Torrey Gray is a music producer, and hip-hop artist that appreciates the craft for the trait it was created through: Versatility. He feels he is at his best when he’s tapped into the freedom of sound and genre exploration. The founder of Define Detroit, Torrey has become a fixture in the underground music scene of multiple cities throughout Michigan.
Torrey grew up in Detroit and Downriver in Southeast Michigan. He was raised by his mother, who in addition to being a single mom, also served in the US Army during his youth. She introduced him to music from the MP3 player she brought back from overseas containing a variety of music her fellow soldiers had uploaded. This would be the foundation for Torrey’s love of music. Throughout high school Torrey played the Baritone and Tuba for orchestra and marching band while also taking piano lessons.
After high school, Torrey attended Henry Ford College as a graphic design major. He began spending time with artists and developed cover art and various forms of promotional content, ultimately leading him back to creating music. He would go on to study at The Art Institute and the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. Following in his mother’s footsteps, Torrey would join the US Armed Forces, and currently serves in the US Air National Guard.
Torrey has performed for his fellow service members at a US military base in the Kingdom of Jordan. He has also performed here in the United States at the College for Creative Studies, multiple Artist’s Umbrella events in Lansing, in collaboration with visual artist Mila Lynn for Inktober 2020, and at the Enjoy Detroit’s 7th Annual Barbecue Event. He has been featured in The Palm Reader, & on the Nate & Drew Podcast. With intentions to help others do what he loves to do, Torrey created & founded Define Detroit in 2019 as a platform to showcase some of Michigan’s hidden talents, and provide opportunities that may not be available otherwise.
Torrey has produced music in his home studio in Detroit, as well as running sessions for artists at GameTime in Auburn Hills, MI. Torrey has had the opportunity to collaborate with a variety of professional artists & musicians including Kyle Mack, Dominique Mary Davis, Swam Lewis, & Bryce the Third. When not making music or helping others make music, Torrey enjoys playing Playstation games under the Shooter and Action RPG genres.
For more information on Torrey & his work visit:
Cedar Street Art Collective was founded in 2017 with a mission to promote local artists and build a venue where artists can show and sell their work. Under the managerial direction of Annie Signs, and the creative direction of sculptor Andrew Sandstedt, Cedar Street Art Collective has established itself as Michigan’s “Visual Arts Motown” with creative studio space for up to 14 artists. Some of the Artists in Residence at Cedar Street Art Collective include mixed media artist & body painter Sarah Sanders, painter Tod C. Parkhill, interdisciplinary artist Moira Maloney, sculptor & oil painter Justin Troisi, paleontology artist Charlie Worthington, photographer Jona Lee, mixed media artist Anne Wojtkowski, illustrator & painter Emily Kibbe, abstract expressionist Svitlana Martynjuk, fantasy artist Lucy Synk, & Hula Hooper Nat Spinz.
Located in the old Dicker & Deal location at 1701 S. Cedar Street, The Cedar Street Art Collective houses two galleries and creative retail space in addition to their artist studios. The collective also hosts drop-in & virtual art, life drawing, hooping, & dance classes, as well as special events & pop up markets. They have hosted the Michigan State University MFA Graduate Show, and multiple fundraisers for local non-profit organizations. The Mayor’s Arts & Culture Commission, as well as the Arts Council of Greater Lansing have both presented events at Cedar Street Art Collective.
For more information on Cedar Street Art Collective, their work, the work of their resident artists, or to inquire about rental space and classes, contact Annie Signs at (517) 402-2497 or visit:
Autumn Hopkins is a mixed media artist & illustrator who is also knowledgeable in printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, mixed media, wood making, & sewing. Born and raised in her favorite city, Lansing, MI, Autumn currently lives in East Lansing where she is pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from Michigan State University. Her work has been presented locally at Old Town ArtFeast, at Michigan State University, where her ceramic work was selected for the Undergraduate Art Show, and at The Artist’s Umbrella, where she has been the speed painting champion on multiple occasions.
