Artist Nancy Pitel inspects the 4-foot apple she painted as part of MI Apple Trail. The apple will be displayed at the Farmer’s Market until Sept. 15. All apples will then be displayed at Eastern Market in Detroit.
Artist paints statue for farmers market
By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – A local sculpture is giving new meaning to the adage “you are what you eat.”
Since it appeared at the Wyandotte Farmer’s Market last week, a four-foot-tall apple statue featuring scenes of life around the city has inspired some viewers to see their own faces staring back at them.
“A couple people think they see themselves in it,” artist Nancy Pitel said. “I’m sure a couple people are in it.”
The sculpture, part of Detroit Estern Market and gan Apple Committee’s MI Apple Trail, is one of 20 displayed at farmer’s markets in Dearborn, Detroit, Garden City and other cities. After they are displayed at markets through Sept. 15, the apples will be displayed at Eastern Market in Detroit, where they will be auctioned off Oct. 14 with proceeds supporting local farmer’s markets.
People can also vote for their favorite apples to win prizes in categories including a “people’s choice” at miappletrail.com.
It took Pitel six weeks to paint the apple, after borrowing photos from city events – from the Roosevelt High School Bears state championship hockey win to the annual Street Art Fair – from Wyandotte Downtown Development Authority Director Natalie Rankine.
The sculpture includes scenes of the downtown district, the well-known clock tower and historical museums and renditions of snapshots from everyday life, but Pitel said she was most inspired by the famer’s market.
“People come to the farmer’s market and they’re not just buying vegetables,” she said. “They’re meeting friends. I wanted to show community, and Wyandotte’s got it.”
Pitel, who lives in Southgate, is a former Wyandotte resident with a deep love for the city. She supports herself completely by selling her artwork at Riverside Art Gallery, among other venues.
Like with the apple sculpture, most of her work is inspired by people.
“I’m a people watcher,” she said. “It puts pictures in my head.”
She said the most challenging aspect of the project was completing it in her garage in 100-degree weather, which caused some of the paint to chip. She hopes some touch ups before the apple is exhibit will help.
She said she also wished she had time to include more of Wyandotte’s more recognizable businesses and architecture, but overall, she’s been pleased with the response the sculpture has been getting.
“They’re very happy,” she said. “It represents their hometown. It’s not self-serving, it means something.”