Creative Profile: Cathy Jacobs, Artist


Cathy Jacobs and her artwork

Cathy Jacobs is a working artist who calls herself a weaver and a painter. Ms. Jacobs has been painting since her early childhood, but it was not until 2014 that she learned to weave while in graduate school. It immediately took hold of her imagination. Through weaving, she found that she could express the full spectrum of colors and moods in 3-dimensional space. Her current focus is in weaving panels of linen that, when layered together, create vibrating fields of color.

Ms. Jacobs grew up in Ferndale, Michigan, studied art at Wayne State University in the mid-nineties and graduated with an MFA from Eastern Michigan University in 2015. She has since had her work exhibited at SOFA Expo in Chicago, Architectural Digest Design Show in New York City, and the World of Threads Festival in Ontario, Canada. Her weavings are represented at Next Step Studio and Gallery in Ferndale, Michigan and at State of the Arts Fine Art Gallery in Sarasota, Florida. She lives with her husband, Leonardo, in Ann Arbor and has her studio at Ypsi Alloy Studios in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

What inspires you to create?

The sky, the air, ornate fabric, old photographs

Can you describe your greatest creative achievement?

I don’t believe that any one action or creation has been more important than any other. Continuing to create has been my greatest achievement.

What advice would you give to the next generation of creative people? 

No one else knows what you are capable of. People along the way may tell you no or that you can’t. If you know in your heart that you can, do it anyway.

What one word would you use to describe yourself or the work you do? Sparkly

To see more of Cathy’s artwork visit

slide1_fotoris a series of profiles of creative people throughout the world that I have either shared the stage with or have observed their talents from a far. The questions are my own and their answers are unaltered.

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Kresge Artist Fellows at Will Leather

Wayne State University (WSU) honored all Kresge Artist Fellows that were affiliated with the college either as past student or professor at a private reception last night in Midtown Detroit. This event was coordinated by the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts department.

IMG_1909.JPGWSU is my alma mater and it was an honor to be part of this exhibition as a past Kresge fellow. Several artists, writers and musicians were profiled at the Will Leather store which is located in Midtown Detroit. This exhibition features examples from our artwork and will be on display through the end of November.


President Roy Wilson, Wayne State University

President Roy Wilson, WSU commented about the importance the arts are in Detroit and how this has contributed to the regrowth of Detroit. WSU is dedicated to the arts and I heard that over 40 of the Kresge Artist Fellows were WSU graduates. I want to thank WSU for providing a venue for artists to continue to spread their artistic achievements. I echo President Wilson’s comments about the importance to encourage and embrace arts and culture in Detroit.


Kim Hunter

I played a little music, but for me it was much more enjoyable for me to hear poets/writers like Kim Hunter and Jessica Care Moore share their works. I also ran into Cheryl Alston and Chris Pottinger, part of the 2012 Kresge Artist Fellow class and Frank Pahl, another great musical artist.

Once again, I am thankful for all that being part of the Kresge family has done for me as a musician. Continually it inspires me to create in ways that are new and satisfying as an artist.

IMG_1897.JPGA special thanks to Founder/CEO Will Adler, Will Leather who opened his marvelous store to the arts for this reception. Located in the heart of Midtown Detroit you need to visit this iconic store if you pay our city a visit. Some of the rarest and finest leather goods in the country can be purchased there.

Thank you to WSU team of Dean Matt Seager, Patrick Field, Andrew Morawski, and Laura Orme for honoring and welcoming me to this reception.


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Creative Class: Ann Delisi, WDET


Ann Delisi has been an influential part of Detroit media for more than 20 years. From radio to television to voiceovers, Ann Delisi is a familiar voice to metro Detroiters. A Wayne State grad and former WDET staffer (1983-1995), Ann now hosts a show on WDET that is a fun, contemporary and thoroughly hand-picked approach to music that moves Detroit. Ann will guide us through the “essential music,” both new and familiar, that’s shaping our culture and feature music made in Detroit every hour. Ann’s show also brings you live performances, interviews and special features.
Follow her on Twitter: @anndelisimusic 
What inspires you to create?
Most of my creativity is channeled through the free-form radio program I produce called Essential Music on WDET. The program’s themes and ideas, and the production I create to support those shows, is driven by how I hope the listeners will react when they hear it. I do it for them and they are my inspiration. I think about them every day, with the goal of presenting programs in which they learn something new and are excited by what they hear. Radio is a unique medium because listeners cannot see me, I cannot see the people to whom I broadcast, nor do I have conversations with them unless I interact with them after the show has aired, which is rare. After all these years, I still find it interesting that I research and execute the show entirely alone, but reach thousands of people.

