This past weekend we hit up a few art events in and around town. Art and culture is something that we love seeking out and the conversation afterward is just as rewarding as the experience itself. Our first stop Friday night was at Neutral Zone, the non-profit teen center that offers creative, academic and fun programming for students. It offers everything from art training to mentoring to homework help in every subject. It's really an incredible resource and a great cause. "Americana" was the theme of the evening and offered a look at students' views on the state of America whether it be political, social or economical. It was a great turnout with live music performed by the teens and lots of PB&J sandwiches.

We popped in to Work Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan's art gallery on bustling State Street. Last night's story slam, Word of Mouth, theme: Falling, was much like The Moth on NPR Radio. People were given five minutes to tell a true story from life. We stopped in to hear the music and see the work but had to move on before they started from intermission again.

The last stop on Friday night was at the University of Michigan Museum of Art for After Dark, it's seasonal event of art browsing, music and tours. We had a chance to see some incredible cartography and prints from the current exhibit, Discovering Eighteenth-Century British America: The William L. Clements Library, on view through Jan. 13, 2013. There was also a video installation piece by the art collaborative, Young Hae Chang Heavy Industries that's worth seeing particularly if you're not used to seeing time-based works. 

Saturday night we ventured to Chelsea to the River Gallery to see our friends, artists Helen Gotlib and Dylan Strzynski show at "10 under 40", a vetted collection of works by artists under the age of 40. From digital video work to classic printmaking and drawing, we saw a great array of mediums and styles. And we were proud to see Helen tie for 1st place with her floral and nude drawings, a much deserved feat. Dylan showed an incredible new series of works, focusing on formal structures in residential architecture, a departure from his usually whimsical illustrative style but still entrenched in colorful themes.

We always urge people to take every opportunity to look at art. It enlivens our spirits, challenges us and sometimes it makes us think. Enjoy.

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