The Chronicle first heard about Doug Kelley’s collection of Obama folk art when we met him at a health care forum last month, so when we learned that he’d be exhibiting part of it at the annual Ann Arbor Democratic Party‘s Labor Day picnic, we headed to the Elks Pratt Lodge on Monday to check it out.
The collection – two pairs of dolls, a quilted hanging, a hook rug, a walking stick, and several other items – includes original, somewhat eccentric work by artists from Ann Arbor and across the country.
Kelley gives frequent exhibits from his extensive Democratic Party archive – on Oct. 3, he’ll be displaying a collection of items related to voting rights at the annual meeting of the Washtenaw County Democratic Party. That meeting will feature civil rights activist John Lewis as guest speaker. But the Labor Day display was unique in at least one way: “It’s the first exhibit I’ve ever done that offers free peanuts,” Kelley said, pointing to a plastic dish filled with nuts for the taking.
So as rank-and-file Dems noshed and mingled with elected officials on the wraparound porch of the Elks lodge, we chatted with Kelley about some of the more unusual pieces he’s acquired.