Rent the Perfect Place Setting
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S PE C I A L I S S U E
Our annual collection of unseen images
Annual Holiday Gift Guide
Meet Kristen Chesak
Southwest Michiganâ€™s Magazine
You can’t have EQUITY without
Every individual in Kalamazoo deserves the opportunity to provide a livelihood for their family, which includes high quality education and care for their children, a safe and affordable home, and the ability to earn a living — no matter zip code, race or gender. Kalamazoo Community Foundation envisions our county as the most equitable place to live, with the mission to remove barriers so people can reach full potential. We support many Kalamazoo County nonprofit partners’ projects and initiatives focused on education, housing, healthcare and many more.
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Welcome to Friendship Village, the senior living community connecting you to great friends, good health, active living and personal well-being since 1975. Our Life Plan community offers you the options you desire: The Village Independent Living Apartment and Garden Homes
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EDITOR'S NOTE ENCORE
From the Editor O
ur staff truly enjoys putting together December’s “Revealed” issue, featuring unpublished photos from the stories we printed throughout the year. It’s a chance to reflect on the wonderful content we’ve had the privilege of bringing our readers. Just a look at the cover stories for 2019 shows the diversity and breadth of the stories Encore brings readers in 12 months. There’s the serious, such as dynamic development projects that are changing the landscape of downtown Kalamazoo and transforming a former paper mill in Vicksburg and efforts to decrease gun violence in our community. There are lighter features about owning a resort, being involved in Kalamazoo’s esports culture and how to see your town like a tourist. And there’s exploration of the diversity of our community, such as the contributions of African-American artists in the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts’ Where We Stand exhibition and a look at our area’s indigenous roots. At the heart of all of these stories are people. Not just the people who allow us to tell their stories, but the people who tell the stories with their words and images. It takes a true team to put together a magazine. Encore’s writers are some of the finest journalists in the area, and we consider ourselves fortunate to have them share their talents with us. Our photographers, particularly Brian K. Powers, embrace every opportunity to create images that are beautiful, meaningful and insightful. Our designer, Alexis Stubelt, weaves all these words and pictures into layouts that readers enjoy looking at over and over. Behind the scenes are the tireless efforts of our calendar editor, Hope Smith, and our copy editor and poetry editor, Margaret DeRitter. They are the reason why Encore has the one of the area’s most comprehensive events calendars, stories that sparkle and poetry that resonates. We hope you enjoy our December issue and, like us, appreciate the talented people that make Encore happen.
A law firm focusing on estate planning, estate settlement, and the transfer of wealth.
William B. Millard • Ean P. Hamilton • Michael D. Holmes Michele C. Marquardt • Charles S. Ofstein 4 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
211 East Water Street, Suite 401 Kalamazoo 269.343.2106 dementandmarquardt.com
Rent the Perfect Place Setting
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Annual Holiday Gift Guide
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Southwest Michiganâ€™s Magazine
SP E CI A L I SSUE
Our annual collection of unseen images
encore publications, inc.
Photographer brian k. powers
jordan bradley, lisa mackinder
Copy Editor/Poetry Editor margaret deritter
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Kalamazoo | Grand Rapids | Paw Paw | (888) 461- 7744 | www.willis.law
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Encore Magazine is published 12 times yearly. Copyright 2019, Encore Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Editorial, circulation and advertising correspondence should be sent to:
www.encorekalamazoo.com 117 W. Cedar St. Suite A, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 Telephone: (269) 383-4433 Fax: (269) 383-9767 Email: Publisher@encorekalamazoo.com The staff at Encore welcomes written comment from readers, and articles and poems for submission with no obligation to print or return them. To learn more about us or to comment, visit encorekalamazoo.com. Encore subscription rates: one year $36, two years $70. Current single issue and newsstand $4, $10 by mail. Back issues $6, $12 by mail. Advertising rates on request. Closing date for space is 28 days prior to publication date. Final date for print-ready copy is 21 days prior to publication date. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by those interviewed and published here do not reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of Encore Magazine or the official policies, owners or employees of Encore Publications.
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This is what 99% client retention looks like.
When a wealth management firm has 99% client retention—as Greenleaf Trust does—you have the time to earn your clients’ trust. And to learn their needs and desires, and what they want their wealth to ultimately enable. Greenleaf Trust integrates ROI strategically with tax planning, risk mitigation, cash flow, retirement, estate planning, trusts, and charitable giving, all the while putting our clients’ best interests at the center of every decision. It’s the reason we have a 20+ year history of fiduciary excellence and have grown to $14 billion in assets under advisement—and why clients stay with us. Call us with your questions; you’ll like our answers. Client relationships begin at $2 million.
211 South Rose Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 269.388.9800 greenleaftrust.com 6 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
Beautiful images from this year’s Encore stories that didn’t make the page, with a few outtakes thrown in for fun
DEPARTMENTS From the Editor 4 Contributors 8 Up Front
First Things — Happenings and events in SW Michigan
2019 Gift Guide — Holiday options for everyone on your list
Sobriety Safe Haven — Women in recovery find support at Healthy House
Settings to Go — Delicate Dishes provides settings to make a meal memorable
Meet Kristen Chesak — This art lover is launching a new era at the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo
ARTS 38 Events of Note
On the Cover: A view of the scaffolding surrounding the Gibson smokestack is visible through windows at the former Gibson Guitar Factory. Encore’s January 2019 issue explored Plaza Corp.’s work on renovating the historic site. Photo by Brian K. Powers.
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For this issue, Jordan spoke with Pamela Coffey about her work in the Kalamazoo community helping people overcome addictions. Coffey founded Healthy House for Women to help women in need of stability create new, healthier patterns of behavior for themselves. "Pam has this wonderful way of creating an atmosphere of healing and growth, but she gives out the tough love too," Jordan says. “Her personal journey to sobriety speaks for itself, but the fact that she works so hard to help others succeed is just awesome.” Jordan is a former editorial assistant for Encore. She's currently living in the New Mexico desert, working as a reporter at The Gallup Independent.
For her Enterprise story in this issue, Lisa spoke with the owner of Delicate Dishes, a Kalamazoo-based company that provides vintage china, ivory china, vintage glassware, serving pieces and flatware rentals for small or large event. “It doesn’t take long when speaking with Kirsten Smith to discover that she truly cares about her customers,” Lisa says. Smith started the business in 2015 after throwing a tea party at her church, and Delicate Dishes quickly became a hit. “Besides offering beautiful dishes and displaying artistic ability, Kirsten has a personable nature that I think goes a long way in making her business a success,” Lisa says. Read more of Lisa’s writing, including updates on subjects she’s written about for Encore, at lisamackinder.com.
Brian K. Powers
Brian has created photos and images for Encore since 2014. A lifelong Kalamazoo resident, Brian says he enjoys using his skills to let others see our community in new and beautiful ways. He admits that when we dig up the photos we want to use in the annual "Revealed" issue, he has often forgotten he even took them. “It’s always a surprise to me what we find,” he admits. In addition to taking photos for Encore, Brian shoots for clients that include Hour Media, Bronson Healthcare and the University of Michigan. To see more of Brian’s work, visit briankpowers.com.
Lew i s Reed & Allen P . C. a ttorneys
Front row, center: Richard D. Reed Middle Row (L-R): Stephen M. Denenfeld, Vernon Bennett III, James M. Marquardt, Jennifer Wu, Michael A. Dombos, Michael A. Shields, Owen D. Ramey, Kimberly L. Swinehart Back Row (L-R): Gregory G. St. Arnauld, Thomas C. Richardson, Joseph W. Vander Horst, Michael B. Ortega, David A. Lewis, Jonthan J. Vander Horst, Ronald W. Ryan 136 east michigan avenue suite 800 | kalamazoo
| michigan | 49007-3947
phone: 269.388.7600 | fax: 269.349.3831 www.lewisreedallen.com
8 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
First Things Something Extravagant
Old 97’s put on holiday show at Bell’s When the Old 97’s bring their Holiday Hoopla to Bell’s Eccentric Café Dec. 13, it’ll be a gift that keeps on giving. Not only will the show feature the four-man band that emerged from Dallas 20 years ago blending rootsy, country-influenced songwriting with punk-rock energy and delivery, but it will also include a solo acoustic set by the band’s frontman, Rhett Miller, and a performance by magician Michael Casey. You must be 21 or older to attend, and doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 o’clock show. Tickets are $28 in advance, $30 the week of show and $35 the day of the show. For tickets or more information, visit bit.ly/2pFxniy.
