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C2C Gallery owner captures community-oriented award

Marie Havenga • Mar 10, 2017 at 10:00 AM

Cyndi Casemier says she never set out to win awards, but her life's work has led to just that.

Casemier, owner of C2C Gallery in downtown Grand Haven, has been awarded a Local Motion Award from the Grand Rapids-based Local First of West Michigan non-profit organization.

Local Motion awards are given to organizations for their commitment to social, environmental and economic responsibility, according to the Local First website.

“It was a surprise,” Casemier said. “They are really trying to promote businesses that do good for their community in a variety of ways.”

Casemier said when she was filling out the paperwork for the award, she realized she had done much more than she realized.

“I've organized a lot of things for a lot of different groups,” she said.

That includes Friday Art Hops. Every first Friday of the month, she hosts a local musician and offers free music to the public. She also hosts an artist in-store.

“The artist can meet people and talk about their craft,” Casemier said. “It helps to promote their art to the community.”

Casemier also organized an ArtWalk field trip for fourth-graders.

“We have the students go to the largest venues and see artwork, then answer a series of questions about the art and do a project,” she explained. “We did an art project in Central Park with 470 students — interactive dance movement and singing. We had them create iPad movies one year.”

In 2012, Casemier organized the Grand Haven High School ceramic show.

“We had three other artists and myself jury student work in ceramic and jewelry,” she said.

Casemier hosted the winner at the art gallery and invited the public to attend. Student musicians performed during the event. The juried art then was displayed in downtown storefronts.

Casemier said the Local Motion award will help promote C2C gallery as “a gem along the Lakeshore.” She said it will also spur her into future projects.

“It makes me think about how do I raise the bar,” she said. “What do we do next that's good for the community?”

She's already working on another project with the Downtown Main Street group acquiring public sculptures.

“The goal is to have 3-6 rotating sculptural pieces in our downtown area,” Casemier said. “We're working on finding new artwork for this coming year.”

The focus is on Michigan artists. Pieces currently are in place in front of Hostetter's and in Centertown.

Casemier is also serving on a panel that will be selecting student artwork for “Save the Catwalk” banners, and she said she plans to continue her community-minded ways.

“I like meeting people and I like knowing what's happening in our town,” she said. “I like participating in projects that make our community a better one.”

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