Autumn can create work that is more consumer focused and targeted toward what people want to decorate their homes, or purchase for their loved ones, as well as doing commercial work such as creating logos for new growing businesses. She also has a passion for collaboration having recently created artwork for multiple professional writers, and hopes to one day collaborate with other artists in her community on a mural project. When not creating art for someone else, Autumn finds comfort in creating art that is more personally satisfying to her, and that helps her grow as an artist.
Autumn comes from a family of artists & creatives, and in 2017, she was inspired to start Aura Lee Gallery in memory of her grandmother Oralie who was an extremely talented individual, who in Autumn’s words “never really got to show the world what she was capable of.” She continues, “My grandmother struggled with her own personal demons, but when she created art it was always something so beautiful and happy. I found inspiration in her ability to find beautiful moments even during something that seemed daunting.” To honor her grandmother, Autumn sells artistic works that bring happiness and love to people, and work that connects to them on a personal level.
Autumn’s Aunt Sarah has also served as an idol & mentor, and Autumn credits her with helping her become a better artist & person. Autumn believes she would not be who she is today if it were not for the influences within her family. Much like how Autumn’s grandmother & aunt have inspired her, Autumn hopes to inspire her 9 younger siblings to follow their dreams, love what they do, follow their instincts, and to create their own future.
For more information on Autumn and her work visit:
Lithic Creations is a women owned, Michigan based jewelry & precious stone business founded in 2019 by Danielle Smith, along with her parents, Steve & Robin Smith. Lithic Creations focuses on creating one of a kind jewelry from stones while providing stone work including slabs, specimens and collectables. Whenever you purchase a piece from Lithic Creations’ collection, the company provides you with information about where your piece came from, and how it was made. There is a unique story behind every piece they create. This has built a customer base that values the pieces they purchase, not just for their quality, but for the knowledge they gain of where their pieces come from.
A large number of Lithic Creations collections consist of stones indigenous to Michigan, and they pride themselves on showcasing the beauty of their home state. They also use recycled materials, and they recycle their scrap metal back into their production creating a sustainable business that is environmentally conscious. Each piece is custom cut & custom wrapped, even if it comes from the same stone or slab, insuring that when you purchase one of Lithic Creations’ pieces, you will be the only one who has it. In addition, while some of the wire wraps are silver plated, every ring and pendant is set in .925 sterling silver. Lithic Creations also offers custom sizing to ensure that your piece fits just the way you like it. They also offer free shipping on any & all orders.
Danielle & Robin also has a passion for giving back to the community that has helped them grow their business. They do this by having Lithic Creations sponsor many local charity organizations & charity auctions. They also partner with other businesses & creative entities to help give emerging artists & stone workers a platform to showcase their skills in gem stone cutting, wire wrapping, polishing and setting, while providing them knowledge to help their creativity grow.
For more information on Lithic Creations or to purchase their abundance of one of a kind products, visit: www.lithiccreation.com.
Opportunity Arts is proud to announce that Hannah Vercelote has joined the team as the new Director of Social Media. Hannah will be handling the social media creation, engagement, & management for Opportunity Arts Affiliates & Clients. Hannah is proficient on a variety of social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, & TikTok.
Currently residing in the City of Chicago, Hannah received a Bachelor’s Degree with a focus in Public Relations from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL in 2016. Since then, she has worked in social media in the Chicagoland Market, and has worked on social media projects for companies including The Hertz Corporation, Erb Equipment Company, & Home Run Inn Pizza.
When Hannah isn’t busy advancing her career & the careers & followings of her clients, she enjoys watching Netflix, and spending time with her boyfriend, & two adorable cats!
Quote from Mike Marriott, Owner of Opportunity Arts:
“We are very excited to have Hannah join the Opportunity Arts family. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in social media & experience in the industry that I think is going to be extremely advantageous for us as a company, allowing us to provide a higher standard of social media services. I also believe that having Hannah on our team is going to be immensely beneficial to the artists & creatives who trust us to handle their social media needs.”
Quote from Hannah Vercelote, Director of Social Media for Opportunity Arts:
"I'm extremely excited to be joining the Opportunity Arts family, and I'm grateful to be a part of an organization that cares so much about artists and creatives. I'm looking forward to being able to grow Opportunity Arts and myself in this position."