Take in the sounds of the season Do yourself a huge holiday favor: turn off the all-Christmas all-day radio station and go to two live performances of classical holiday music. On Dec. 8, the Bach Festival Chorus and the Western Brass Quintet will perform a holiday concert at Stetson Chapel, on the Kalamazoo College campus. The performance begins at 4 p.m. Tickets are $5-$28 and available at kalamazoobachfestival.tix.com. On Dec. 13, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra will perform holiday music at 8 p.m. at Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave. The program will feature Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, Part 1; Tchaikovsky’s Overture from the Nutcracker Suite; and additional holiday favorites. Special guests include the Bach Festival Chorus and Kalamazoo Children’s Chorus. Tickets are $24–$60 and are available at kalamazoosymphony.com. Bach Festival Chorus
10 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Jersey Boys be-bops into Miller You know their music, but do you know the inside story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons? Find out when the Tony- and Grammy-winning Jersey Boys comes to Miller Auditorium Jan. 15-16. The musical reveals how four guys went from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While their harmonies were perfect on stage, offstage it was a very different story. Because the show contains authentic, "profane Jersey language," it is recommended for ages 12 and older. Encore readers have an exclusive opportunity to receive 15 percent off tickets. This offer is not valid on previously purchased tickets and cannot be combined with other offers. To purchase tickets at a discount, visit millerauditorium.com/encore.
Community invited to Chanukah party Enjoy an afternoon of live music, latkes, jelly doughnuts and a dreidel competition at the Congregation of Mosesâ€™ community-wide Chanukah party, set for 3-5 p.m. Dec. 15 at CityScape Event Centre, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall. The suggested donation for the party is $5 for individuals or $10 for families. RSVP for the Chanukah Party at congregationofmoses.org. If you have questions, contact Sharon Kaufman at programdirector@ congregationofmoses.org.
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FIRST THINGS ENCORE
Spend time with soccer pro Brandon Bye, the former Portage Northern and Western Michigan University soccer standout and current player for the New England Revolution professional soccer team, will show his mad skills on the field and talk about his journey to Major League Soccer at 6 p.m. Dec. 9 at Kingdom Sports, 8151 Merchant Place, in Portage. Only 300 tickets are available for the event, titled Celebrating Our Present/Impacting our Future: An Evening with Brandon Bye. It’s a fundraiser for Kingdom Kids, an organization offering organized sports opportunities to disadvantaged youth. The evening will include a question-and-answer session as well as an opportunity to get Bye’s autograph. Tickets are $25 and are available at bit.ly/2JNj0zF.
Depression and anxiety can be overwhelming. It’s like your world is turned upside down. Our Psychiatric Urgent Care Center is open daily and walk-ins are encouraged. Visit our expertly trained clinicians to start your road to recovery today.
12 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
PineRest.org/Urgent • 616.455.9200
ENCORE FIRST THINGS
Learn to make a gingerbread house
Fair features locally made wares If your past attempts at a gingerbread house ended up looking more like a gingerbread shack or if you just want a fun holiday activity for your family, check out the Gingerbread House Workshop offered Dec. 14 by Portage Parks and Recreation at Shrier Park, 850 W. Osterhout Ave. There will be are two sessions, from 1-2 p.m. and 4-5 p.m., and supplies are provided. The cost is $40 per gingerbread house, and participants must register by Dec. 2. To register or for more information, visit mypark.portagemi.gov and click on “Recreation Activities & Facility Rentals.”
Looking for a gift that’s a little bit unusual but a lot local? Then head over to the Buy Local Art & Gift Fair, running from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 7 at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. More than 50 artists will participate, and the wares will include paintings, glass art, ceramics, jewelry and fiber arts. Artisanal food will also be available. Admission to the center and the art fair is free that day. For more information, visit naturecenter.org/buylocal.
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Quality. Attainable. Life-Changing.
FIRST THINGS ENCORE
The HBA of Western Michigan is proud to present the Kalamazoo Attainable Homes Partnership (KAHP). KAHP exemplifies what the HBA is all about.... Building Homes and Strengthening Communities. HBA members believe returning new, quality, attainable single-family homes to Kalamazoo’s underserved neighborhoods will result in positive impacts for the neighborhoods and the residents for generations to come.
Learn more about this long-term initiative and our partners at:
Home Builders Association of Western Michigan 5700 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo MI 49009 269.375.4225 • www.hbawmi.com
14 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
Welcome 2020 at New Year’s Fest
With everything from music, magic and comedy to fireworks and food, New Year’s Fest in downtown Kalamazoo on Dec. 31 pretty much has something for everyone. This annual event, running from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, bills itself as “an all-ages showcase of performing arts” and offers dozens of performances. It concludes at midnight with a ball drop and fireworks. Participants must have a New Year’s Fest button in order to attend performances. Buttons go on sale beginning Dec. 15 at various retailers and are $7. They can also be purchased the day of the event for $10. For more information, including locations where you can purchase buttons, visit newyearsfest.com.
Tulips Little Pop Up Shop 2036 Parkview Ave. • 269.459.6481 Like us on Instagram and Facebook
’Tis the time for giving and Tulips has just what you are looking for. Fabulous apparel, beautiful accessories and unique gift ideas that will be sure to make the holidays bright!
Kalamazoo Nature Center 7000 N. Westnedge Ave. 269.381.1574 • naturecenter.org
Give the Gift of Nature this holiday season! Select a KNC gift membership, animal adoption, or gift certificate. Explore the Trailhead Gifts & Books shop in the KNC Visitor Center, where you'll find something for everyone on your list!
3217 Blue Star Highway, Saugatuck 269.883.0080 • massabody.com Massa Body merges expansive clinical knowledge with intuitive touch to deliver outstanding massage, detoxification and biofield-tuning experiences. We also feature Access BARS, infrared sauna, small-batch lotions, scrubs and tinctures, all in picturesque Saugatuck.
Genesis Fitness and Wellness
205.433.9377 • genesisfitwell.com
Health and fitness is the best gift you can give to those most important to you. Have our certified trainers come to the comfort of your own home and start a healthier 2020!
Reclaimed Home Decor
5949 Lovers Lane, Portage • 269.775.1015 facebook.com/reclaimedportagemi/
Reclaimed Home Decor — a unique store offering carefully selected, one-of-a-kind finds. Featuring mid-century, modern decorating items, furniture, bar-ware and more! Open TuesdayFriday 10-5:30 and Saturday 10-4.
Nature Connection 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall 269.567.2873 • natureconnect.com
Celebrate the holidays with a special gift from our carefully selected inventory of Michigan foods, local art and unique nature-inspired gifts. Plus Jellycats for that special child in your life! w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 15
2019 Binder Park Zoo
7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek 269.979.1351 • binderparkzoo.org They'll "go wild and go often" with a gift membership to Binder Park Zoo! Memberships start at $55 for an entire season of zoo fun, with many perks. Order online at binderparkzoo.org for a Merry Christmas and Happy Zoo Year!
4205 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo 269.384.2170 • elinaorganics.com National award-winning, handmade organic, clinical skin care products and services made in Kalamazoo. Voted best facial of Chicago by Chicago Magazine and Best Facial for Glowing Skin by CS Magazine.
Green Door Distilling Co. 429 E. North St. 269.205.3398 • greendoordistilling.com
We know you'll be drinking over the holidays, so why not drink our local spirits! Plenty of gift options under $25; pints, fifths and other merchandise. Visit with your family and show off Kalamazoo's first distillery to open since 1858.
214 S. Kalamazoo Mall 269.342.5996 • gazellesports.com ’Tis the season for Merry Movement! Find the perfect shoe, boot, and apparel to keep you warm and cozy at Gazelle Sports — Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Holland, Northville and Birmingham. Or at gazellesports.com.
