There are over 130 years of stories and memories from Belle Isle. Share yours here, and come to the art fair to create new ones.
As kids, my cousins and I frequently visited Belle Isle. We loved the Aquarium, big slide and fountain, but our favorite was the Children's Zoo. Our family albums have numerous photos of us on the crescent moon at the Zoo. Those were great times!
My father used to take my sisters and I to Belle Isle to feed bread to the geese. This was before the geese decided they liked Michigan winters and have spread to be a regular sighting. Back 40 years ago, they were more of a novelty than anything. We also found the time to check out the white albino deer that roamed the park when we were there.
My friends and I would be dropped off on the Island and we would spend the day canoeing, with the horses, the aquarium etc. My brother would race his model boat that he built in school and still has to this day!!
My mom and dad would take my brother, sister and I to Belle Isle after picking up a bag of American Coney dogs. We'd sit on the edge of the river and skip rocks. The fountain would be lit up at night with the colored lights and I would think it was different colored water. It's remained as one of my "happy" places throughout my life.
I used to go to Belle Isle for Plein Aire painting with Cranbrook's Community Workshops. People always recognize as Belle Isle.
On my birthday after work I got the best gift! A huge Family of Canadian geese enjoyed the sunset with me. Priceless slice of time!
Growing up in Detroit was very memorable. My earliest memory of being on Belle Isle was when I was about 3 years old. My mom laid a blanket down on the grass, picked me up and laid me on my stomach. I remember that because it was one of the best naps I'd ever had. I remember the laughter of my mom and family enjoying the fresh outdoors of Belle Isle. I remember the sound of cars going by, frisbee players yelling and laughing, food being prepared on the grill.
Going to the College for Creative Studies for four years in Detroit really opened my eyes to many places and opportunities Detroit has to offer, one of them being Belle Isle. I visited the Conservancy many times for class, and for fun, which gave me a chance to escape to nature while living in the city. Much of my work features plants and animals, so having a place nearby to immerse myself for a few hours in greenery was very special.
As a kid going to the conservatory was always a highlight. The big round room with staircase going into a jungle atmosphere was like going to another country Image by Notkalvin Belle
I remember my parents would take us to Belle Isle for family picnics. Always right across from Scott fountain. Loved it.
The first time I was on Belle Island was to try crew. My mother in law is on their crew team and so I had the opportunity to see the island from the water and land. It is an amazing place and Detroit is lucky to have such a cool place.
My parents used to take me to Belle Isle when I was a little girl and I always got to take a pony ride. That's where I got my love of horses. I took my daughter for pony rides when she was little (before they stopped them). Now I take my grandchildren to the zoo and to feed the wild deer.
My father took this photo of my two older sisters, myself and our mother, sitting on the side of the Scott Fountain. This was one of our favorite spots on summer evenings. The fountain seemed to spout water of many different hues and display an impressive light show. We enjoyed picnics, horseback riding, canoeing, visiting the aquarium and more.
Walking by the fountain... Relaxing by the water... Watching the boat's go by... I love the lighthouse and bridges. (This is one of Tina's paintings. See more of her work at the art fair.)
Margaret Spakowski Bontomasi
As a child, I remember taking the bus to Belle Isle. We would get off and walk to the river and the ferry. I think it cost a dime. As a teenager, I remember riding thru the woods at night looking for the "Lady in White". Oh how we would squeal when someone would yell that they saw her and off we went. (This ferry photo is from an old postcard)
Lester is one of the artists represented at the show. Come see his sensitive and loving vision of Detroit. (The background image is one of Lester's paintings available at the show)
Come see Judy's art at the Belle Isle Art Fair. While she has been an educator and artist for decades, this will be her first professional art fair.
As children, our mother would take us to Belle Isle. In the summer we would ride the elephant. She would take home a pail of composted elephant dung for our garden. In the winter our parents would bring us to the ice skating pavilion, and watch us from the car in the parking lot. (This image is far older than Louise's memory but we like it anyway)
Photographer Omari Norman will be joining the art fair as part of the Mint Artists Guild Tent. The guild works with local high school artists to show them how they could create a living in the arts. Seven of their participants will be showing and selling their work at the park.
Alanna St. Laurent
Alanna's first visit to the park was with a photography class and some of her first images were of the fountain. She returns throughout each year to capture different images as the climate and sunshine alter the look. Many of the photos will be on display and sale at the show.
The first time I saw the Scott Fountain. I was 4 or 5. I wanted to go play in the water. Mom & Dad had other ideas. We saw the aquarium and drove around the island. That was the best day I ever had. (Photo by Vickie Elmer is not of Timothy but of a recent joyful young visitor to the fountain)
Vickie Elmer & Mark Loeb
Vickie and I love Belle Isle and Detroit, so it was appropriate that we decided to get married at one of the shelters on May Day, 2013. It was a beautiful ceremony, where the guests were invited to participate. Following the vows Vickie had a clown lead her off to have her face painted. The photos of the day include this ornamentation. What a lovely place to share an important occasion with the people I love.