By Jennifer VandeZande

November is, for many of us, the cue to glare skyward and shake our fists at the gloom overhead. For we, in Mid Michigan, are fully aware that whether we're ready for it or not, with the flip of that calendar page, winter is already well on its way. While you may find yourself bristling at the thought of those endless morning commutes and that inevitable bout with seasonal affective disorder, consider for a moment the diminutive beauty that lies deep within the season's drifts.

This month Creative 360 Gallery in Midland opened its latest exhibit, Crystals and Wonder, The Art and Science of Snowflakes. The show, developed by Creative 360's program committee, showcases the work of 32 area artists and includes paintings, pottery and sculpture, all having to do with that endlessly fascinating little gift of nature. Marilyn L. Wheaton, director of Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, and Gina Malczewski, Ph.D., of the Dow Corning Corporation, juried the exhibit and awarded the following prizes during the opening reception held November 12.

Best in Show: Cynthia Keefe, The Amazing, Magical, Mystical, Crystal Making Machine. (Mixed media assemblage.)

Best Photograph: Marilyn Soules, Window Frost 1

Best 2-D/Tie: Surle Lee, Soft is the Morn (Ink and Acrylic.)

Best2-D/Tie: Pat Smith, Snowflake (Interior Crystal)

Midland artist and research scientist Arnold Kolb was invited to join the exhibit by Creative 360 staff and has eight pieces on display from his collection, Microvisions: The Art of Inner Space. Kolb comes to his art scientifically. He joined Dow Corning's research staff in 1947 and it was he that initiated applications of the microscope there in 1949. In 1952 he became interested in the artistic qualities of ordinary materials as an art form. The pieces on display as part of this show include a colorful mix of abstract macro-color prints of crystals and bubbles, all of which were captured through microphotography. According to Kolb, his work focuses on the realm of inner space—the microstructures seen inside of natural and synthetic materials that we hold in our hands every day.

Crystals and Wonder, The Art and Science of the Snowflake will be on display through January 29 at the Creative 360 Gallery, located at 1517 Bayliss in Midland. Exhibit hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm weekdays, and while there is no charge for gallery visits, donations are always gratefully accepted. For more information, visit

© Jennifer VandeZande, 2010