Don’t be bummed that ArtPrize is taking a break. Spend an art-filled weekend in Calhoun County Oct. 18-20. We have everything from ArtPrize winners to a giant kiln and craft beer.

ArtPrize winners in Battle Creek

We have not one, but two ArtPrize winners in Battle Creek right now.

Bigger is better, as proven by the giant portrait of Abraham Lincoln made out of pennies. Richard Schlatter’s A. Lincoln won the public vote in 2017. You’ve seen the photos, but it’s much more impressive in real life.

The String Project, which won in 2018, is on display in the same building. Portraits by Chelsea Nix and Mariano Cortez capture various cultures in vibrant detail, while using a rope in each photo to symbolize human connection.

Both art projects are at 32 W. Michigan Ave. Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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Fall into the arts on Friday

Start Friday afternoon with Battle Creek’s Fall into the Arts artwalk.

Set along the picturesque river in downtown Battle Creek, visitors can browse booths by local artists. Expect painting, photography, woodwork, mixed media and more. Even preschoolers are in on it, with art they made from nature.

Like ArtPrize, you can vote for your favorites!

Make sure to look for Jamari Taylor, who won the People’s Choice Award at the last artwalk. Taylor’s powerful portraits were recently part of “Shades of Blackness: An Exhibition of African American Arts,” a juried art exhibition in Grand Rapids.

“Fall and Spring into the Arts artwalks are meant to integrate art and business while showcasing all that our community has to offer,” said Kara Beer, president of the Battle Creek Area Chamber of Commerce.

This past spring was the first time for the artwalk to be held on the Linear Path, along the river. The path has a natural beauty that is art in itself.

“Seeing the amount of art being sold as attendees walked the path, and being asked by participating artists, businesses and vendors if they’re able to stay past the artwalk’s hours, encouraged me that Spring into the Arts was truly a success,” Beer said.

You should come hungry, because it’s also Food Truck Friday. While there are lots of choices, we recommend you save room for street corn from La Guatemalteca Taco. It’s sweet corn on the cob that’s been slathered with sauce, cojita cheese and spices. Your face will be a mess but it’s totally worth it.

Food vendors will be set up at Festival Market Square, by McCamly Hotel.

Fall into the Arts is scheduled for 3 to 8 p.m. Main parking is at State Street Parking Lot, next to Friendship Park. There’s also parking at Willard Library and the Jackson Street Lot across from McCamly Hotel.

Travel the backroads with Arts and Eats

You don’t have to go to a big city to find art. Arts and Eats is a self-guided tour through Southwest Michigan, highlighting art and good food along the way. It stretches from South Haven to Albion.

For one of the most unusual studios on the tour, go to Albion to see Ken Shenstone’s kiln, which he built himself – it’s one of the largest anagama kilns in the U.S. It measures 1,000 cubic feet.

Anagama are wood-burning, so the artist has less control over the results of his ceramics. As Shenstone says in his artist statement: “Though not random, surfaces and even changes to the form are unpredictable. The best results are often unplanned.”

As far as food, Zarzuela in Marshall has tapas and Station 66 in Battle Creek offers fall treats, such as doughnuts and soup.

Two of Albion’s entries earned awards last year: Stirling Books & Brew won best hot drink, while Albion Malleable Brewing Company won best cold drink and most unique drink.

This year, AMBC will have a makers market with artisans selling items made from wood and metal. Inside, students from Albion College will have visual art pieces.

Catch a concert by Olivia Mainville at 7 p.m. Saturday night.

As for food: “We have a trained chef here and we do specials all the time,” said Owner Ben Wade.

The poutine comes highly recommended by locals. Of course, if you’re looking for a new beer experience, AMBC is the place for aficionados and beginners alike.

Try the K River Kolsch beer if you want something light and easy to approach.

For the hearty craft beer lovers, though, the Squirrel Smuggler is a black IPA the brewery is releasing right before the Arts and Eats weekend.

For a map, go to

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Magical creatures and other art to see

  • Fantasy Forest: Take pictures with wizards, centaurs and aliens at Leila Arboretum. A grove of trees destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer was turned into an art project. Now the sculptures are a funky addition to the park, which should be at peak fall colors in October.
  • Color the Creek Murals: A summer festival brings new murals to Battle Creek every year. They’re larger than life and a great Instagram opportunity. We listed some of our favorites here.
  • Art Center of Battle Creek: Promoting community art for 70 years, the Art Center of Battle Creek has two exhibits in October. Pastor and artist Sue Trowbridge has an exhibit of colorful paintings called “The Case of Rev. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde.” Storyteller Michelle Frank encourages a dialogue of stories with her photographic series, “Present-ness.”

*Article written by Communications Coordinator, Annie Kelley. You can contact her at