Teacher Spotlight: The Red Door Gallery’s Amanda and Nathan. 

June 30, 2021

Teacher Spotlight: The Red Door Gallery’s Amanda and Nathan. 

By Kate Krieger-Watkins, staff writer.

Teacher Spotlight is a presentation of Shelby State Bank, with offices in Ludington, Pentwater, Shelby, Hart, Hesperia, Manistee, Montague, Whitehall, North Muskegon, and Fruitport. 

LUDINGTON – A love for art brought local artists together and through their passion for art, turned them into a family. Ludington residents and local artists, Amanda St. Hilaire and Nathan Grubich met while doing what they love doing the most: art. 

Nathan received a bachelor of fine arts degree (BFA) from the University of Eastern Kentucky and Amanda received a BFA from University or NC Wilmington.

“We met at Arrowmont: The School of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee, where Nathan was doing his residency and I was a studio assistant,” Amanda said.

The two own The Red Door Gallery, 416 S. James Street and have been creating and teaching art for over 20 years. Although their gallery space has moved around town, they have always remained in Ludington, sharing their artistic abilities with others.

“We opened June of 2002,” Amanda said. “We opened the gallery literally a month and a half after I graduated from college and Nathan wrapped up his residency. We had fallen in love and dreamt up a plan of how we could be together, work, and fulfill our dreams of making art. And so, The Red Door came to life. We have been teaching classes here at The Red Door since we opened close to 20 years ago. We both also taught children and adult workshops at various places prior to that as well.”

Amanda and Nathan believe art in any form needs to be respected and they teach classes as one way to let people experience different art forms, no matter what age the student may be.

“We feel art is important for many reasons,” Amanda said. “It’s an outlet for so many people. It’s a way to express themselves in a way that maybe they can’t with words. It’s also all around us. Good art and design are why we buy certain products, why we want to listen to certain music, or watch certain series. Art is everywhere and one of the biggest influences on our daily decisions whether we know it or not. We need to continue to educate the public that an artists’ ideas are valuable and to be respected. Whether it’s music, the visual arts, literature, or all mediums, it is unique and not for the taking. We feel in a world driven by social media and pictures exchanged it’s a constant battle to ask people to respect the arts and not to feel like others’ ideas are for the taking. It’s become a daily conversation.”

The Red Door Gallery will be hosting classes this summer for children who are interested in learning more about art or for those who already have a passion for it.

Summer Art Camp will have two different sessions. Session I will be held 9:30-11 a.m., July 19-23 at the Red Door Gallery and the suggested ages are 5- to 9-year-olds. Session II is 9:30-11 a.m., July 26-30 and suggested ages are 8- to-11-year-olds. 

“These two sessions are an exploration of a variety of mediums and materials,” Amanda said. “The young artist will be experiencing projects using clay, paint, print making and collage to execute one of kind works of art.”

The classes are $110 per student per session and all materials are included.

Nathan will be holding Clay Camp, 9:30-11 a.m., August 2-6 at the Red Door Gallery, suggested ages are 9- to-14-year-olds.

“This is a messy and exciting week with Mr. Nathan creating art with clay,” Amanda said. “A number of hand building techniques will be taught along with firings experienced. Be prepared to stretch your imagination and get down and dirty. This session is $120 for the week and includes all materials.”

Amanda and Nathan continue to work hard to create new ideas for classes and projects to keep the gallery on the cutting edge of what’s happening in the art world and they encourage all their young students the follow their passions and learn how to make their ideas into a reality.

“We always tell our art students that there is no such thing as a starving artist unless you choose to be one,” Amanda said. “Work hard and be passionate about what you make, and the rest will come. It’s like any other profession. Whether you’re a farmer, a doctor, a writer, etc., you need to work hard and bring something different to the table.”
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