Sarah “Sunshine” Parker is a visual artist from Lansing, MI. She holds not one, but two degrees in art from Michigan State University, receiving both a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, and a Bachelor of Arts in the Humanities in 2015. Typically using paint to express, Sarah is most known for her photorealistic moons and watercolor illustrations. Watercolor is her go to medium, and much of her work is illustrative, colorful, and imaginative. Sarah is deeply inspired by nature, science, outer space, fairy tales, and finding beauty in the simple, everyday things. “As a person and as an artist, I am constantly evolving. Creativity ebbs and flows, and to stick to one medium or style can feel limiting.” Sarah is left handed, and she has always felt that it contributes to her creativity.
When not creating her own art, Sarah works at the Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center as the Gallery Coordinator, and for Michigan Creative as a Graphic Designer. Sarah has participated in several art fairs, the most notable being ArtFeast in Old Town. She has also done events with the Artist’s Umbrella, where she has been a vendor and a speed painter.
Sarah comes from a family of great artists. Her niece is The Ace of Hearts, Autumn Hopkins. Her mom was a very talented artist who specialized in drawing. Her dad is more of an inventor, and he studied architecture, and her sister Maddie is an artist as well. “The art of making runs deep in my family. From a young age, I was encouraged to be myself, and to make all of the art I could possibly make, so that’s exactly what I did. Drawing, painting, collage, sculpture; the variety of media available to create things is what had me continuously coming back for more. My love for art led me to pursue it further, and in 2015 I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Michigan State University, along with a Bachelor of Arts in the Arts & Humanities. A few years later I started classes at Lansing Community College, and in 2019 I completed a certificate in Graphic Design. Art will always have a place in my life, whether it's creating personal or professional work. I continue to explore new avenues for my creativity and connecting with my local community of artists. In 2020 a friend and I created a virtual art show, and subsequently an Instagram account called Create & Connect meant to connect artists with opportunities to create, share, and sell their work.”
For more information on Sarah & her work visit:
Elisa Schmidt, the owner of Territory 50, is a watercolor & mixed media artist from Lansing, MI. She holds a Bachelors of Art from Sienna Height University in Adrian, where she studied graphic design. Her art has been featured all throughout Michigan, from St. Ignace and Petoskey, to St. Johns and Lansing. She has illustrated two published books; The Business of Beans: A Young Entrepreneur’s Story in Tanzania, written by Lisa Mulka, and The Story that Lives Across the Sea, written by Charis Calender-Suemnik. Elisa’s art has hung in galleries such as Michigan Artist’s Market in Petoskey, Katalyst and Absolute Galleries in Lansing, Keys to Creativity in Lansing, TIC in East Lansing, Studio Retreat in St. Johns, Gracie’s Place in Williamston, at the Art and Craft Beerfest in Lansing, the Alma Wine Festival, Arts Night Out events in Lansing, 517 Day, & the Summer of Love Music Festival. Her work has been shown on two billboards in Lansing. She painted two piano’s one of which is in the City Market in Lansing. Both pianos have been featured multiple times in the City Pulse.
Elisa herself has been featured in the Lansing City Pulse multiple times for exhibiting at different venues around Lansing. A photograph of hers was featured in News- Press Tropicalia in the “Pictures from Paradise” section. She was also interviewed by Melik Brown for Lansing Made for a gallery show at Katalyst, Old Town Lansing.
The Business of Beans: A Young Entrepreneur’s Story in Tanzania, was awarded the EIFLE award in 2017, Elisa won 1st place for Old Town Riverbash Plein Air painting contest in 2018, & was a top 5 finalist for the visual artist category in City Pulse Top of the Town, 2017. She has collaborated with Larry Grudt from Keys to Creativity for an art piece that was auctioned off raising money for Lansing schools, and is currently collaborating with Anita Brett on a painting for a client. Elisa has also shown with Julian VanDyke at American Fifth Spirits.
In addition to her artistic work, Elisa is a veteran custom picture framer at Hobby Lobby in East Lansing. Elisa loves painting on road maps and nautical charts. Inspiration for her work comes from travels she has been on and the beauty of nature, particularly in the Les Cheneaux area of the Upper Peninsula where her second home is.
