Fresh Waves 2021: Meet the Artists

We are only a few weeks away from Fresh Waves 2021, the third of year of the project created to bring vibrant, one-of-a-kind artwork to Downtown Alpena lead by the Alpena Downtown Development Authority (DDA).

This year, eight artists will complete twelve pieces of artwork on free-stranding structures near the entrance to the Alpena Boat Harbor on Harbor Drive. The majority of painting will take place between July 15- July 25 to correspond with the Alpena Brown Trout Festival, but some artists will get working on their pieces as early as this week!

The structures for Fresh Waves 2021. Artwork will be painted on both sides of the panels, visible from the street and the parking lot. Photo by Kingsli Kraft.

Earlier this year, artists were able to apply and submit concepts of the artwork they would complete. The Alpena DDA Marketing & Promotions Committee reviewed applications and selected the following eight artists and twelve pieces of artwork to be completed as part of this year’s project.

You can learn more about each artist below, which includes their own words about who they are as an artist and why they applied to be a part of Fresh Waves in Downtown Alpena.

Angelina Villalobos | Seattle, Washington

Pieces: Dragon, Color Jungle

My name is Angelina Villalobos, pseudonym 179. I grew up in Seattle, Washington within a mosaic of cultures and ideas. I was raised Americanized Mexican Catholic, so my work mixes the elements of this merged with graffiti, anime, comics, and fairytales. I’ve created something quite unique indicative of the Pacific Northwest. The inspiration for my body of work are stories humans have created to explain the unknown; tales about animals and their wit especially peak my interest. I like to start a story with a character as a prompt for the viewer’s imagination, like a waiting cat or swimming fish. I want people to view the art and then complete the story within their own imagination, participating in the storytelling and creating a personal connection to the art.

Last year I had the immense pleasure to travel to Flint, Michigan to paint for The Flint Mural Project. This was the first time I participated in a mural festival that’s primary focus is to connect to the community through art and it was such a beautiful experience. I want to continue this mission in 2021 and bring a little bit of Seattle to the places I visit with the hopes of bringing a part back with me. I truly think art exchanges are a wonderful way of learning about each other.

Artwork completed by artist Angelina Villalobos for past commissions and projects. Photos by Angelina Villalobos.

Danyeal Dorr | Alpena, Michigan

Pieces: Falling Water, Dual Shore

I’m a bit of a traditional artist sticking to elements of realism in my work. I do like to play with things such as duality, color, whiplash lines, geometric forms along with the human figure. I do have an academic background focusing on the history of art and a variety of mediums including how to use them. Recently I have been playing with texture as well as organic super curvilinear line(s) within my artwork. I have worked on a few large scale mural paintings with friends but have not created any murals solo.

I am interested in being involved in the Fresh Waves in Downtown Alpena as an opportunity to create something to brighten up a blank space and share something I created with others. Such a project would in addition help me grow as an artist.

Hope Reed | Alpena, Michigan

Piece: A Sign of Peace

I’m ready to share this newfound strength, joy, and peace with others, hoping that seeds may flourish. I believe that “Fresh Waves” may be perfect soil to plant such seeds alongside many other talented artists.
Style description: Figurative, Surrealism, with intrigues of Zentangle, all while incorporating high uses of negative space working with gestalt.

From the moment that all of our lives changed in a unison way this past year, peace is what we have sought from the beginning. A dove is a universal sign of peace that can be identified and embraced, no matter where you may be in life.

Artwork by Hope Reed. Photos by Hope Reed.

Justin Christensen-Cooper | Alpena, Michigan

Piece: Sunrise

I find enjoyment in many mediums, as well as teaching skills to others. Through my undergraduate work at Michigan State University, I found a passion for both 3D and 2D works of art. I believe murals can cross the line of both styles. A mural is 2D in presentation, but 3D in feeling and space they can occupy. Giving an encompassing feel when viewing them. A mural has the power of bringing people together and becoming a gathering space for the purpose and appreciation of art.