Kazoo Books Stewart & Company
472 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo 269.343.4689 • stewartandcompanyfurniture.com
Our locally owned home furnishing store serving customers since 1941 provides high quality merchandise and design service. Visit our downtown Kalamazoo showroom for a variety of styles, sizes and prices.
16 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
2413 Parkview Ave. 269.553.6506 • kazoobooks.com
Visit us for a unique bookstore experience. Check out our new titles, bestsellers and used books. We enjoy highlighting regional authors and are bigger on the inside, offering space for programs and meetings.
Design 1 Salon Spa 212 W. Milham Ave., Portage 616.301.1400 • design1.com
Gift giving has never been easier. Whether it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, or anniversary, Design 1 Gift Cards are the perfect gift! They’re available in any denomination and can be used toward any of our world-class services or spa packages.
Floor Coverings International
2982 Business One Drive • 269.271.8418 kalamazoo.floorcoveringsinternational.com
We bring the shopping experience to your home. We provide and manage the installers and warranty both product and installation. We treat your home as if it were our own!
The Pantry on Tap
7634 S. Westnedge Ave., Portage 269.978.6641 • thepantryontap.com Add some flavor to your life! The Pantry On Tap is a gourmet store featuring olive oils, balsamic vinegars, dips, spices and unique gifts to bring out your inner chef. Proud member of Buy Local Kalamazoo.
Masonry Heater Design House
269.598.5831 • email@example.com MasonryHeaterDesignHouse.com With 20 years of experience, Masonry Heater Design House provides installation, design and consulting services for anyone considering a masonry heater. Licensed and insured in the state of Michigan.
Air Zoo – Aerospace & Science Experience
3021 Oakland Drive 269.341.4444 • @initialattraction Established in 2004, Initial Attraction has been helping holiday shoppers with gracious giving and stylish living for over 14 years. Where trend meets tradition, you'll find a diverse array of gift, apparel, tabletop and custom offerings for giving and home.
6151 Portage Road, Portage 269.382.6555 • airzoo.org
Need a one-of-a-kind gift that EVERYONE will enjoy? The Air Zoo is a Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace and science center rich in history, adventure, imagination and discovery. Give a gift that is simply beyond extraordinary! Open 360+ days a yearl w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 17
2019 V & A Bootery
Downtown Kalamazoo – 269.345.0107 Southland Mall, Portage – 269.323.9888
Shoes that fit your life! V & A Bootery carries the brands you love and the comfort and style you deserve. UGG, Merrell, ECCO and Sorel are but a few of our functional and fashionable footwear.
Confections With Convictions 116 W. Crosstown Pkwy. 269.381.9700 • confectionswithconvictions.com
Delicious fair trade, organic chocolates handmade by young people who are overcoming barriers and making a new beginning.
Willow Day Spa and Skin Care Center
440 W. Centre Ave., Portage 269.345.1356 • mywillowdayspa.com Our skin care specialists pamper you in a relaxing day spa atmosphere. Locally owned, advanced treatments and a board-certified physician serving Kalamazoo-Portage for over 10 years.
1609 Whites Road (inside Kalamazoo Country Club) 269.344.0752 • Facebook & Instagram: Horton’s Haberdashery
Horton’s Haberdashery is a lifestyle clothing store that offers a personalized shopping experience. Offering a full selection of men’s and women’s apparel from brands such as lululemon, Johnnie-O, Vineyard Vines, Peter Millar and more. Stop by today!
Earthly Delights at Amy Zane
132 S. Kalamazoo Mall 269.459.1409 • amyzane.com
Looking for unique art or jewelry for the perfect gift? Or perhaps a special article of clothing for the holidays? Look no further. We feature casual, personal couture for you, your home and that special someone.
18 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
Noteworthy Invitations 8801 N. 32nd Street, Richland 269.203.5853 • noteworthybydesign.com
Looking for noteworthy stocking stuffers this holiday season? Shop local for a beautifully curated selection of gifts, home decor, custom invitations, personalized stationery and more!
Tempo Vino Winery
260 E. Michigan Ave. 269.342.WINE • tempovinowinery.com
Looking for a white Christmas? Maybe you prefer red? "I've Got a Gal in Kalamazoo" handcrafted Red and White Wines will ensure you or a loved one get into the holiday spirit! Wine tasting and personalized wine labels available.
Visit Our New Location — 101 S. Kalamazoo Mall • 269.998.7339 Be 1 of 3 lucky winners to win the Golden Ticket inside Kalamazoo's Winnie Wink Bar at participating downtown shops. Each candy bar sold benefits Loaves & Fishes. Grand Prizes include dinner, movie, chocolate for a year and $100.00 Downtown Bucks!!
The Spirit of Kalamazoo 154 S. Kalamazoo Mall 269.382.6249 • spiritofkalamazoo.com
Holiday shopping is easily accomplished for everyone when you shop at The Spirit of Kalamazoo! A wide assortment of gifts featuring Kalamazoo or the state of Michigan will appeal to all the friends and relatives on your gift list!
434 S. Burdick St. • 269.345.6566 Custom picture framing and design at its best. A special gift that will last a lifetime and more!
124 S. Kalamazoo Mall 269.345.3302 • lanasfashionboutique.com
Lana’s has you covered for all your gift-giving needs this season! Find unique, exclusive gifts and clothing for yourself or anyone on your list. Locally owned for 15 years, Lana’s continues to offer an unparalleled shopping experience to be remembered.
125 S. Kalamazoo Mall. 269.888.2588 • rocketfizz.com Stop in to Rocket Fizz for stocking stuffers, retro candy, glass bottle sodas, tin signs, gifts, super silliness and so much more! On the Mall, next to The Union.
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GOOD WORKS ENCORE
Safe Haven for Sobriety
Women in recovery find support at Healthy House by
verything about Healthy House for Women feels like a home. Each room is painted a different trendy color — blues, grays, purples. White trim adds a clean, classic touch. The ceilings are high, and there is plenty of natural light. One glance at the couches in the living room and you know you’re going to sink into them in the best way. The seven women who live here share chores, cook together, gossip about the men they’re seeing or want to be seeing, complain about the coffee. But Healthy House is more than just a house; it’s a space for women in recovery from addiction and trauma. Pamela Coffey, founder and executive director of Healthy House, greets you warmly as you step into the dwelling that she and her husband, Patrick, renovated in Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood. Despite her small stature, her personality fills the foyer as she guides you toward the kitchen. She’s trying to find the best place to talk but deems the kitchen unsuitable because a woman is working on a job application and she doesn’t want to interrupt her. Coffey leads you through French doors to the living room. “We created this house for women to have a safe place to come to when they were ready to start their journey over,” Coffey says, sitting on the couch with Stacy and Ella, two women currently living in the house. When the Coffeys bought the fivebedroom house in 2014, they intended to fix it up and turn it into a rental home, but during the renovation process, Coffey says, she felt a call to use the house for a different purpose: as a structured environment in which women in recovery from addiction and trauma could heal. So she started a nonprofit organization and called the home Healthy House for Women. 20 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
ENCORE GOOD WORKS
Although addiction recovery programs don’t welcome relapses, they do concede that relapses are sometimes part of the road to recovery, she says. Coffey, however, has never relapsed. “I stayed clean from the first time, so that’s why I know you can do it,” she says. “And is it gonna be easy all the way? Absolutely not. You put the hard work in first, and then it gets easier and easier.” To Coffey and the women at Healthy House, the “hard work” is slowing down and adjusting to a structured lifestyle, learning to ask for help, being honest with housemates and therapists about urges to use alcohol or drugs, creating realistic goals, implementing practical steps to reach those goals, avoiding environments and people that aren’t conducive to successful recovery, and creating healthy emotional and psychological boundaries.
The screening process She wanted to help women ages 18 to 65 who are at risk of homelessness because she knows from personal experience the struggles women sometimes go through. She lived with active addiction for 25 years, until her daughter became a ward of the state because of it. Coffey was court-ordered to enter a rehab facility in 1996 in Kalamazoo, and when her 28-day stay was over, she immediately started making many lifestyle changes and aligning herself with other women who were successfully staying clean. She knows firsthand how difficult it is to find safe spaces for sober living when you’re right out of rehab. When Coffey was freshly clean, she moved into an apartment with a couple of other women she had met in recovery. But when she came home within the first week to find her roommates getting high, she knew she needed to move into a better neighborhood for her daughter, Yolonda, then just four years old. But her credit was bad, and the idea of being rejected from nicer apartment complexes made her feel shame. In a conversation with a member of her church about her dilemma, his response was, “Make people tell you 'no.'” “That just freed me up,” she says. “When somebody tells you ‘no,’ it’s not the end of the world. You just ask the next person. Prior to that, I thought ‘no’ brought shame. You get all of the ‘no’s out of the way so you can get to the ‘yes’es.”
In Healthy House’s first year and a half, Coffey operated it with money from her own pocket, but she has since been able to run the house on donations and grants. The women don’t pay rent. Many of the women come to Healthy House through Southwest Michigan
Opposite page: Executive Director Pamela Coffey sits in the living room of Healthy House, which she founded. This page: A safe place for women to recover from addiction and trauma, Healthy House is designed to offer a comfortable, home-like atmosphere.
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Behavioral Health’s programs and services. Coffey’s professional consulting company also has a contract with the Michigan Department of Re-Entry for Women with Special Needs. Coffey began welcoming women into Healthy House in June 2015. She welcomed every woman who applied for residency but quickly found that she needed a better screening process, since the women were not adhering to the house rules consistently enough. She changed tactics and instead had potential residents interview with a panel of board members that made more objective decisions about acceptance into or denial from the house. “It’s worked out so much better than me sitting across the table from a woman, and I just want to see her change her life, whether she wants to do it or not,” Coffey says. “A lot of people want to get off the streets for a little bit, but I want to get to the women who really want to have a safe place and want to start over.” Ella, a current Healthy House resident, says Coffey is very caring. “She’s got a heart as big as Kalamazoo, and she genuinely cares about each and every one of us,” she says. “She hurts when we hurt. She’s fantastic. God works through her very well.”
Enough time to succeed The women coming into the house have already become sober through treatment programs, but part of the reason Coffey opened Healthy House was because she felt that a lot of the programs didn’t give women enough time to adjust to their new lifestyles. A typical stay in a rehab facility runs from 14 to 21 days, but in order to build a stronger foundation with which to move forward in sobriety successfully, they need more time, Coffey says. In their first 30 days, the women staying in Coffey’s Healthy House are expected to relax. Coffey requires that they slow down, attend five meetings per week and therapy appointments in order to create a new routine and a strong foundation. She doesn’t 22 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
GOOD WORKS ENCORE
want them looking for work within the first two weeks. But she notices that the first 30 days are also “the hardest part for most of the women.” “The first 30 days you’re on restriction, and restriction looks like curfew at 9 o’clock,” Coffey says. “You can only go to outpatient treatment, therapy appointments, meetings and doctor’s visits. All the other times you have to be in the house.” Towels and bed linens are provided, but food is usually not, although Coffey sometimes buys healthy food like organic pasta for the women. “I used to buy all the food,” Coffey says. “Then I stopped because they got to learn how to buy food for themselves. ’Cause when we’re getting high, that (the drug) is all we focus on. We don’t focus on food. That’s a lie. That is our food. It becomes our food, that drug.” At the height of her addiction, one resident, Sam, had isolated herself for two years, hardly leaving her house. “I’m thankful for this house because I didn’t realize how life can get you like this,” says Sam, 29. “I’m not
really scared about it, but I’m just thankful that I can be eased back into this.” Sam arrived at Healthy House in midJune. She says she understands why the first month of her stay was structured the way it was, though she didn’t like it at first. Ella, who also came to the house in mid-June, has a similar viewpoint. “Before (getting sober) it was so chaotic,” she says. “Our life was just whatever. Scheduling and structure are really key.” The women who enter Healthy House through Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health programs are provided funding to stay for 90 days, while those in the prisoner re-entry program are able to stay for six months. But Coffey says that as long as the women are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, she allows them to stay as long as necessary. She is working to get funding to help cover the cost of women staying longer than the 90 days of the SWMBH program. “‘I’m not going to put you out.’ That’s her quote,” says Healthy House resident Stacy. “We really appreciate that!”
ENCORE GOOD WORKS
Coffey talks to the women about using their resources. “It’s all about connecting to the right person,” she says. She advises them to pick up tools for staying sober from other women who have more years of sobriety under their belts. “Just because you think about using doesn’t mean you have to act on it,” she says. She also urges the women to eat healthily and exercise and especially to look out for each other and ask for help.
“It’s hard to ask,” Sam says. “We don’t know how to ask, but then (Coffey tells us) how to ask a few more times because the first time you’re not going to be able to get your answer.”
One-strike policy Coffey checks in with all the women on a weekly basis, though much of the support within the house is provided by the women
Above: Pamela Coffey, second from left, talks with Healthy House residents Michelle, far left, and, from Coffey’s left, Ella, Stacy and Chanel. Right: A sign offers encouragement to the home’s residents.
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themselves. However, if a woman violates the rules, she’s out. Coffey has a one-strike policy. “When I come around them, it’s not like they need to be fearful. We talk about everything,” she says. “But when the rules are broken, I’ll come in and say, ‘You have 30 minutes to pack your things,’ when I feel like somebody is compromising the house.” Coffey is tough on the women, but she doesn’t like to write them off when they have relapses. She says she’s still in contact with some of the women who have broken house rules and been kicked out. During a conversation among a small group of the Healthy House women, a couple of past residents are described as “bad apples” and Coffey is quick to correct that description. “They weren’t ready,” she replies firmly. “I don’t like to say that. They not ready yet.”
Active community members After the first 30 days, the women at Healthy House are expected to find jobs, volunteer, or return to school — essentially become active members of the community in a new and healthy way. “The women who come here, they will serve the community. They will go back and they’ll help other women because they know what got them here,” Coffey says. “Even just bringing a woman off the streets into our house, she becomes a productive member of society. She gets a job. She starts paying bills. So that’s an asset to our community. And to have women doing that says that we are in a community that can heal.” Since the opening of Healthy House, 91 women have stayed there and 60 percent of them have completed the program successfully. Coffey says that she’s just getting into the “sweet spot with the house, knowing what it needs, knowing what the women need and allowing them to be themselves. It’s good work. I feel very honored to be able to serve.” As much as Coffey loves working with women (she was a hairstylist for 35 years), she says that she does this work for the children of the women in her care. “Stronger parents mean healthier children —women who can show up in their kids’ lives and children who can be proud of their moms.”
REVEALED Images too good to keep to ourselves photography by
BRIAN K. POWERS
So many photos, so few pages. Here we share with you some of
the beautiful images captured during the year for Encore stories, but that didn’t make it into print. Rather than let these pieces of eye candy languish forever in an archive, we are bringing them to light for our third annual Revealed issue. We think you’ll agree that these images are just too good not to share. This page: Gemstones and geodes on display at the Kalamazoo Geological and Mineral Society’s annual Rock, Gem, Fossil and Mineral Show at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center (May 2019).
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Clockwise from top left: The sun shining on the historic Kalamazoo Building downtown would soon be blocked by the rise of The Exchange building, a new multistory building constructed next door (Jan. 2019); black historian and cowboy lover Murphy Darden (Feb. 2019); the colors of a mural in the Vine neighborhood are reflected in a puddle (July 2019); gaming computers await players at WMUâ€™s esports arena (April 2019); and a boy looks in at a display of rocks and fossils at the Schmaltz Museum of Earth History (Sept. 2019).
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Clockwise from top left: A jar provides a rustic dĂŠcor element in the Blodgett Wedding Barn (July 2019); Ben Martin amidst the hemp plants he grows on his Soil Friends farm (Oct. 2019); scaffolding around the historic Gibson smokestack is just part of the renovation of the former Gibson Guitar factory (Jan. 2019); the wooden frame for a canoe being handcrafted by Cary Mannaberg of Gun River Wooden Watercraft (July 2019); and a fireball engulfs a car at the Kalamazoo Speedway during a track safety training event (Aug. 2019).
