Milan, MI

Opening Doors to the World Around Us

Have you ever seen a cow with a camera? If you’ve been to Chicago or New York, you may have seen her or one of her friends out and about in the city. Generously spread throughout public places such as train stations, important avenues, and parks, these fiberglass cows are painted and decorated by local artists, for the enjoyment of those who live, work and play there. The painted cows add an unexpected pop of art and texture to the familiar landscape we are used to seeing.

Milan Main Street put their own spin on this concept, claiming, “You don’t have to be a Picasso to participate. There is an artist inside all of us.”

I took them up on the offer. I’ve been itching to exercise this part of my creativity and knew as soon as I read about the project I wanted to participate. They partnered with the Milan Area Chamber to produce The Great ARTdoors, the largest community art project that the little town of Milan, Michigan has ever experienced.

Doors could be purchased directly or patrons had an opportunity to purchase a door for a local artist in need to paint. Painting could be done on-site during studio hours, or you could take your door home. Once completed and collected, the doors were displayed around town for about 3 months. 

I ended up painting a monochromatic line piece of an owl in a bare tree. Accompanied by the waning crescent moon, she is patiently rooted to her surroundings to observe the changing night, knowing the sun will rise just the same the next morning.

Join our community in celebrating the end of the door display in Milan on Thursday, October 21st. The closing reception will include an auction of participating doors that have been donated to the event. A portion of the proceeds will go to the important community work of Aid in Milan. 

These out loud displays of individual creativity are bringing life and culture back to nature, something we have the opportunity to do everyday!  As we awake each morning and plan our day we get to choose how we will interact with the world around us — whether it is through creating art, enjoying nature by taking a walk, or engaging in conversation over coffee. While at times we feel like we are looking at the world from a distance, we must realize we are “part of the world” and what we do matters! So take that moment each morning to think about how your actions will impact the world around you.

So I say, “Nature creates its own patterns, and we bring to life the experiences during our time here.”

In what ways can you incorporate your individual creativity into everyday life? Think about it like adding a little salt on top of a delicious meal, just enough to liven up the flavor.


“You don’t have to be a Picasso to participate.

There is an artist inside all of us.”

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