All ages welcome to enjoy culture & cuisine from 5-9 p.m.


IMLAY CITY — Now that the COVID situation has smoothed out, Art in the Rough makes a return this Saturday, September 17 from 5-9 p.m.

Hosted by the Downtown Development Authority, Imlay City will be transformed into a hub of arts and culture as artists, musicians and artisan food trucks take to the streets to share their talents and wares.

Musician Laney Morgan will sing her heart out during this year’s Art in the Rough in downtown Imlay City.

This year’s event features two admission options—$20 per person for adults age 21 and up which includes complimentary vouchers for Michigan craft beers and Dizzy Daisy Michigan wines. For $5, student and/or adult visitors can enjoy full admission and one complimenary non-alcoholic beverage.

DDA Director Lorrelei Natke says it’s a thrill to be able to offer the event again after a two year hiatus—though planning has been a bit of a challenge.

“The DDA is more than excited to be able to meet and share with our community and guests,” Natke says. “COVID continues to be a factor in planning on the DDA side, and the availability of artists and vendors. It is almost an every day river of change due to circumstances of COVID.”

Nonetheless, this year’s Art in the Rough will feature more than 20 new and returning artists offering creative works in a variety of mediums. Artworks will be available for purchase as well.

The art will be displayed in ‘pop-up’ galleries in active and vacant storefronts, and underneath tents located on Third Street.

Visitors can also enjoy a hands-on experience via mini pottery classes and demonstrations, and watch a demonstration of the intricate art of glass blowing—both unique experiences for most residents.

“Living in a rural paradise, sometimes it seems difficult to find art, live music and the like,” Natke says. “I like to say Art in the Rough is our way of sharing some cultural ideas and experiences with all ages.”

Featured musician Laney Morgan will perform throughout the event, and visitors can check out the culinary offerings from local food truck vendors.

“The Warsaw Polish Cuisine food truck is new to our event this year, but Ken’s Worthy BBQ—a notable crowd favorite—is returning,” Natke says. “Also joining the food crew is Guac-N-Roll, which has been featured on several occasions at the Farmers Market.”

Speaking of the Farmers Market, Natke says she and DDA assistant Mariya Stout have noticed that area residents are eager to get back out and enjoy the events offered by the DDA now that the COVID situation is leveling out.

“Mariya and I have already had the pleasure of the company of our community during the Imlay City Farmers Markets and all through the DDA Summer Concert Series on Tuesday evenings,” she says. “Being able to share hugs and smiles along with our ice cream has been heartwarming.”

Natke says they hope to enjoy more smiles and hugs this Saturday—along with lots of good vibes for good weather.

“With an event like Art in the Rough there is no backup plan,” she says. “The event will go on regardless of weather. So let’s pray for a fabulous Indian Summer night.”

Art in the Rough runs this Saturday, Sept. 17 from 5-9 p.m. For more information visit or email

Call 810-724-2135 to purchase tickets in advance.