28 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
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Clockwise from top left: Surrounded by rolls of wallpaper, paper-ripping artist Renae Baumgart works in her Plainwell studio (Jan. 2019); water cascades below the Gull Lake Dam (Sept. 2019); an old bike outside the Blodgett Wedding Barn (July 2019); and some of the ingredients Jeannie Sanders uses to create her custom Sandershire Seasonings blends (Jan. 2019).
30 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
From top: Pastor Roger Ulman of Calvary Chapel of Kalamazoo Valley, left, shares a laugh with Kalamazoo Public Safety Officer Alford before they head out on patrol together (Nov. 2019); the arm of a crash test dummy has become detached from the rest of its body during a simulation of a race car crashing into the crowd (the body is under the simulation car) (Aug. 2019); and Chris Moore says when the sun rises on the former Vicksburg paper mill, it resembles The Parthenon (Oct. 2019).
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Settings to Go
Delicate Dishes provides settings to make a meal memorable story by
s Kirsten Smith scrolled through Pinterest one day, she noticed pictures of china that a California company rents out for tea parties and events, and it inspired her to do something: collect china and put on a tea party for women at church, some of whom were in recovery from drugs or alcohol and others who couldn’t afford such an occasion. “I wanted to do a fancy ladies’ tea so that people could feel special — because God treasures them,” Smith says. “I wanted them to know how much they are treasured.” After that tea party, Smith became motivated to do something else with the china pieces from the tea party, realizing that renting them out could turn into a business. When Smith expressed this business idea to her husband, Scott Smith, she recalls him asking, “Is that a thing?”
32 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
She told him about the company in California and did research to uncover local market potential. “He’s like, ‘Go for it,’” Smith says, so in 2015 she launched Delicate Dishes, a Kalamazoo company that provides vintage china, ivory china, vintage glassware, serving pieces and flatware rentals for small or large events.
As fate would have it Smith has always admired china. As a child, she would gaze into her mother’s corner china cabinet, especially at one teacup in particular that didn’t match any of the other dishes. So in 2015, Below: Teapots and teacups stand ready for a high tea or special tea event. Center: Kirsten Smith created her business, Delicate Dishes, to rent vintage china, glassware and flatware for special events. Far right: Smith has several china patterns available, including this one.
when Smith sought china for launching her business, it seems fitting that the first pieces she discovered and purchased had the exact same pattern as that teacup. “I happened to be in a store that had a teacup that looked like that one pattern that my mom had,” Smith says, “so I bought it. And then I found another one. And then I found a plate in the same pattern.” After that, things fell into place easily. In October 2016, Smith launched her website, delicatedishes.com, and “right off the bat” professional photographers started calling. The photographers, including Sandra Vue, of DreamBox Photography, in Grand Rapids, wanted to use her dishes for styled photo shoots. After visiting France, Smith says, Vue had an idea for a Marie Antoinette-styled wedding shoot. “So she came back (from France) and she was looking for things and she saw my dishes and said, ‘I think your dishes would lend well for this,’” Smith says. Photographers give credit to those who provide items in photos, and word spread about Delicate Dishes. The professionalquality photographs of her pieces attracted attention because “people are so visual,” Smith says.
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“I just feel so unbelievably fortunate that they (photographers) chose to ask me,” she says. Shopping at thrift stories like Goodwill and Salvation Army, online at Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, and at estate sales, Smith nabbed dishes at affordable prices when people weren’t interested in owning china anymore. That situation has since changed. “Those same sets that I could get for somewhere between $25 and $75 are now starting at $150 up to $400, $500 dollars because people are now interested in them again,” Smith says. “Just like the colored goblets. Before, Goodwill practically couldn’t give them away because nobody wanted them. Now they’re selling for $5 per goblet, where before they were 50 cents.”
Look West…. To anticipate what future customers want, Kirsten Smith watches wedding trends in California and Texas. Trends start there first, she explains, and then slowly head to the rest of the country. Weddings in those states have switched from rustic to glamorous, using crystal and fancy china. “Even in a barn it was more like barn glam instead of shabby chic,” she says. That trend is just starting to hit Michigan, Smith says. “You still have the farm tables — the wood ones — but you’re mixing it with fancy goblets and fancy dishes,” she says. “People are into doughnuts now,” she says. “I did a doughnut bar last year where we had a big cut-glasslooking serving plate and stands in the back. It was tiered and full of doughnuts.”
The same thing goes for doilies. Her husband’s co-worker received a box of them from a relative. Smith purchased it for $5. “Now it’s hard to find doilies,” she says. When she bought dish sets, they often came with serving pieces, and Smith wondered if she should get rid of them. Her first wedding provided the answer. The bride wanted a family-style dinner and asked, “Do you have platters and serving bowls?” 34 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
“We had to work with the caterer, and we had to have those things set up so they were not only using serving pieces, but then I had to collect all the flatware like the serving forks — the fancy ones — for all the meat and potatoes,” Smith says. That first wedding also showed her what questions to ask for future weddings, such as: How will dinner be laid out? What does the caterer do or not do?
“It was trial by fire, but it went really well,” she says.
Overflowing with dishes Smith’s learning curve came at the right time. Now Smith rents her dishes out not only for weddings but for baby showers, bridal showers, harvest dinners, tea parties and other events — like a donor luncheon put on by Western Michigan University.
When Smith’s basement started overflowing with dishware, she transformed a spare bedroom in her Kalamazoo home into a sample room, decorated with vintage china, table runners, napkins, doilies and signage. “This is where I bring people if they want to see items,” Smith says. Smith has had customers travel from Detroit to use her dishes for parties. One client even traveled from Harbor Springs to
Opposite page, top: Kirsten Smith, right, and Becky Karle, look over some of Smith’s stock. Karle owns a similar business, Elsie’s Cupboard, in Three Rivers. Bottom: Some of the colored drinking glasses Smith has available. This page, top left: A silver tea service that Smith uses for special tea events. Bottom left: Delicate Dishes' “sample room” shows a range of dishes and décor that can be rented, such as the tiered stand pictured above.
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rent items from Delicate Dishes for a “Marie Antoinette-style dinner,” Smith says. “I guess people came in full costume.” Smith will be involved as much or as little as a customer desires. Delicate Dishes will deliver, set up the dishes, and clean and clear for weddings and other events of up to 225 people at venues within an hour radius of Kalamazoo. Customers may also opt to perform those duties themselves. “Sometimes they’ll start off and see what all the services are and see if they can fit it into their budget,” Smith says.
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Delicate Dishes does more than simply rent dishes because there are many creative and logistical aspects of an event to consider, Smith says. Her creative background — she initially enrolled as an art major in college — and extensive customer service management experience help her in assisting customers with their events. To help customers narrow down ideas for dish choices, Smith asks questions like, “Do you have pictures? What colors are you using? What’s your theme?” Then she treads into the functional aspects of the meal.
Constance Brown Hearing Centers A Higher Degree of Hearing Care
Our audiologists have advanced degrees in hearing health care. Their tests accurately assess hearing health. Free screenings don’t. Left: Smith combines vintage china, glassware and flatware to create custom place settings for special events. Above: Delicate Dishes also has a variety of serving pieces such as cake plates and tiered stands for desserts.
“There’s certain things that the brides and grooms aren’t thinking about,” Smith explains, such as: Will there be flower arrangements on the table? If so, there might only be room for one plate. Are water pitchers needed? Is the caterer clearing plates? When will that happen? “Sometimes they (customers) want multiple glasses for different drinks,” Smith says. “It looks pretty in pictures, but if you don’t have the space for it, you’ve got to look at function.” At the same time, Smith often collaborates with other companies that do the same thing she does to get pieces she may need or provide some that others need. On a recent day, Becky Karle of Elsie’s Cupboard, in Three Rivers, visited Smith’s trove of dishes to see what she had. “I keep a list of rental vendors who have inventory that is similar to mine so I can refer people to them if I am not available to help them or if they are looking for something that I don't carry,” Smith explains. “I have even worked with other vendors when one of us doesn't have a large enough quantity in our inventory. We definitely strive to live out ‘collaboration over competition.’”
