The Rapidian Home

Tanglefoot open studio event to celebrate 22nd year

Tanglefoot artists are opening their studio doors again for this yearly must-do event, and this time they're inviting Dinderbeck artists to join them.

/Tommy Allen

Underwriting support from:

Artists showing this weekend at Tanglefoot

Elaine Dalcher

Nikki Wall

Tommy Allen

Alynn Guerra

Jeff Condon

Carlos Aceves

Gretchen Pfleghaar Deems

Jason Villareal

Steff Condon

Mark Rumsey


Dinderbeck Artists Exhibiting in the Tanglefoot Building:

Anthony Mead – Pattern boxes, jewelry

Brandon Lake - Photography

Sofia Ramirez Hernandez - Printmaker

Steven Rainey - Printmaker

Kyle Isbell – Lightbox paintings

Cory VanderZwaag - Furniture

Shea Hester-Haddad - Ceramics

Trevor Hill-Rowley - Canvas block prints

Mark Andrus - Photography

Josh McVety - Furniture

Tanglefoot 2009

Tanglefoot 2009 /Terry Johnston

Tanglefoot 2009

Tanglefoot 2009 /Terry Johnston

The annual Tanglefoot Building Artists Studio Sale returns invigorated for their 22nd Anniversary of their annual open studio placemaking event on Friday, November 22 and Sunday, November 24 at 314 Straight Avenue SW.

“Tanglefoot,” the nickname locals have attributed when addressing this West Side neighborhood collective of artists, has garnered a respectable reputation for not only providing thoughtful leadership in the organization of the creative and education communities but has been hailed annually as one of those unique “must-do” activities in the city.

While most holiday art events have traditionally been held in December and focus on gift items, the Tanglefoot Building artists hold their art-focused event the weekend before Thanksgiving ensuring that hundreds of visitors from all over Michigan and beyond are able to attend and visit the artists’ studios, meet informally with the artists, and purchase original works of art.

Founding artists Elaine Dalcher and Nikki Wall, along with next generation artists Tommy Allen and Alynn Guerra, will be joined by Carlos Aceves, Jeff Condon, Jason Villareal, Steff Condon and Gretchen Deems. The public is invited to visit the open studios of the Tanglefoot Building.

The Allen + Pfleghaar Studio, a 3rd floor gallery space, will feature a Dinderbeck Showcase of art from their neighbor artists of Dinderbeck, a new and modern artists collective. Joining Dinderbeck in the gallery space will be Mark Rumsey, who is the 2013-2014 Guest Artist Fellow of A + P Studio and will be debuting his latest work, Happi Ness over this weekend. 

Getting into Tanglefoot

As with every year, guests are greeted at Door “K” by the event’s doorman and after signing in, will be admitted via the steps throughout this warehouse to the artists’ studios. For more than 22 years, art enthusiasts and collectors have wandered through these historical walls of Grand Rapids art scene. It is never the same event twice as the artists take pride in advancing their work and field of study.

Throughout the building, studios are sprinkled with diverse offerings in art from paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, t-shirts, greeting cards, and handmade apparel.

Tanglefoot Building owes much of its success to the vision of owner Joe Skendzel who is often on site on Friday nights as he freely greets guests. Skendzel, an avid supporter of the arts in Grand Rapids, has made it possible over the years for local artists to find a conducive place to create works of art in his building.

Skendzel has personally hand selected the artists who have come to inhabit his space for more than 24 years. Looking at the roster of artists in this space, it reads like a Who’s Who of the Grand Rapids Art scene with many of the Tanglefoot Building artists moving on to produce bigger ventures in our city and throughout the world. This curation process pre-dates ArtPrize’s model of business-artist partnerships by decades.

History of Tanglefoot Building Artists

Artists began moving into the Tanglefoot building in 1987, but it wasn’t until 1991 that the Tanglefoot Open Studio event began. It was the first open studio event of its kind to be held in the Grand Rapids area. Michael Pfleghaar, Nikki Wall and Elaine Dalcher hosted the event that year and because of its success, the artists decided to hold “Tanglefoot” every year, and so the Grand Rapids tradition began.

Just as they have done each of the 21 years, Sunday will be a family-friendly reception where children and adults alike will have the opportunity to create their own works of art in Elaine Dalcher’s studio.