When I am not doing radio, I like to work with my hands working in decorative concrete, photography, cooking, gardening and painting with my sister’s company, Paintwork Detroit. Given that two of her clients are Orchestra Hall and The Fox, it has been exciting to work in those stunning concert halls. All of these artistic outlets have a tangible outcome, unlike my radio work that is basically “air”, these other creative outlets allow me to touch, smell, see and experience the results, sometimes over and over again. My radio work doesn’t provide me with any of those things. That being said, I love radio, its anonymity, its intimacy (people usually listen alone) and its spontaneity. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to do this work…every time I am behind the microphone.

Can you describe your greatest creative achievement?
I suppose my greatest creative achievement is Essential Music which has been on the air for 7 and a half years. Although I have worked in radio since 1983, this show is the culmination of all that I’ve learned and the most creative approach to radio that I’ve employed in all these years. It’s a show that has morphed into something quite different than how it started because I basically let my curiosity and excitement about music guide me and my work. I have such deep appreciation for the listeners who let me try my ideas out on them, come along for the ride, contribute to the shows, praise me when they are inspired and kindly let me know when I missed the mark, yet still tune in the following week to hear what is next. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What advice would you give to the next generation of creative people?
The advice I would give is to allow yourself to be quiet, to think, to create. Some of your best ideas will come during that quiet time. Take risks, challenge yourself and for goodness sakes, strive for excellence. “Okay” should not be okay and there are plenty of people who think it is. Don’t be one of them. Those who see your work and meet you will remember how much you cared, or didn’t care, about them and the work you present to them. I try to do a solid, inspired show every time and sometimes I fall short. When I walk away from a show like that I think about the listeners who might have heard the show for the first time or I think “what if that was the last show I ever did”? It’s a feeling I am not comfortable with so I work hard to avoid it.
What one word would you use to describe yourself or the work you do?
I’m Italian and a radio person, a combination that most definitely lends itself to more words, not less…and certainly not one. That’s all I’ll say about that.

slide1_fotoris a series of profiles of creative people throughout the world that I have either shared the stage with or have observed their talents from a far. The questions are my own and their answers are unaltered.

(Photo and Bio of Ann Delisi is from WDET (
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Creative Class Profiles

As anyone that regularly reads my blogs, they know I initially started this blog as part of my process for creating a film documentary. Since the completion of my film, my blog has expanded into an array of topics centered on stories and ideas centered in the arts.

Today, the creative industry includes much more than arts and culture. Automotive, product design, and the digital revolution – all play important roles. We have a wealth of creative people in this world and sometimes they get overlooked. It is my intent to shed some light and profile more in this industry class.

slide1_fotorHence the name, Creative Class is a new profile series where I feature some of the talented people I have come to know over the years – either by sharing the stage with them or observing their art form from a far.

I have personally reached out to several people and have asked them to answer the following questions:

What inspires you to create?
Can you describe your greatest creative achievement?
What advice would you give to the next generation of creative people?
What one word would you use to describe yourself or the work you do?

In the coming days and weeks, I will feature these people for your reading enjoyment.

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Chaplin’s Pawnshop 100 Year Birthday

the_pawnshopAs we get older, the more we reflect on our past. Depending on where our minds are on a particular day, this could be a good memory or a bad one.

Today I saw a tweet that showed that yesterday (October 2), The Pawnshop staring Charlie Chaplin was released – 100 years ago.

As an avid Chaplin, watching all of the movies he made since I was a child, it is hard to believe the centennial of a number of his films.

Like it was yesterday, I remember going to the local library and checking out several 8mm films (on a weekly basis) and watching them at home. Sometimes on the big screen we had, other times just projecting them on the wall.

Those were good times and those fond memories come back every time I see a Chaplin film. Enjoy the below video!

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Sosy Krikorian Kadian (1928-2016)

Far too often whenever we hear that someone has passed away, we automatically look at 13977849_10210385645066530_583560760_o
their age at the time of their death and evaluate their life by how long they actually lived. I think sometimes we do not look at what they did in that lifetime. A few days ago, the Armenian diaspora community lost a person that was both rich in the years of her life and what she contributed within that lifetime. Her name is Sosy Krikorian Kadian, and to me, she was an influential Armenian woman that brought wealth to her community in the form of Armenian art and culture.

I first met Deegeen (Armenian word for Mrs., used as a term of respect) Sosy when I was somewhere between seven and nine years old. Back in the mid-seventies, my family took a yearly trip to Atlantic City for a week of sun, beach, water and a major dose of being an Armenian. Back then, I was there purely for the beach and water and knew little about what it meant to be an Armenian. I have fond memories of these trips and only wish I was a little older to have fully appreciated them. Music and dancing were a big part of the weekend and you would see the likes of oudist George Mgrdichian and the Fabulous Vosbikian Band performing during the week.