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PERFORMING ARTS THEATER Plays
It's a Wonderful Life — The holiday film portrayed as a live 1940s radio broadcast, 7:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., through Dec. 22, Farmers Alley Theatre, 221 Farmers Alley, 343-2727. Musicals
A Christmas Carol — Dickens' holiday classic, through Dec. 28, New Vic Theatre, 134 E. Vine St., 381-3328, thenewvictheatre.org. Elf: The Musical — A musical comedy about Buddy the Elf on a journey to find his identity, 2 p.m. Dec. 1, 7 & 8; 7:30 p.m. Dec. 6; Civic Auditorium, 329 S. Park St., 343-1313. Other
Paw Patrol Live! — Characters from TV's Paw Patrol go on a pirate adventure, 6 p.m. Dec. 3, 2 & 6 p.m. Dec. 4, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125. Next Stop, Broadway — WMU Music Theatre students join Broadway star Cady Huffman for this cabaret event, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5–7, Williams Theatre, WMU, 387-2300. Christmas Cabaret — Featuring favorite carols and holiday songs, 7 p.m. Dec. 13–15, 18–22; 2 p.m. Dec. 14–15, 21–22; Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. MUSIC Bands & Solo Artists Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra — Big-band jazz, 7 p.m. Dec. 4, The Union Cabaret & Grille, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 268-9199. Chadwick Stokes & The Pintos — Alternative band focused on social justice for women and refugees, 7 p.m. Dec. 11, Bell's Eccentric Café, 355 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 382-2332. Turkuaz — Blending of funk, alternative, rock, R&B and psychedelia, 8 p.m. Dec. 12, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Old 97's Holiday Hoopla — Countryinfluenced rock ‘n’ roll band, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. 38 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy — Contemporary A Choral Christmas — Western's University swing revival band, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, State Chorale, Cantus Femina and Collegiate Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Singers perform, 4 & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, First Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., Jordan Hamilton, Modern Adventures, 387-2300. Temporary Arrangement — Three local bands, 9 p.m. Dec. 20, Bell's Eccentric Café, 2nd Sundays Live: Kalamazoo Saxophone 382-2332. Quartet — Swing arrangements of popular Christmas tunes, 2 p.m. Dec. 8, Parchment Mystic Bowie’s Talking Dreads — JamaicanCommunity Library, 401 S. Riverview Drive, born singers’ take on the Talking Heads, 8:30 343-7747. p.m. Dec. 21, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Jazz for the Holidays — Featuring WMU jazz May Erlewine & The Motivations — ensembles, 3 p.m. Dec. 8, Miller Auditorium, Americana singer/songwriter and danceWMU, 387-2300. party funk band, 8 p.m. Dec. 22, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Holidays with the Kalamazoo Bach Festival Chorus — Also featuring the Fake NYE with Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Western Brass Quintet, 4 p.m. Dec. 8, Stetson Seekers — Michigan-based folk-pop band, Chapel, Kalamazoo College, 337-7407. 8:30 p.m. Dec. 27, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. Making Spirits Bright — Blendings Vocal Ensemble presents swinging holiday The Insiders — Tom Petty tribute band, 9 p.m. standards and winter favorites with a jazz Dec. 31, Bell's Eccentric Café, 382-2332. trio, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 11, First Baptist Church, 315 W. Michigan Ave., 244-2610. Orchestra, Chamber, Jazz, Vocal & More
Messiah Sing — A community sing of Handel's oratorio with chamber orchestra, presented by Connecting Chords Music Festival, 4 p.m. Dec. 1, First Congregational Church, 345 W. Michigan Ave., 382-2910. Christmas in Kalamazoo — Kalamazoo Ringers handbell choir performs, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 3, Centerpoint Church, 2345 N. 10th St., kalamazooringers.org.
The Las Vegas Rat Pack — Year-end fundraiser featuring this vocal trio, 7 p.m. Dec. 12, Rehearsal Shed, Barn Theatre, 13351 West M-96, Augusta, 731-4121. Holiday Music: Sounds of the Season — Featuring the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Bach Festival Chorus and Kalamazoo Children's Chorus, 8 p.m. Dec. 13, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 547-7183.
University Concert Band — 7:30 p.m. Dec. 5, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, 387-4667. Harmony Holiday Concert 2019 — Featuring the Kalamazoo Mall City Harmonizers, Battle Kalamazoo Mandolin & Guitar Orchestra Creek Sweet Adelines and Battle Creek Cereal — This plucked string ensemble presents new City Chorus, 3 p.m. Dec. 14, Chapel Hill United and old holiday music, 6 & 7:15 p.m. Dec. 6, Methodist Church, 157 Chapel Hill Drive, Stryker Theater, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Battle Creek, 269-615-8796. 230 N. Rose St., 345-6664. A Merry Mosaic — Kalamazoo Singers Unwrap the Season — The Kalamazoo holiday concert, 5 p.m. Dec. 14, First Concert Band performs with WMU vocal jazz Presbyterian Church, 321 W. South St., ensemble Gold Company, 8 p.m. Dec. 6, Miller kalamazoosingers.org. Auditorium, WMU, kalamazooconcertband. A Brass Celebration of Christmas — 3 p.m. org/tickets. Dec. 15, Dalton Center Recital Hall, WMU, Crybaby Concert — Sing, dance and listen 387-2300. to holiday vocal jazz in this mini-concert for children under the age of 5 and their families, Kalamazoo Ringers Christmas Concert 11 a.m. Dec. 7, Jolliffe Theatre, Epic Center, — The Kalamazoo Ringers ring the sounds of the Christmas season on over 200 bells 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 382-7774.
and chimes, 4 p.m. Dec. 15, Grace Harbor Church, 811 Gorham Lane, 598-8820, kalamazooringers.org. KSO Artists in Residence — Dec. 17, Atrium Lobby, Ascension Borgess Hospital; Dec. 18, Garden Atrium, Bronson Methodist Hospital; both concerts at noon, 349-7759. Holiday Beer Choir — Join in and sing your holiday favorites, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 19, Old Dog Tavern, 402 E. Kalamazoo Ave., 337-7407. Sing! An Irish Christmas — Ireland's Keith and Kristyn Getty perform Celtic, bluegrass, Americana and classical music, with 100+-voice choir, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 21, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300. DANCE In the Works with Western Dance Project — A sneak peek into the dance works of WMU Dance, featuring guest artist, faculty and student works, 6 p.m. Dec. 6, Wellspring Theatre, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 387-5830.
Nutcracker 2019 — Ballet Arts Ensemble production featuring over 100 local children and adults, professional dancers, and members of the Kalamazoo Children's Chorus and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, 2 & 7 p.m. Dec. 7, 2 p.m. Dec. 8, Chenery Auditorium, 714 S. Westnedge Ave., 387-2300. WMU Dance Fall Showcase — Featuring choreography by WMU dance students, 3 &
7 p.m. Dec. 7, Dalton Center, Studio B, WMU, 387-2300. COMEDY Larry the Cable Guy: Remain Seated — Comedian, recording artist and Grammy nominee, 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4, Miller Auditorium, WMU, 387-2300.
Kirk Newman Art School Faculty Review — Juried exhibition of works by KIA art school faculty, Dec. 20–March 8. David Park: A Retrospective — An exhibition of nearly 100 of the artist's paintings and drawings that span his career from the 1930s to 1960, Dec. 21–March 15. Events
VISUAL ARTS Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 314 S. Park St., 349-7775 Exhibits
Black Refractions: Highlights from The Studio Museum in Harlem — Traveling exhibition of works by artists of African descent, through Dec. 8. Resilience: African American Artists as Agents of Change — An exhibition of works from the KIA's permanent collection, through Dec. 8. Where We Stand: Black Artists in Southwest Michigan — Works by nine artists working in sculpture, photography, painting, ceramics and printmaking, through Dec. 8. Natural Forms: Contemporary Works by Japanese Women — Works from the KIA collection in ceramics and on paper are paired with works from private lenders, examining the history and innovations of Japanese ceramic making, through March 22.