For more information on Elisa & her work visit:
Amari Roper is a musician born in Lansing, MI, and raised here locally, graduating from Eastern High School. Before all things, Amari is a storyteller. “Music may be the main medium that I work with, but the techniques I've learned through studying the art of story are a large part of what informs my approach to music. Story is one of the biggest aspects of my work and life, as well as a lens through which I try to make sense of the world around me. Stories have many different purposes, but in shorthand, they give people a means of connecting and relating to others, of teaching and learning lessons, and of sharing experiences that are worth remembering. Folk music in particular speaks to me because its main substance lies in telling a damn good story in as engaging and entertaining of a way as possible. There are many stories I have yet to hear and have yet to tell, so I know that story will always have a place within my music,” says Roper.
For a long time Amari stayed a closet musician and only played in backyards and around bonfires until one day he got an opportunity to play a show at REO Town's Blue Owl Coffee in Lansing. Amari recently got the chance to perform at the Artist's Umbrella's Vibes in Bloom show and on the Opportunity Arts Stage at the Lansing 5:01 Block:Aid in Downtown Lansing. Amari has also been featured on WILX.
Amari spent a lot of his childhood in Nashville, Michigan at a campground that his family had gone to for a few generations. “There wasn't much in terms of technology or internet access at the time, so I would spend my time digging holes and making sand castles on the beach, catching frogs in the creek and wandering through the woods. I loved it. It's because of that time that I still actively try to set aside time away from technology to wander the woods. It's a grounding place for me, and I'm sure that the natural world will always find a way to creep into my songs. I started learning to play music around when I was 16 from the neighbor of a close friend. That neighbor is now a great friend and mentor who's been helping me ever since. I've been fortunate to have the support I have over the years and am grateful for the Lansing community.”
For more information on Amari & his work visit:
Four artistic entrepreneurs are joining forces
to rise to the top of their industry.
They will be revealed over a 4 week period starting May 13th.
For more information & to follow their reveals visit:
In the history of art & entertainment, there have been memorable groups & factions. Movies had the Rat Pack, Professional Wrestling had the 4 Horseman, Music had The Beatles, and coming this month, the Visual Arts will have The Aces. Four Mid-Michigan based Artistic Entrepreneurs who are some of the best at what they do, and who plan on dominating the arts industry over the next few decades. The 4 Aces of Visual Arts is an Opportunity Arts Conceptual Creation.
Each of The 4 Aces of Visual Arts will be revealed over a 4 week period with 4 individual video vignette events introducing & highlighting each Ace, ending with a 5th video vignette event that will highlight the entire group. Circumstances from the pandemic changed the definition of what “An Event” is from just something you go to, to something you experience from anywhere. The videos vignettes will air on Opportunity Arts’ Facebook & Instagram, as well as permanently on the Opportunity Arts website. Viewers & fans are encouraged to tune in from wherever they are.
The Aces reveal schedule is as follows:
Thursday, May 13th, 6:30pm EST - The Reveal of the Ace of Spades
Thursday, May 20th, 6:30pm EST - The Reveal of the Ace of Clubs
Thursday, May 27th, 6:30pm EST - The Reveal of the Ace of Hearts
Thursday, June 3rd, 6:30pm EST - The Reveal of the Ace of Diamonds
Thursday, June 10th, 6:30pm EST - The Dawn of the Era of the Aces
The video vignettes were created & produced by Paul Schmidt & his company UnoDeuce Multimedia, a local production company who has worked with multiple businesses & non-profit organizations throughout Mid-Michigan.
For more information on The 4 Aces of Visual Arts & to follow their reveals visit:
Claude J.P. is an Illustrator & Graphic Designer from Lansing, MI. He has presented work at multiple events & venues including Shuto Con, Washi Con, Kogan Con, Cedar Street Art Collective, MICA Gallery, Old Town Sidewalk Sale, The Fledge, Great Lakes Arts and Gifts, at the REO Town Outdoor Artisan Market, the MSU Broad, the MSU Broad Art Lab, and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing. Claude studied Graphic Communication at Lansing Community College, where he received his Associates Degree. He is a 4th generation graphic artist and has been featured as a guest on The Fledge’s show Every Damn Day with Jerry Norris, and has his own podcast at www.FromArtToZine.com.
Claude is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Marketing from Davenport University, and lives with his husband and young son. He states in his own words that, “It took me a long while to get used to my own identity which is why so much of my work deals with this theme. I'm a transgender man, gay, am on the spectrum of schizophrenic disorders, and experience disability, and in that way so much of my identity is wrapped up in these facets.” Claude has a natural zest for love and ideas. “When people see my work, I'd like them to think about their own life, love, and dreams.”