14037393_10210385644946527_1315843811_oProbably my fondest memory of those Atlantic City weeks was the year that Deegeen Sosy put me on stage with a group of young Armenian musicians to play tambourine (that she provided) for one of the afternoon jam sessions in the hotel lobby. My mother and Sosy were friends and I am sure sometime throughout the week it was discussed to put me in a coat and tie and stand in the back with the other musicians and play alongside them. I was told to be professional and not joke or fool around on stage. Possibly my mother, knowing what a ham I could be on any stage, felt this would be a wonderful experience for me — she was right, I immediately fell in love with the music. This was an experience I will never forget. I was so proud to be with these musicians and I was encourage by both my mother and Deegeen Sosy. By the way – those musicians I stood with were the second-generation Vosbikians!

14055708_10210385644986528_977050214_nThis is what Deegeen Sosy did – she preserved and passed along the Armenian cultural traditions. It wasn’t about who had or didn’t have talent to her – it was more important that she exposed the younger generations to our rich heritage. She sang, she danced, she wrote and read poetry, she played music. She passed on the traditions to her children and Armenian children around the country. I am forever thankful she did this for me. I would go on to love our music and its traditions and the rest as they say – is history.

It is gratifying to see the out pour of stories and wonderful memories of Deegeen Sosy online as she touched so many lives both directly and indirectly.

Thanks you Deegeen Sosy for all that you did to preserve our rich and vast culture. You took on the role admirably and it is our turn to pick up and continue the traditions where you left off.

All of these beautfiul photos of Sosy were provided by her daughter, Nvair Kadian Beylerian

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165 Belmont Street, Home of the Oud Maker

If you are an Armenian, Greek, Arab or other ethnicity type musician living in the United States and you have played the oud (Middle Eastern lute), the name Peter Kyvelos is someone you know.


Peter Kyvelos in his shop in Belmont, MA. (photo: National Endowment of the Arts)

Peter is a luthier and by definition a luthier (a French word from the root luth meaning lute) is someone who builds or repairs string instruments generally consisting of a neck and a sound box. This general description doesn’t even begin to capture the artistry of Peter Kyvelos. Simply put – his ouds are some of the finest craftsmanship in the world.

In 1989, Peter received one of the highest honors bestowed onto an artist in the United States – the National Endowment of the Arts Heritage Fellowship, an honor that recognizing an artists excellence and their continuing contribution to their traditional arts heritage.

Over the years, Peter has made close to 200 different ouds. The sound is superior and as any fine oudist will tell you – they can pick out a Kyvelos oud by his distinctive sound, craftsmanship and rosette designs.

Along with his work ouds, Peter has made a career out of making and repairing other stringed instruments, mainly at his shop located in Belmont, Massachusetts.

His shop, after decades of work, recently closed and as his son Nick posted a warm tribute to his father’s store on Facebook:

“After tonight 165 Belmont St will no longer be in our care. It took 7 16ft box trucks to empty out the contents of my dad’s 45 years of work. It may not look like much but this small shop served as a musical instrument store, repair shop, coffee-house, smoke shop, advice place, you name it and dad could/ would do it here. It was and will always be my favorite place! I have been receiving calls and emails lot of old stories about “the shop” all wonderful and make me very happy to see all dad accomplished down there”.

In reading the above quote, I began to reminisce about Peter’s shop and all of the musicians that have stopped at his shop over the many years. I fondly remember the first time I visited Peter’s shop, it was over twenty-five years ago and I was looking for my first kanun and was told Peter had one for sale. My good friend Mal Barsamian took me there and I got to visit the masters workshop and meet Peter for the first time. I remember it like it was yesterday. The shop was amazing. Ouds hanging from the ceiling, violins and other instruments he was repairing. Needless to say, I purchased the kanun and this became my first instrument – which I still have today. You don’t have to be an oud player to respect the work Peter has accomplished over the years.

Kanun mandali

Mandals (metal levers) for a kanun

One day I found out that Peter had even tried his hands at making a kanun. I was starstruck at the thought of having a Kyvelos kanun. For many years, I would tease and “nudge” Peter about when he would make me one. His answer was always “When I find the right mandals, I will do it“. Mandals, or the levers, are the most integral part of a kanun and when I was just starting out to play, I never thought much about it. Over the years, the respect for Peter’s decision grew and it shows you the type of master he is. Sure, he could have made the most ornate, wonderful sounding, long-lasting kanun around – but he recognized that without the perfect set of mandals, the instrument would be worthless and it was not worth ruining the wood craftsmanship if the levers weren’t perfect and the sound wasn’t pristine. That’s Peter, a true professional.

Efcharistó Peter! – for all you have done over the years for all of us. You have made an impact on all of our lives, especially this kanun player.

This video clip features Mal Barsamian performing on one of Peter Kyvelo’s ouds that he made for my brother Keri back in the 1980s. 


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