Sunday Guided Tour — Docent-led tours: Where We Stand, Dec. 1; Black Refractions, Dec. 8; Japanese Ceramics, Dec. 15, sessions begin at 2 p.m. ARTbreak — Weekly program about art, artists and exhibitions: Resilience: AfricanAmerican Artists as Agents of Change, talk by Executive Director Belinda Tate, Dec. 3; Paul Solomon on Paul Robeson, talk by WMU art professor Paul Solomon, Dec. 10; I Finally Saw the Italian Renaissance Theatres, talk by Kalamazoo College Emeritus Professor of Theatre Arts Ed Menta, Dec. 17; sessions begin at noon, KIA Auditorium. Art League Presents: Isabelle de Borchgrave: Fashioning Art from Paper — Frank Verpoorten, chief curator of the Baker Museum, in Naples, Florida, discusses the work of de Borchgrave, 10 a.m. Dec. 11. Unreeled: Film at the KIA — Darius shares his short films focusing on self-reflection, and Steven Cole showcases his film Please Breathe, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12.
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Book Discussion: Optic Nerve — Rehema Barber leads a discussion of the book by Maria Gainza, 2 p.m. Dec. 18. Richmond Center for Visual Arts Western Michigan University, 387-2436
Cat Crotchett: Together — This exhibition combines Indonesian batik textile processes with abstracted patterns, through Dec. 8, Netzorg and Kerr Gallery. WMU Faculty and Staff Exhibition — through Dec. 8, Monroe-Brown Gallery.
17 Days (Vol. 12) — One artist's video work per day is played on 50-inch plasma screens, through May 1, Atrium Gallery. Other Venues Art Hop — Art at various Kalamazoo locations, 5–8 p.m. Dec. 6, 342-5059.
Hot Off the Press — Exhibition of print media, including letterpress posters, cards, books and prints, Dec. 6–20, with exhibition opening 6–9 p.m. Dec. 6, Kalamazoo Books Arts, 326 W. Kalamazoo Ave., Suite 103A, 373-4938. Art Reception: Portage Public Schools — View artistic creations of PPS students in multiple mediums, 3–4 p.m. Dec. 7, Atrium, Portage District Library, 300 Library Lane, 329-4544. LIBRARY & LITERARY EVENTS Kalamazoo Public Library Friends of KPL Annual Gift Book Sale — Noon–7 p.m. Wed., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Thurs.–Sat., through Dec. 31, Friends Bookstore, Central Library, 315 S. Rose St., 342-9837.
Telestrellas: Latino Soap Operas — Watch Hispanic telenovelas in Spanish with English
subtitles and discuss the films, 6 p.m. Dec. 2, Eastwood Branch, 1112 Gayle Ave., 553-7810. Page Turners Book Club — Discussion of Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, by Helen Simonson, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2, Oshtemo Branch, 7265 W. Main St., 553-7980. Art Hop: Artists in Action — Celebrate the five featured artists of the KIA's Black Refractions exhibit who spent a week at a KPL location creating art, 6–8 p.m. Dec. 6, First Floor Lobby, Central Library, 342-9837. Meet the Author: Rob Shindler — Meet the author of Hot Dogs & Hamburgers: Unlocking Life's Potential by Inspiring Literacy at Any Age, 6 p.m. Dec. 12, Central Library, 342-9837. Mindful Monday: A Women's Event — Practice self-care during this holiday season with deep breathing meditation, mindful journaling, and healthy eating and cooking, 4–7:30 p.m. Dec. 16, Eastwood Branch, 5537810. ¡Hola! Hello! — Meet your neighbors, share your language and practice conversation with friends, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18, Washington Square Branch, 1244 Portage St., 553-7970. Parchment Community Library 401 S. Riverview Drive, 343-7747 Parchment Book Group — Discussion of Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, by Lynda Rutledge, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2. Holiday Chocolate and Parchment Wassailing — Citywide holiday celebration with music, activities, and cocoa and cookies, 6–8 p.m. Dec. 4. Mystery Book Club — Discussion of The Twelve Clues of Christmas, by Rhys Bowen, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 16.
Holly Jolly Tra-la-la-olley! Enjoy the holiday season Kzoo.
40 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
Donuts & Discussion: Stories Postcards Tell — Featuring Wally Jung of the Southwest Michigan Post Card Club, 10:30 a.m.–noon Dec. 21.
pilots and through artifacts from the Air Zoo's collection.
Portage District Library 300 Library Lane, 329-4544
Memories and Milestones: Forty Years of the Air Zoo — A celebration of four decades of flight, spacecraft, science and education, through December.
Friends of the Library Book Sale — 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Dec. 7.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum 230 N. Rose St., 373-7990
SciFi/Fantasy Discussion Group: Trivia Contest — Topics related to science fiction, fantasy, comics and manga, 7 p.m. Dec. 10.
Mystery of the Christmas Star — A scientific explanation for the star the Wise Men followed, 3 p.m. daily, through December, Planetarium.
Battle of the Book Clubs Bash — The winner of the Battle of the Book Clubs Reading Guide will be announced and best book discussion recommendations for 2020 will be available, 6:30–8 p.m. Dec. 11. International Mystery Book Discussion — Mystery book exchange and a movie, 7 p.m. Dec. 12. Open for Discussion — Discussion of Becoming, by Michelle Obama, 10:30 a.m. Dec. 17. Other Venues Playwright Brett Neveu — Gwen Frostic Reading Series, 7 p.m. Dec. 5, Rooms 157– 159, Bernhard Center, WMU, 387-2572. MUSEUMS Air Zoo 6151 Portage Road, Portage, 382-6555
Apo11o — This permanent exhibit shows the teamwork it took to put people on the moon via the Apollo 11 mission. D-Day 75: En Route by Place and Parachute — This permanent exhibit shows D-Day through the eyes of POWs and glider
Mindbenders Mansion 2 — Puzzles, brainteasers and interactive challenges to test the brain, through Jan. 5. Willard Wigan Microsculptor — Artwork so small it must be viewed through a microscope, through Jan. 26. Filling in the Gaps: The Art of Murphy Darden — Art focused on black cowboys, Darden's personal experiences in Mississippi, civil rights heroes and Kalamazoo's AfricanAmerican community, through March 29. Sunday Series: Preparing for the Holidays — Melissa Grant offers tips for dealing with holiday chaos and ways to have a peaceful season, 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8.
Season of Light — How candles, Christmas trees and Santa Claus became holiday traditions, 1 p.m. Dec. 23, 26, 27, 30 & 31, Planetarium. Gemini — Folk duo playing acoustic music for children and families, noon Dec. 30. Joe Reilly — Sing-along songs about nature and finding peace, noon Dec. 31.
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NATURE Birds and Coffee Walk — A morning bird walk and discussion over coffee, 9–10:30 a.m. Dec. 11, Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, 12685 East C Ave., Augusta, 671-2510. Kalamazoo Astronomical Society Presents Remote Viewing Session — View the night sky in this indoor observing session, 8–10 p.m. Dec. 14, Room 1110, Rood Hall, WMU, 373-8942. MISCELLANEOUS
Join us for:
A Merry Mosaic The many colors of Christmas
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2019 ~ 5:00 pm First Presbyterian Church Tickets available online at www.kalamazoosingers.org
Underwear Party — An event that supports collects underwear and warm clothing for those in need, 5–7 p.m. Dec. 2, Radisson Plaza Hotel, 100 W. Michigan Ave., ministrywithcommunity.org. Fall & Holiday Flea Market — New and used items, antiques and handcrafted items, 8:30 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues. & Wed., Dec. 3–18; holiday market, 8 a.m.–3 p.m. Dec. 14 & 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Dec. 15, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St., 383-8778. Holiday Gifts & Greens Sale — Live greenery on sale by Kalamazoo Garden Council, 3–7 p.m. Dec. 5, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Dec. 6, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Dec. 7, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, kalamazoogardencouncil.org. ZooLights — Binder Park Zoo is decorated for the holidays, 5–8 p.m. Dec. 6–8, 13–15 & 20–22, 7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, 269979-1351. Vintage Market & Crafts — Antiques, home décor and unique gifts, 4–8 p.m. Dec. 6, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 7, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 903-5820. Pre-Kwanzaa Bazaar — Vendors, food, music and screening of The Black Candle, 5–8 p.m. Dec. 6, Black Arts & Cultural Center, 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, 349-1982. Fair Trade Holiday Sale — Items curated from around the world, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Dec. 7, Westwood United Methodist Church, 538 Nichols Road, 344-7165. Buy Local Art & Gift Fair — Local artisans and one-of-a-kind gifts, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 7, Kalamazoo Nature Center, 7000 N. Westnedge Ave., 381-1574. Christmas at Wings Arts & Crafts Show — 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 7, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Dec. 8, Wings Event Center, 3600 Vanrick Drive, 345-1125.
