Wanting to put a personal spin on it, I solicited some art from a few talented staff members. The Raven seems to attract the creative sort, and we have artists, musicians and crafty folks coming out of the woodwork (see what I did there?). The only direction I gave them when commissioning the pieces was “women empowerment”, and they did not disappoint! The pieces vary in style, medium and message.
Monday, April 10th was our official kick off and let me just say, wow! The response has been overwhelming (in good ways and bad). The very first day a gentleman came in and donated $40 to the cause while speaking fondly of his daughter. Just this morning I witnessed two gentleman filling out postcards! I’m humbled by the fact that men are involved and passionate about the cause. Being a feminist means “equality for all”, and I imagine these men possibly have mothers, sisters, and/or daughters that have had a positive influence in their lives. Who wouldn’t want get behind the idea of “women’s rights”, right?
Well… there have been some naysaysers online, so I want to be very clear with this campaign’s intention: it is to give a voice to those who have concerns. The postcards are blank and can be personalized in a way that is meaningful to the author. Personally, and ESPECIALLY as a business, we understand that we all walk our own paths, and we would not be so discourteous as to insist that you follow ours. The campaign is to provide a vehicle for folks who choose to voice their opinions, be they on the left, right, in the middle, up, down, sideways, or any other orientation.
If you are not local but interested in purchasing a print or postcards, do have them available on our Cafe Press page.
There’s always a new adventure when stepping foot into the Raven Cafe. Everywhere you turn there is a book in view, yearning for you to open and enjoy with your coffee. There are mysteries and escapades right at your fingertips, ready for you to grasp and escape from reality. We are constantly looking for new ways to improve that experience and keep the adventure alive. One of our dearly beloved Raven family members, Ian “Tacoslayer” Haas, brought up this wonderful idea of having a “Blind Date with a Book.”
Therefore, I have gone through our library and picked out books from random sections to contribute to this project. They are all wrapped in the same kraft paper and have reviews from real-life bookworms that state what might pique your interest and find out what’s behind the enigmatic wrapping without giving away the actual title.
These treasures are priced at $3 and will initially be displayed on our “Featured” shelf located behind the couches. It currently has a selection of “love” inspired books. Ultimately, the Blind Date books will be located in the sections where they would be usually shelved. While this may give the genre away, the rest is up to you to uncover. Look around, read the reviews, find one that provokes something inside of you and take flight!
The wonderful thing about books is their power to take you away to somewhere profoundly new and riveting, somewhere only you and your imagination can go, so why not let it? Open your mind and go on a Blind Date with a Book!
We have new artists displaying their work at the Raven. In addition, we have purchased a few new thought-provoking prints centered on social commentary. I have also pulled a few of my old dusty peaches out of the archive to hang. For me, art is like a child: I create it, I love it and then I send it out to the world.
As an ambitious young pup I was fortunate enough to be aided by members of the community to get my work out there and sold. This kindness has stayed with me and now, as a business owner with lots of expendable wall space, I love to have original art up. To pay it forward, when an artist sells work at the Raven the business does not take a commission. Only 10% goes to the employee who facilitates the selling of the piece, the rest goes to the artist.
Artists currently showing work in our Café include:
Warren Doss – Painter, welder, musician… a real renaissance man!
Carol Mason (MASON MADE) – A resident of Croswell who makes all sorts of arts and crafts (often aided by her handy husband Dean Mason), including decorated wooden boxes, candles, jewelry, wearables and so much more.
Cecil Williams – The Blue Water Area’s crown prince of stained glass, Cecil has pencil drawings on display as well. He has entire series hanging in the Raven’s upper-level balcony . The current series illustrates seminal Detroit rockers the MC5 in saint-like depiction.
Joanie Parmann Roehl – Marysville High School art teacher and resident, Joanie has been making art for many years. She along with her students are responsible for many of the gorgeous murals at Marysville High.
Lee Hillis – Marysville resident and stained glass enthusiast. Lee has been dabbling in art since high school. Over a year ago she apprenticed under Cecil Williams at Studio 1219 and fell in love with the stained glass medium.
John Henry – An AMAZING artist, and dear friend of ours, John recently passed away and gifted us a few Poe-inspired pieces before he died. He has an posthumous art show coming up July 5 – 29, 2016 at Studio 1219.
Jody Parmann (me) – Port Huron resident, co-owner of the Raven and Marketing Specialist. I’ve been making art since I can remember. I work in many mediums and many styles. It’s just fun to get messy, and sometimes I make cool stuff in the process.
Technically it’s not missing, per se, we’re getting a new one! The old girl was up there for many years doing us proud, but she needed to be put out to roost, so to speak.
We’re having local blacksmith/wood carving artist Rick Russel create a new one for us. You’ve probably seen his work around town and didn’t know it. He’s one of the artists responsible for the gorgeous leafy railings in front of Studio 1219, the art gallery just down the road from the Raven.
Originally from Marysville, Michigan, Rick has traveled the northwest as a young man and apprenticed under a prolific metal smith in Oregon. He is currently the VP at a fencing and fabrication company in Warren. He’s a busy guy, as you can imagine, so he only occasionally gets to indulge in fine arts projects such as this. The projects that excite him are the ones that beautify his hometown and present unique challenges for him as an artist.
Stay tuned – we’ll keep you updated as our new raven nears completion.
Recently when I came into work and saw a beat-up box with a note saying “scrapbook coming soon for these”, I couldn’t help but take some time to look at what was inside. In the box were pictures and post cards either from Michigan or being sent to Michigan. I couldn’t contain my excitement looking through the large pile knowing that I would to be the first to see them, read their messages and have the privilege to assemble them into a book.
The photo album cover says “Life Is Meant to be Shared” and the cards fit perfectly in it. Between the old, yet elegant, pictures ranging from portraits to ships to scenery, I became nostalgic for bygone times, and I have no doubt that our patrons will feel the same. The pictures are simply breathtaking! One that caught my immediate attention was of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park. What a sight! Every man was wearing a suit and the women were decked out in elegant dresses. The greenery stood tall and proud as if it were straight out of a Robert Frost poem.
I can’t wait to add this to the library and see the impact it has on the Raven’s customers. It will be kept on the shelf for over-sized books located on the upper level balcony. I would love to see our patrons scroll through these magical pages and find that the pictures tickle their insides as they did mine.
Plus, there are about twelve postcards of kittens, from the Port Huron area nonetheless. Honestly, who could resist that?!
P.S. Postcards were donated to us by the Salvation Army located at 729 Howard St., Port Huron, Michigan.
ARE WE NOT LIKE TWO VOLUMES OF ONE BOOK? The Raven Cafe has partnered with Literacy and Beyond to help their vision.
Literacy and Beyond is an organization focused on improving the reading skills and educational outcomes of at-risk children and their families whilst addressing the non-academic barriers that hinder their success.
This organization gives away over 7,500 books EVERY YEAR to students in the Port Huron area who are working hard to improve their reading skill…s. (WOW! Talk about improving the community!)
Showing your support of Literacy and Beyond’s mission is as easy as 1, 2,3!
- Take a blank bookmark from one of the mugs throughout our cafe.
- Draw, color, doodle, or write inspirational messages. Whatever your creative mind can muster!
- When you are done simply put your finished art back into the mug.
The bookmarks are collected and distributed to local students by Literacy and Beyond.
This is truly a match made in heaven for us here at the Raven Cafe, and we look forward to the support and art that our patrons provide!
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” –Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis