OLAH celebrates 2011, looks forward to new year

EVART — More than 35 members and guests of the Osceola League for Arts and Humanities gathered Friday evening in the league quarters for a gala potluck dinner to celebrate the Christmas season, reflect upon a successful year and look forward to new endeavors and growth in 2012.

The dinner was also a way for the leadership to thank members and artists who volunteered during the year donating their time and energy to the many league-sponsored events and programs.

Elsie Vredenburg looked back at 2011 and noted the growing interest in the Osceola Quilt Trail which is affiliated with the league.

“During 2011 we were fortunate to receive a grant from the Michigan Council on Arts and Cultural Affairs,” said Vredenburg. “With the grant we were able to put up more than a dozen quilt blocks on public buildings throughout the county.

“We had a fantastic year and the total quilt blocks now reaches 79. With all the new blocks, we’ll have to produce an updated brochure which shows pictures of the blocks and map of their locations.”

Vredenburg reminds area residents who are planning to mount a quilt block in the near future to be sure and submit an application by early January if they want it to be included in the new brochure. Applications are available from the league.

According to Renee Tolgo, the league Christmas Shoppe, which is open until Dec. 21, has been well received, with excellent sales and favorable comments about the quality and variety of paintings and handcrafted gift items offered by area artists.

New member Susan Race from Gladwin displays beaded jewelry and knitted items using specialty yarns such as baby alpaca and mohair. She was glad to discover the league while visiting the area.

“I decided to join,” she said, “because any group or organization that puts handmade works of art into the public eye is important to me and I want to support it.”

League president Jim Pylman addressed the group commenting that 2011 was a phenomenal year.

“The entire organization has flourished,” he said, “and acceptance in the community is encouraging. The quality of art we have is constantly improving and we have the best group of willing volunteers. It’s been a great evening of fun and fellowship.”

The Osceola League for Arts and Humanities sponsors a number of programs throughout the year as well as classes in painting, drawing, mosaics and many others.

The League is at 207 N. Main St., Evart.  For further information, contact Renee Tolgo  (231) 388-5749.