42 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
ENCORE EVENTS Candy Cane Hunt — Candy canes, crafts and a visit with Santa, noon–2 p.m. Dec. 7, Homer Stryker Field, 251 Mills St., kzooparks.org. Holiday Market — Tour the decorated W.K. Kellogg Manor House and buy handcrafted gifts, noon–5 p.m. Dec. 7, 14 & 21; meet the artists and buy gifts, 6:30–8:30 p.m. Dec. 4, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2160. Traditional Holiday & Tree Lighting Celebration — Caroling, tree lighting, ice sculpture, music and Santa, 6 p.m. Dec. 7, Celery Flats Historical Area, 7335 Garden Lane, Portage, 329-4522.
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation — View the 1989 film about the Griswold family, 8 p.m. Dec. 7, State Theatre, 404 S. Burdick St., 345-6500. Portage Holiday Market — Crafts, food and artisan products, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Dec. 8, Portage Senior Center, 320 Library Lane, 329-4522. Kalamazoo Record & CD Show — Collector records, memorabilia and supplies, 11 a.m.–4
p.m. Dec. 8, Kalamazoo County Expo Center, Room A, 734-604-2540. Tea at the Manor House — Specialty teas, a guided tour and holiday market for families: Mrs. Claus Tea, noon–2 p.m. Dec. 8; Silver Bells Tea, 2–4 p.m. Dec. 10; Snowflake Tea, 2–4 p.m. Dec. 11; Holiday Spice Tea, 2–4 p.m. Dec. 17; W.K. Kellogg Manor House, 3700 E. Gull Lake Drive, Hickory Corners, 671-2400; registration required. Holiday Dinners at the W.K. Kellogg Manor House — A four-course dinner in the decorated Manor House: Comfort and Joy Dinner, Dec. 13; Winter Wonderland Dinner, Dec. 20; both events begin at 6:30 p.m., 6712160; registration required. 5K Santa Run & 1-Mile Fun Walk — Participants wear a Santa suit during the walk/ run through downtown Paw Paw, 9 a.m. Dec. 14, Paw Paw Middle School, 313 W. Michigan Ave., 624-4841. Holiday Ice Revue — Featuring skaters from the Greater Kalamazoo Skating Association, 2:30 p.m. Dec. 14, Wings West, 5076 Sports Drive, 978-0118.
Kalamazoo Dance — Monthly ballroom dancing at 8 p.m. Dec. 14, with waltz lesson at 7 p.m., The Point Community Center, 2595 N. 10th St., kalamazoodance.org. Chanukah Party — Live music, latkes, jelly doughnuts and a dreidel competition, 3-5 p.m. Dec. 15, CityScape Event Centre, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall, RSVP to congregationofmoses.org. Kalamazoo Reptile & Exotic Pet Expo — Buy, sell or trade reptiles, amphibians and small mammals, 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Dec. 21, Kalamazoo County Expo Center North, 779-9851. Santa Skate — Holiday music and skating with Santa, 3–5 p.m. Dec. 21, Millennium Park, 280 Romence Road, Portage, 329-4522. New Year's Eve Skate — Upbeat music and party lighting, 5–9 p.m. Dec. 31, Millennium Park, Portage, with special countdown at 7 p.m., 329-4522. New Year's Fest — Performing arts, fireworks and food to bring in the new year, 5:30 p.m.– midnight Dec. 31, various venues in downtown Kalamazoo, 388-2380 or newyearsfest.com.
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44 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
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BACK STORY (continued from page 46)
organization, we have a lot of organizational unconscious bias. A lot of it's learned, and a lot of it is because we've always done it this way.”
How did you get here? I was born in El Paso (Texas) and grew up in Seattle. I originally came here to go to Kalamazoo College for biology and ended up in theater. I got an internship at the Civic Theatre right after my undergrad and then was going to leave and go back to Seattle, but I was offered a full-time position at the Civic. I had, like, three or four positions through there, all the way up to executive director, until about four years ago, when I moved to the Arts Council.
What made you want to leave the theater? I had been with the same organization for 22 years, and we were doing a lot of good work and we survived pretty well through the recession. But I was starting to feel like I was making decisions based on a recession economy as opposed to “Now we're starting to recover and what are the new next great ideas and how can we reinvigorate and move forward?” And that was a good trigger for me to take stock and ask, what are my passions? What do I want to do? How do I want to go through the second part of my career? This job became available, and I felt drawn to the idea of supporting other artists in
town and being a voice to advocate that creative experiences in art are not just for certain people — those who have extra time and extra money — but need to be integrated in all that we do. The ability to create and the ability to have a creative expression should be infused into everything that we do. It should be infused into businesses and into your daily life with your family as opposed to just making time for it.
How do you change the thinking about access to art? When I was going through school, we were taught that that arts audiences were basically middle-age, upper-class whites with the additional monies to be able to attend arts events, and so that's what you're programming to. But a study done three years ago shows (that) who is actually seeking out cultural, artistic experiences and creative experiences are young families, women (in general), and women of color (in particular). So, to me, that signals a need for us to look at programming and access and who we are trying to connect with and get rid of this old idea that there's only a certain segment of the population that has the money and the time to be able to partake of art. But we also have to eliminate the barriers and biases that keep people from participating in creative experiences. In order to do that, we have to start listening. One of our other new core values is dialogue. We need to start listening to what it is that we do that is
working and what's not working in terms of the needs of the different constituencies in our community. It’s starting to happen. Theatre Kalamazoo has taken on this initiative of sensoryfriendly theater performances for a segment of our population that can't deal with loud noises or certain sights or sounds. Sensoryfriendly performances means that they get to participate in that program and that you get to participate as a family. You don't have to leave a family member at home to go see a show, which is fantastic.
What do you like the most about what you do? I learn something new every day. When I have an artist sit and talk to me about their project, the excitement for me is to listen to their passion about what they want to create. I get to help them, and I think that's awesome. There have been some projects that have come through here where I just think, “Oh, my God, there are some brilliant people in this community that are doing some absolutely fascinating work.”
What do you do when you aren’t working? My vocation has become my avocation. I do some lighting and sound design on the side, which is the craft I learned. It allows me to connect with artists on a different level, which I think is fun. — Interview by Marie Lee and edited for clarity and length
w w w.encorekalamazoo.com | 45
BACK STORY ENCORE
Kristen Chesak Executive Director, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo
or half a century, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo has worked diligently to support artists and promote art in the Kalamazoo community, but it wasn’t until this year that the organization determined it needed to evolve so it could bring art to everyone in the community. When the organization announced its new mission, vision and core values this summer, at the top of the list of values was access, which Chesak says is about making the Arts Council and the arts in general inclusive to all. “We have to ask, what are these invisible stop signs that we have that make people think that the Arts Council is not for them?” Chesak says. “To be able to do that, we have to look at ourselves first and say, ‘What is it that we do that is not equitable? What is it that we do that's not inclusive and how do we start to change our behaviors?’ Because, as an
46 | ENCORE DECEMBER 2019
(continued on page 45)
OUT-OF-SCHOOL TIME PROGRAM FINDER Search for programs using our Program Finder at www.kydnet.org
Learning doesnâ€™t end when the bell rings. Check out any of the 60 high quality afterschool programs in our community!
The Kalamazoo Youth Development Network can connect you to out-of-school time programs across Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties. Search for programs using our Program Finder at www.kydnet.org.
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Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Our annual Revealed issue of unseen images from year of stories; holiday gift guide, Health House for women i...
Published on Nov 30, 2019
Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Our annual Revealed issue of unseen images from year of stories; holiday gift guide, Health House for women i...