Melina Brann is an emerging acrylic painter who wants to make sure that Black women are portrayed as beautiful as they are. Originally from Battle Creek, MI, Melina now calls Lansing home. Before coming to Lansing, Melina studied art at Grand Valley State University in Allendale. Her work has been viewed & purchased at local arts & crafts shows. Melina is passionate not just about her work, but the reasoning behind it:
“Growing up, and even now, I didn’t see people who looked like me represented in art and I wanted to change that. As a biracial woman, painting portraits of Black women is one of the ways I celebrate and connect with my ancestors and community.” ~ Melina Brann
When not creating art, Melina spends her time serving her community as the Executive Director of the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing.
For more information on Melina and her work visit:
Opportunity Arts is proud to announce 517 Living as our newest business partner. 517 Living (www.517Living.com) is the quintessential community calendar for events & happenings in Mid-Michigan. Their Mission is to connect Lansing Area adventurers with unique, life-enhancing events and activities hosted by local businesses and organizations. If you represent a local business or organization you can add your event to the calendar, simply by going to their website (www.517Living.com) and clicking the green "Post Your Event" button above the calendar. This service is 100% free. Join their community and invite your friends!
In addition to the calendar, 517 Living also facilitates a Facebook group (www.facebook.com/groups/1660456644277339/) with over 26,000 members who share events, seek recommendations, and promote businesses, artists, and non-profit organizations. The group is designed to connect Mid-Michiganders with local businesses, organizations, places, events, activities, goods, services, opportunities, ideas, people, & experiences. The group is a "Good Vibes Only" zone, and 517 Living asks that you keep this in mind when posting, "reacting," and commenting.
Kristine E. Brickey is an author and writer of fiction that confronts real-life issues and subject matter. She has authored 2 published novels; Flowers for Rodney & They Said She Was Crazy. Born and raised in Michigan, Kristine currently resides in Mason. Kristine holds a Master’s in Reading from Michigan State University and is a 2006 Red Cedar Writing Project graduate. Kristine retired after 30 years of teaching and currently works as the Red Cedar Writing Project’s Writing Events Coordinator; the co-lead for Fiction 440 & Mid-Michigan Word Gatherers, and develops and facilitates writing retreats, workshops, marathons, and other events.
Kristine has performed & presented her work throughout Michigan & the United States including: New Orleans Writing Marathon, the Grand Rapids Women’s Expo, The Artist’s Umbrella, Fiction 440, the East Lansing Art Festival Main Stage, Mason CADL, Bestseller’s Books, Everybody Reads Books & More, Art at the Lakeshore Festival, Made in Michigan Art Festival, Authorpalooza, and dozens of other Michigan events featuring artists and authors. She has also been featured for her writing at MMWG Conferences, as the luncheon speaker at the 2017 Michigan Council of Teachers of English Conference, a featured author/speaker at the Michigan Reading Association Summer Conference, and presented at the National Council of Teachers of English in Baltimore, MD.
She has been featured for her work in the Lansing State Journal, Ingham Today, The Record, The Okemos High School Press, and Louisiana Literature Journal. After each summer session of the New Orleans Writing Marathon, the Directors choose only a few pieces to feature during a radio broadcast. Kristine’s work has been chosen every year she has attended. During the NOWM, she has also had the opportunity to write and collaborate with writing greats Kim Stafford and Poet Laureate, Jack Bedell. In addition to her esteem as a writer, Kristine was also named the 2017 Michigan Council of Teachers of English Middle School Teacher of the Year.
For more information on Kristine & her work visit:
Photo by LivProductions/ Painting by Bob Rose
The Artist’s Umbrella Presents
The Shelter in Place Artists Showcase
Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 at 7:00pm Eastern
Virtual Production on www.facebook.com/artistsumbrella/
(Lansing, MI) – Multi-continental award winning & New York based Operatic/Vocal Performer Stephano Andreotti will Headline the Artist’s Umbrella’s upcoming virtual production “The Shelter in Place Artists Showcase on Wednesday, May 27th at 7pm Eastern Time via Facebook Live. The bill will also include additional artists from around the United States, as well as some of the Lansing Region’s top talent. The event is FREE to view, however the Artist’s Umbrella encourages you to donate the normal cost for a ticket ($10.00) to Mid-Michigan Non-Profit EVE: End Violent Encounters via the online donation link.
