Wise are the parents who embrace and foster young talent. And lucky are their offspring – those who thrive and blossom because of it. Not every artist is the product of this type of nurturing, but photographer Megan Kelynack is blessed to be one.
She says that she was able to cultivate her curiosity in art from a very young age because of her family’s creative roots.
“My dad is a painter and my mom is a photographer,” says Kelynack, who will showcase and sell her work at Saturday’s Westside Art Hop. “My dad gave me the space to play and experiment with painting and drawing tools and my mom encouraged the creative expression.
They were always observant, supportive, and engaged with my interest in art.”
Kelynack ran with this encouragement early in life, beginning at a young age what has become a career with work that’s now world-renowned. She was the recipient of two fine arts’ grants – honors that allowed her to study painting in Milan, Italy and painting and drawing methods in Graz, Austria.
“In Austria, I attended a painting and drawing workshop organized by my watercolor and figure drawing professor, Lou Rizzolo of WMU. In this workshop, we mainly painted figures in the studio and took several day excursions into the city of Graz and surrounding areas to observe and paint the scenery.”
And so it continued. Kelynack graduated in 2004 from WMU with a BFA in painting and minor in English. “I went on to pursue various teaching opportunities and have since obtained two masters degrees.”
Kelynack has traveled abroad for teaching and artistic endeavors. She has been a teacher of the arts and humanities in Michigan, China, and South Africa and has traveled for photographic assignments to New York, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, the United Kingdom and Costa Rica.
An artist and an educator, she received an opportunity to teach English in Guizhou province where she picked up the camera for the first time to document the people and places I observed while traveling.
“What made these photographs particularly unique was the fact that Guizhou is well-known for its rural villages and rich ethnic diversity. In particular, the Miao and Dong minorities live in this region and many of my students were from one of these two groups. Also during my studies at OU, I began researching international teaching opportunities and discovered a teaching assignment in Cape Town, South Africa. I taught in Cape Town for three years before deciding to return to the States to study Education Policy & Leadership at UofM.
Kelynack has exhibited her photography, painting, and printmaking work in Michigan, USA and Graz, Austria. She’s looking forward to the Westside Art Hop, especially its unique pedestrian aspect.
“The Art Hop is an excellent initiative to bring the community together and to provide a well-rounded art experience for anyone looking to explore the character of the city and neighborhoods on foot.”
More information on Megan Kelynack and her work:
WESTSIDE ART HOP
Multiply your fall colors and enjoy high quality art and crafts on the West Side of Ann Arbor at the annual Westside Art Hop, a local art walk in neighborhood homes, studios, porches, garages and yards on Saturday, Oct 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. In a friendly, neighborhood atmosphere, you can stroll around and explore artwork ranging from cards and gifts at $3 or $4, to spectacular fine art at $500 and up. Westside Art Hop is easily walkable, with venues from First Street to Soule, mostly housing two or more artists – the largest with about 10 exhibitors is at Gretchen’s House Childcare Center, 700 Mount Vernon Ave, 48103. Art Hop maps are available online and local street signage provided a few days ahead. Parking is easy, on street or at Eberwhite or Bach schools – more options on the map online.