To find out more about Claude & his work visit:
Julia Doty is a mixed media artist from Lansing, MI, who's biggest goal is to “light up a little bit of the world” with her art. In addition to her art being available via a variety of websites online, Julia can also be found selling her art at local area market events including Mega Mall Flea Market & Little Red Schoolhouse Flea Market. She also has work on display at Bazonzoes Provisioning Center. A second generation artist, Julia enjoys creating plant themed artwork because as she says, there has not been a single time that she could stay sad around nature. She believes everyone should experience nature & art, and she tries her best to capture that feeling in her work.
To find out more about Julia & her work visit:
Bryan Knickerbocker is a drummer, percussionist, bassist, and podcast host who currently holds endorsement deals with Soultone Cymbals, Collision Drumsticks, & No Nuts Cymbal Sleeves. A Mid-Michigan artistic transplant, Bryan is originally from Madison, WI but currently resides in Eaton Rapids, MI. He has performed as the drummer for Lansing-area band Two-Faced Wilson, and has played multiple venues throughout the Midwest including Mac’s Bar in Lansing, MI, The Crofoot Ballroom in Pontiac, MI, The Music Factory in Battle Creek, MI, The Smokestack Brew in Mishawaka, IN, and The Ruin in Fort Wayne, IN.
A 2nd generation musician, Bryan enjoys partnering with artists for both in studio & live setting sessions. He has collaborated with Elsie Binx out of Detroit, MI, Andrew Ketcham of Let It Rot, and Jammie Bosstel of Praise The Fallen. When not working on his studio project “Diecast Romance”, Bryan can be heard as the host of “Drumming In The Trenches”, a podcast focusing on local & regional drummers. Bryan is a huge KISS fan, and when not performing or honeing his craft, enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 beautiful daughters.
To find out more about Bryan & his work visit:
Sarrah Gani is a professional photographer and owner of Sarrah Photography, a luxury studio space where clients receive a full service photography experience.
Originally from East Lansing, Sarrah specialize in two types of photography; Portrait and Personal Branding. Her mission is to create the most beautiful portraits of her clients that they have ever seen. Sarrah has been photographing people professionally for five years, and has been awarded numerous awards for photographs through the Portrait Masters Competition. Sarrah has studied under her mentor Photographer Sue Bryce, and is extremely meticulous. She provides her clients a consultation to discuss and prepare every detail of the session, including professional hair and makeup services available the day of the shoot. Sarrah guides clients through the entirety of their session to create timeless portraits that will last for generations to come, and personal branding photographs that will help businesses market to their ideal clients.
For more information on Sarrah and her work visit:
Woman-Owned Visual Art Business & Woman-Owned Kombucha Business
Partner to Bring Art & Kombucha to the 127 Corridor
3415 E Saginaw St, Lansing, MI 48912
For More Information Visit:
A creative partnership between two woman-owned businesses is driving traffic & creating place near Frandor. Award Winning Artistic Entrepreneur & Body Painter Sarah Sanders, the owner of Contrasted Content LLC will have her ‘Windows to Eden: A Geometric Landscape Body’ Collection on display at Apple Blossom Kombucha, owned & operated by Caley Gunthorpe, throughout the spring. Sarah’s work can be viewed during Apple Blossom Kombucha’s regular business hours, Tuesday & Thursday from 11am – 6pm. An artist meet & greet is being planned for some time in Spring of 2021, & Sarah plans to appear in a body paint uniquely designed for the event & collection. For more information on the collection & partnership visit www.contrastedcontent.com/windows-to-eden.
Two members of the local business community, a local female artist who wanted to have her art on display & available for purchase, and a local female kombucha business owner who wanted to drive business to her new tap room near Frandor realized they could work together to accomplish both of their goals. “I had this wall space and thought it would be nice to have a local artist display their work,” says Caley Gunthorpe, owner & operator of Apple Blossom Kombucha. Sarah Sanders, an award winning local artists & Lansing Community College graduate, had come highly recommended, and the two worked out the details of the partnership. At that point, Sarah began work on the pieces that would become the ‘Windows to Eden: A Geometric Landscape Body’ Collection, which consists of eight different pieces, split into 2 different sets. It is one of the first, if not the first collection to predominantly feature a form of Gold Leafing in the Capital Region. Sarah wanted to create pieces that not only were unique & stood out, but something that people would gravitate to. “Just like the apple blossom attracts bees to pollinate, I’m hopeful & confident that the ‘Windows to Eden’ Collection will attract patrons to Apple Blossom Kombucha’s tap room,” says Sanders. Visitor can come & enjoy the variety of delicious kombucha that Caley has brewed, while also getting to enjoy the exceptional work of one of the Capital Region community’s award winning artists. Sarah also wants visitors and art enthusiast to know that the collection is available to purchase either individually or as a set.