Tanglefoot 22 will be held Friday, November 22 from 5 – 10 p.m. and Sunday, November 24 from Noon to 5 p.m. Tanglefoot is Handicap Accessible. Please see the doorman at Door K upon arrival. (Please note: It is Tanglefoot Building Artists, not Tanglefoot Studio.)


Tanglefoot building artists showing this year

Elaine Dalcher, Painter

Dalcher’s new paintings and monotypes continue her interest in the landscape. Beginning her work outdoors within the landscape, she moves the canvas into the studio to continue the work, concentrating on creating a mood referenced by the landscape and remembered - not tied to it. Dalcher received the YWCA 2012 Tribute! Award in the Arts, honoring her work as an artist and educator in the greater Grand Rapids community.

Nikki Wall, Sculptor/Painter

Wall is the closest any artist in Grand Rapids can get to capture the spirit of jazz music as she seamlessly travels back and forth between 2D and 3D works in her space at Tanglefoot. While her subject matter travels many routes as well, on warmer days it is not uncommon to catch her barefoot in her space as she soaks up her surroundings before explosion on the canvas. Wall is a true original that is often misunderstood locally and worthy of a closer look while in the building.

Tommy Allen, Photo-based Art

After a year off from the Tanglefoot Building event in 2011, Allen returned to the 2012 open studio event with a new body of pop-inspired stripped down works exploring the theme of disruption and iconography of cultural stars. Inspired by street art, pop stars and a very restrained palette, Allen will once again premiere a new series of images devoted to the exploration of that thin poetic balance between anonymity and an ever-eroding private space with a slight of hand nod to items we choose to celebrate as a culture.

Alynn Guerra, Printmaker

A series of life-changing moments experienced in 2011 followed by a string of commissions for her Red Hydrant Press in recent years have made their mark on Guerra's work. Beginning with a trip to Maine to the Beehive Design Collective, her prints would begin to evolve but also see the artist bringing back social content themes to the press. In 2012 she was invited to be part of a multidisciplinary art residency in Palestine and Israel. The trip enabled her to establish relationships with both Palestinian and Israeli artists and activists, gain a better perspective of the conflict, and use artistic means to communicate the message, providing an opportunity for education about the complexities of the conflict.

Jeff Condon, Painter

Jeff Condon continues his exploration of the landscape with oil and pastel paintings using more minimal forms and power-packed color.

Carlos Aceves, Mixed Media

Aceves is inspired by social justice issues and the world around him. His latest work discusses the relationship between people and time.

Gretchen Pfleghaar Deems, Mixed Media

Gretchen Pfleghaar Deems creates sculpture from a variety of media including wood, metal, glass and found objects. Shrine-like in form, her freestanding sculptures invite the viewer into an intimate space that may be either humorous, serious or irreverent in nature. Her work has won numerous local, state and national awards and is exhibited internationally.

Jason Villareal, Painter

Jason Villareal will be showing paintings inspired by various observations and emotions he has encountered over the past few years. His work will display a variety of techniques and colors to articulate those observations and emotions.

Steff Condon, Textiles

Steff Condon will be showing her up-cycled woolen scarves and hats along with handmade stitched greeting cards.

Mark Rumsey, Printmaker

Guest artist and first Fellow of Allen + Pfleghaar Studio at Tanglefoot (2013-2014)

The Happi Ness Project plays between Facebook and the printing of artifacts. Images are gleaned from the web and re-presented on the artist’s Facebook page. The impetus for the project is two-fold: Research suggests that interaction with social media makes people less happy. Research also suggests that looking at images of baby animals makes people more happy. The project plays with the trying to find a balance between these two points. Rumsey will also be showcasing his work produced while at the Swatch Artists Residency in Shanghai, China.

Dinderbeck Showcase, curated by Brandon Alman and Tommy Allen at the Allen + Pfleghaar Studio at Tanglefoot gallery space, 3rd floor.

Dinderbeck aspires to create an accessible facility in which a broad spectrum of individuals can access and create their own works. Dinderbeck’s facilities contain a large range of equipment that any practicing artist would find to be beneficial for creating a variety or work. Dinderbeck contains a printshop as well as a sculpture studio that houses woodworking, metals and ceramics with an adjoining exhibition space.

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.