The Artist’s Umbrella, who will celebrate their one year anniversary next month, has established itself as Mid-Michigan’s Premiere Variety Show. The show is normally the last Wednesday of every month live from The Loft, but with Covid-19 preventing the show from occurring at their regular venue, the organization had to get creative. “With the performing arts world going virtual, it gave us a great opportunity to feature talent that under normal circumstances may not have the time in their schedule to get to Lansing from New York for a mid-week show,” said Brandon Navin, Creator, Founder, & Executive Director of the Artist’s Umbrella. “We are very excited to have Stephano Andreotti as our Headliner!”
Stephano Andreotti is the 2017 winner of the Festival of Song USA Competition in Brooklyn, NY, and the winner of both the classical & musical theatre categories of the 2018 National Association of Teachers of Singing Competition. He is also the Overall Talent winner of the 2020 Talent-Inc USA Competition in Orlando, FL. In addition to his many awards, Stephano has performed in various concerts across the United States and Europe, including at the Red River Lyric Opera, the Castello Ristonchi in Pelago, Italy, and at the 2017 Cantamare in Palermo, Sicily.
The connection between Stephano Andreotti & the Artist’s Umbrella was facilitated by Opportunity Arts, a Lansing based Arts Promotion Company owned by Mike Marriott, who worked in the NYC Arts Scene before moving to Lansing two and a half years ago. “Both Stephano, and the Artist’s Umbrella are Opportunity Arts Affiliates, and I saw the chance with the virtual platform for one of my top New York clients to headline a show for one of my top Michigan clients,” said Marriott. “It’s a great chance for Mid-Michigan art lovers to see talent they would normally have to travel to New York to see, and with Stephano’s following in New York, and throughout Europe that will be tuning in, it’s a great opportunity for our Michigan & Lansing based talent to be seen by performing arts lovers & industry professionals from around the world.”
The lineup for the show is stacked with Michigan talent including musicians Matt Niven, Sarah Vedolich, Will Pruitt, & Scotty B with Earl Carr, poets Grace Carras, Morgan Madden, & Dan Feister, and storytellers Melissa F. Kaelin & Allison Spooner. The show will also feature Texas based professional dancer Katie Rowan, another talent that was only available via the virtual platform. There will also be a DIY Cocktail created by Bartender Jim Henson. The show will include content from the Artist’s Umbrella’s community partners including Downtown Lansing Inc., Carter & Cruz’s Silly Socks & Accessories, Lithic Creations, & Preuss Pets. In addition to performing, Allison Spooner will also be hosting the show, while the newest member of the Artist’s Umbrella brain-trust, Director of Art and Production, and artistic activist Roxy Hayes-Brown will be acting as the stage manager for this ambitious undertaking.
For more information on The Artist’s Umbrellas visit:
For more information on Headliner Stephano Andreotti visit:
To Support & Donate to EVE: End Violent Encounters visit:
Mila Lynn is a multi-disciplinary visual artist who specializes in collage, painting, and caricature art. Growing up, and currently residing in Lansing, MI, Mila has studied & presented art both nationally & abroad, including at Wimbledon Art Studio in London, England. While in London, she also had the opportunity to work alongside, share studio space, & brainstorm creative ideas with esteemed British abstract painter Allan Storer. Mila also commissioned, and presented her first solo exhibit, the Repurpose Project at Factory 114 in Tampa, FL in the summer of 2019.
The granddaughter of a professional jazz musician, creativity is in Mila’s blood. Her father taught her how to draw when she was a child, and she began studying other forms of visual art in middle school. When she picked up a paint brush again as an adult, she wasn’t expecting it to take her as far as it has. She is extremely grateful that she has been able to turn a childhood activity in to a blossoming professional career.
Mila loves working & creating visual art to a wide array of music, and she tries to tone the music to whatever creative project she is working on at the time. Through this process, her energy is focused on that specific theme, and is ultimately transferred into whatever she creates.
Mila has a passion & love of creation on every level, and one of her greatest gifts is her ability to visualize something and bring it to life through her art.
For more information on Mila and her 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.