Whitepine Studios is Igniting Saline's Artistic Renaissance


Owner Kaili Dence

By Carleen Nelson-Nesvig

In the downtown district of Saline, an artistic transformation is underway, and at its heart stands Whitepine Studios. Founded by the Dence family, who have a profound passion for art and creativity, this art gallery has recently embarked on a journey of growth, relocating to a more expansive venue just across the street from its modest beginnings. Join us as we delve into the rich history of Whitepine Studios, meet some of the exceptional artists who call it home, and explore the distinctive world of art it offers.

Whitepine Studios made its debut in the summer of 2021, unveiling a modest 900-square-foot space to the artistic community. Initially, the gallery's focus was on art classes designed to accommodate individuals of all ages, from children to seniors, and even those with special needs. A hallmark feature of the establishment is its mobile studio, a pioneering concept that travels to senior communities, home schools, and businesses dismantling barriers and making art accessible to all.

Artist Linda Kortesoja Klenczar and Saline Mayor Brian Marl at Whitepine’s Oct. 13 open house.

Whitepine Studio is a Woman owned business with a vision to create an Art Gallery conceived from a collective dream nurtured by the Dence family. Kaili Dence, the Creative Director, Randy Dence, the Marketing Director, Joanne Dence, the Managing Director, and Tyler Dence the Technical Director all bring their unique talents and passions to the table. Tyler and Kaili are the adult children of Randy and Joanne.

At the core of this artistic haven is Kaili Dence, who has played an instrumental role in shaping Whitepine Studios’ remarkable ascent. A graduate of the UM class of 2020, Kaili's influence extends beyond her artistic prowess. She is reshaping the landscape of art instruction and experience.

Artist Mike Perrat

Amid the global transition to virtual learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kaili recognized the limitations of online art classes. It became evident that students yearned for a more personalized and engaging experience. This epiphany ignited the spark for a physical space where people could wholly immerse themselves in the realm of art.

Kaili's commitment to art instruction has been the driving force behind Whitepine Studios' remarkable rise. Her fervor for teaching and her mission to make art accessible to individuals of all ages and skill levels have been fundamental to the gallery's evolution. It is through Kaili’s imagination and ability to connect with students that Whitepine Studios developed their unique tagline “Inspiring the Artist Inside”.

A resident of Saline for two decades, Kaili's artistic journey commenced at an early age. Her ambition to become an artist spurred her to focus on technique, resulting in a distinctive representational style that sets her work apart. Nature, people, and wildlife serve as her primary sources of inspiration. Kaili's academic journey, including a BFA from the University of Michigan's Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and additional studies in figure drawing and fresco painting in Florence, Italy, have further enriched her artistic prowess.

Whitepine Studios has taken a monumental stride by relocating to a more spacious and inviting space at 105 W. Michigan Avenue in Saline. This new locale features an event venue, an art gallery, and a welcoming reception area, all housed within a historic building in the heart of Saline's Main Street District.

The newly renovated, open design of the Gallery at Whitepine Studios sets the stage for Midwest artists to showcase their talents and connect with art enthusiasts and collectors. Whether you are an experienced art enthusiast or a casual visitor, Whitepine Studios extends a warm invitation to all to explore the captivating world of art and creativity.

For more information, visit Whitepines Studios' website at https://whitepinestudios.org or reach out via email at info@whitepinestudios.org. You can also find them on Facebook at @whitepinestudiosart. Don't miss the opportunity to experience the joy of art at this blossoming art gallery in the heart of Saline.

Photos by Carleen Nelson-Nesvig

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