is to promote and display work by local artists and get people familiar with how much talent there is in Williamston. Well, in the Williamston area, because we’ve had artists from Owosso and surrounding areas display things in the past,” Epley said.

The gallery hosts an opening reception for each new exhibition on the first Saturday it’s open, which Epley said are typically well-attended.

“The first one was quite large. There were 100-and-some people there. The second one, which was the love-themed one, was almost the same. The last one had a little less, but I’m pretty sure it was because we opened it in August, and that’s vacation month,” she said.

The next exhibition, “Colors of Celebration: An Artistic Tribute to Global Holidays,” will focus on different winter holidays celebrated around the world. The opening reception, running 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 18, will be larger than usual since it’s doubling as the gallery’s first anniversary celebration.

“We’ll have a whole new display, and since it’s our first anniversary, we’re hoping to have some extra activities,” Epley said. “This isn’t positive yet, but we’re talking about possibly having a caricaturist and maybe a face painter. We have one person who’s on our board, Scott Van Allsburg, who sets up a big mat, and people coming in can contribute to it. They can use the paints that are supplied, and at the end of the day, we’ll see what we have.”

Though the receptions have been popular, Epley said the gallery’s main goal is to let as many people as possible know it exists.

“We still have a lot of people, even just in Williamston, saying, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that was there.’ And the more we get the word out, the more we can get participants from all around the area and draw in more of the local artists,” she said. “Williamston doesn’t have an art gallery. It has a history museum, but it doesn’t have many other galleries, so our goal is just awareness and participation and appreciation of what we have in the area, in terms of artistic talent.”

Community members can help with this goal in a variety of ways, Epley said.

“They can visit the gallery, we always have a suggestion box, and our board meetings are open to anyone who would like to attend and see what we’re doing. We would also love for anybody who’s an artist in town or in this area to submit their artwork to be displayed in the gallery.”

Those interested in submitting work for the upcoming holiday exhibition are encouraged to reach out to Matt Mulford at 517-485-6277 or Epley at 517-749-0352. There’s also a submission form on the gallery’s Facebook page, Typically, submissions can be entered through the gallery’s website,, but it’s under construction.

Williamston Community Schools students also have opportunities to get involved with the gallery and create art, Epley said.

“The ceiling tiles are gradually being painted by students. Every time we have a new opening, there’s another new painted ceiling tile added, which is kind of cool. We’re also going to dedicate a space on the gallery wall for student work,” she said.



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