Daytrips in northern Michigan: Bier Gallery

Posted on June 8, 2009

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Recently I had to make a trip to Charlevoix, which took me right past one of my favorite places: the Bier Gallery, the little red schoolhouse with a watch rabbit on the lawn. But what the heck was that on top of the wellhouse? 

Bier Gallery with Bill Allen's watch rabbit

Critters on the wellhouse

Ray Bier explained.  He wanted to get some of the smaller outdoor sculptures out of the enormous snowpiles of the past winter, so he parked a couple on the wellhouse, meaning to take them down in the spring.  But it turns out that Bill Allen’s bullfrog and Rod Bearup’s tortoise perched up there draw visitors to the gallery as if by irresistible magnetism.  What the heck . . . they say to themselves, and the next thing they know they’re buying jewelry and dinnerware. Or a large sculpture. If I had a truck I think I’d buy Bearup’s pensive hare. Or his pal the tortoise if Ray can figure out how to get him down from the wellhouse roof. OK, a truck and somewhat more elegant landscaping around the Writing Studio and Bait Shop.

Rod Bearup's pensive hare

Tortoise by Rod Bearup

There was plenty of news. Tami Bier has created a Noah’s Ark that is a worthy addition to her earlier Nativity collection.  It’s so new that there’s no photo on the gallery website yet, so you’re getting a scoop here. Better go see it in person, though. This is but a pale sketch of the original.

Tami Bier's new Noah's Ark

Ray and Tami’s son Tyler Bier and his partner Anna Farrell are doing fine work in clay. One of their guitars is on the poster for this year’s Art Rapids!, a juried fine art show in Elk Rapids (June 27 from 10am-4pm in Memorial Park).  They have their own corner at the Bier Gallery—you can preview that below—and a decidedly whimsical bent. You should see their checkers game, their dumpster diving kitty, their fine string of fish. And so you shall, if I can ever get caught up on my post backlog. Think of it: young people, setting out on a career in the arts. Betty Beeby will be proud.

ArtRapids poster

Work by Tyler Bier and Anna Farrell

Finally, the moment I saw Bill Allen’s camelopard I thought of Lois Ann Hernquist, who taught me the word in the first place, and of Barbara Higgins, who would probably like to have this fellow on the deck at Simply Hair.

Bill Allen's giraffe and Rod Bearup's raven