An artist’s vision spawns the Maple Arcade in downtown Clawson

Two Floridians lured to Michigan by the University of Michigan and the special degree she could obtain there, have not only decided to stay in Michigan after falling in love with Clawson but have opened an art gallery that wants to show off the unexpected talents of Michigan artists.

Maple Arcade opened last week at 38 E. 14 Mile Road in downtown Clawson after months of frustrating renovations but high hopes that the cool and quality vibe of downtown Clawson will let their gallery join the success stories of Clawson establishments like Leon & Lulu and Noble Fish.

Maple Arcade owner Jeffrey Bowman and his wife, Emily, moved to Michigan from Florida two and a half years ago so that she could work on a master of science information degree at U-M. She works as an information architect at Organic Inc.

“We both really liked Ferndale..It’s more of a younger type thing, more art, music,” he said. “But we couldn’t find the house with the yard we wanted. I didn’t even know about Clawson…I thought it was Royal Oak. We found this awesome house..
And after they started exploring “we fell in love with the place instantly…We started to eat at the restaurants, got know the owners, got to know the mailman and instantly got to know like six neighbors,” he recalled.

The weekend after they moved, during the citywide garage sale, they strolled around the block and saw the vacant spot that would become Maple Arcade, which takes its name from Maple (for their dog, not the street) and from the time when arcade was also a place that housed artwork.

“We live a few blocks from the downtown strip,” Bowman said. When we saw this place, I was like, ‘look at this cool little place. Wouldn’t it be awesome for a store?’ “

A few months later they bought it and began the renovations to make it a showcase for all kinds of art. He is a painter himself and has sold works around the country.

“What I’m trying to do here is open a gallery of Michigan based artists and give a more out of the box type of place, not your standard, the stuff you expect to see,” he says. “A lot of people who come in here, their first thing is, “Ooooh.” Thats the kind of thing you want…You want things that people haven’t seen.”

Currently artist Zack Green’s work is on display.

His bigger plans as he makes more connections with artists are to attract visitors to a multidimensional gallery, where they participate in podcasts with artists, see artists at work.

“We’ll have the freedom to shut the shop dow, change it up,” he said. “We want this to be a different kind of experience that’s about the great art we have here.”

Writer: Kim North Shine
Source: Jeffrey Bowman, owner, Maple Arcade