About The Artist:
Sarah Sanders is a mixed media artist & body painter with extensive experience in installation art, music, mural work, body casting, video art, makeup, photography, frame design, cake decorating, and floral design. She has transferred body paints onto canvas, canvas work onto cupcakes, pastel work into video work, and prides herself on being able to make art versatile with the medium. She is the owner of Contrasted Content LLC, a for profit art business located in Lansing at the Cedar Street Art Collective.
Sarah earned an Associate’s Degree in Arts Foundation, and an Associate’s Degree in Art History from Lansing Community College, where you can also see her work displayed publicly & permanently as the winner of The 2017 Zimmerman Arts Fund Competition. She was also selected as the Cover Artists for the 2020 Social Gap Experiment Creative Anthology. Additionally, Sarah has won The Award of Excellence for outstanding performance and contribution to the 2014-2015 Art Gallery Exhibit & Celebration from Ingham Intermediate School District and Lansing Art Gallery, The Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Arts at Mason High School, and The Outstanding Performance of Excellence in Visual Arts from Mason Public Schools and the Mason City Council. Sarah’s work has also been seen at the Ingham County Fair Art Contest, MSUFCU Art Exhibit, Ingham Intermediate School District, From Soup to Art: A Fundraising Auction for Arts Initiative of Mason, and the Mason Emerging Artist Event & Exhibition. Sarah was born & raised in Mason, MI, Her art studio is located in Lansing. To purchase Sarah’s work, www.contrastedcontent.com
About the Establishment:
Apple Blossom Kombucha makes kombucha as close to the traditional way as possible while sourcing as local as possible. Kombucha is fermented tea. It is lightly bubbly, with a little 'tang'. It is primarily made with green or black tea and is known for probiotic benefits. Apple Blossom uses a blend of teas, MI sugar, and real fruits, vegetables, and herbs from local farmers they know. Apple Blossom Kombucha wants to know where their ingredients come from, and are dedicated to supporting local! In addition to their ingredients being local, all of their design work, bottles, boxes, labels, caps, and much of their equipment is Michigan made as well! Apple Blossom Kombucha works hard to keep things local, because the money spent here, stays here. In addition to their location near Frandor, Apple Blossom Kombucha can be purchased at over a dozen local area eateries, cafés, & beverage establishments.
For more information on the ‘Windows to Eden: A Geometric Landscape Body’ Collection, to purchase one of the pieces or sets, or to inquire about business partnerships with Contrasted Content LLC, contact Sarah directly at:
For more information on Apple Blossom Kombucha visit:
Wil Pruitt is a Vocal Performer, Front Man, & Guitarist working and performing throughout Michigan. Originally from Holt, Wil’s artistic endeavors are based out of Lansing. He has developed his skills playing with multiple bands and experimenting with solo work. Wil is the lead singer & songwriter for the band ‘Deadfoot’ as well as the lead guitarist for the band ‘Handsome Pete’. He is also the former lead guitarist & vocalist for ‘Homespun’.
Wil has played multiple music venues throughout Michigan including UrbanBeat, The Green Door, The Loft, and GameTime. He has also performed solo work and with his band Dedfoot at The Artist’s Umbrella, Mila Lynn’s Inktober Closeout Show, & the 2020 Carnival of the Creatives in Downtown Lansing. Wil credits Chris Cornell, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bill Withers, and Johnny Cash as the major influences in crafting his Bluesy, Soulful, Dirty Rock musical style. When he’s not creating or performing music he’s usually engaged in epic battle via PlayStation.
For more information on Wil & his work visit:
News about Opportunity Arts and it's Affiliates.
Seizing the Opportunity:
The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center Becomes an Opportunity Arts Affiliate.
Seizing the Opportunity:
The Poetry Room with
Masaki Takahashi becomes
Opportunity Arts Affiliates.