I have been fortunate to be involved in the development of a large-scale mural already in downtown Alpena, but have also been inspired by the work of the DDA in bringing in more vibrancy and beautification to our downtown through the Fresh Waves project. I find that the imagery in my prospective design is both recognizable but also abstract enough for the viewer to make up their own interpretation, which is exactly why art should be created in the first place. For the consumer to create their own connection and meaning for appreciation.

Mariah Brancheau | Lachine, Michigan

Piece: Summer

I love my beautiful hometown of Alpena, Michigan and every program the DDA puts out to benefit and beautify the city is so important. I enjoy trying and experimenting with new projects and adding my own flair to popular styles.. this mural project would be a beautiful way to branch out into the art of largescale painting. I would love to leave my mark on my hometown by painting a mural through the Fresh Waves project.

My design ideas for the mural project would be to incorporate the colors, vibrancy, and emotion of Alpena into artwork. Photographs are important to every generation and something colorful would be the perfect backdrop to a photo… For me, the artwork brings to mind summers spent in Alpena, downtown, and at the beach.

The artist Mariah Brancheau and photos of her work as part of Lovely Little Lettering Co. Photos by Mariah Brancheau.

Samantha Freske | Posen, Michigan

Pieces: Branches, An Order of Hope

Whenever working on a project, I like to leave my work open to interpretation. I grab my inspiration from many different aspects in life and like to promote inspiration and thought onto the viewer as well as comfort and piece. Many times I like to take a negative and turn it into a positive and let my work come naturally.

Sarah Bedford | Alpena, Michigan

Piece: Rise

I am an art educator with a BFA in Fine Arts, a Masters in Education, and 18 additional credits towards an M.A. I have been teaching for 12 years between Ann Arbor and Alpena. I strongly support community arts and try to involve students whenever possible. I believe it is the role of public arts to enliven and give an aesthetic pride to a region… Artistically, I’m drawn to large scale pieces, and work in a larger scale whenever possible. I am motivated by the kinesthetic value of doing so. I would look forward to the challenge of working large scale, and the opportunity to do so with the community being uplifted by art.

The mural references the Sunrise Side, but also conveys the sense of the changes in our world over the last year and a half, and the theme “RISE” is a reflection of the positivity of moving onward and upward with reverence and recognition of the past.  I also feel the bright colors lend themselves well to the Summer landscape, but also provide a pop of color if the boards remain standing over the gray winter time.

Tiffany Tracey | Alpena, Michigan

Pieces: Valor, Hold On

I’m a self-taught artist and direct most of my efforts toward watercolors, acrylics,
drawing, and hand-lettering. Most of my work is made simply for the pleasure of
creating it, but I also have a small business through which I make hand-lettered signs
and art. I enjoy exploring different styles while continuing to learn and develop my
skills. I’m drawn to art that is transportive and emotional, as well as art that is fun and

Fresh Waves has enriched not only the visible parts of our town, but also our identity.
This initiative is a perfect fit for Alpena because it doesn’t feel like something that is
new and out-of-place; rather, the murals seem to bring out and enhance a spirit that is
already here. It would be an honor to have the opportunity to contribute to the heart
and soul of Alpena in this way.

Artwork by Tiffany Tracey as part of Signed & Sealed. Photos by Tiffany Tracey.

Fresh Waves 2021 is the third year of the Alpena DDA’s Fresh Waves project. You can learn more about the project and past year’s murals by clicking here. Artwork will be completed by artists beginning this week and finishing up July 25. You can view the panels and progress on Harbor Drive near the entrance to the Alpena Boat Harbor or catch updates on Downtown Alpena’s Facebook page.

Anne Gentry is Executive Director of the Alpena Downtown Development Authority. Make sure to give follow Blog Downtown Alpena for more updates on downtown happenings, events, and news.

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