Artfully Aware: Flint Trading Co. celebrates one year

Artfully Aware: Flint Trading Co. celebrates one year

There’s a link between jewelry and storytelling, just ask Flint Trading Co. founder and artist Walter Robert McAdow, who alongside his wife, Meghan, are celebrating a year of art in the Flint community. But it’s not your typical art gallery or space – think of it as a repository of story, where life interprets art.

Described on its website as “a unique gallery experience that makes art and good design accessible by featuring limited edition art objects and home goods from local and regional artisans as well as fine jewelry designed and handcrafted in the city of Flint,” for McAdow, the key word is “accessible.” When artworks sell for thousands (sometimes millions), having a place – and space – to acquire affordable, and even “personal” art, is one of Flint Trading Co.’s goals.

Detroit artist Sara Lutz surveys her artwork on the walls in one of the showrooms before the first anniversary party for Flint Trading Co. in downtown Flint. Photo by Tim Galloway Photography

“We want people to be able to come in, enjoy art, and if they want something, actually be able to buy it,” McAdow says.

They highlight a different artist’s work each month, which has included Detroit artist, Clinton Snider (whose work has been featured at the DIA), jeweler and millinery artist Brianna Kenyon (her hats have been featured in major films such as The Hunger Games), and others. You can also find McAdow’s work, and a collection of Flint natives, as well as Michigan natives.

Flint resident and owner of Flint Trading Co., Robert McAdow, inspects a ring setting before cleaning it during the first anniversary party for Flint Trading Co. Photo by Tim Galloway Photography

McAdow moved from Ferndale to Flint because it has a certain possibility, like Ferndale, of becoming a culturally vibrant “it” city. His gallery wants to reflect some of that energy and promise.

“You know how museums are expanding their gift stores,” he says. With Flint Trading Co., he adds, “it’s a combination of both those things in one. It’s right there with the artist’s work,” so you’re getting the artwork and any accessories related – and created – by the artist.

Robert McAdow, right, chats with artist Sara Lutz (not pictured) and Stephanie Brochert (left) during the first anniversary party for Flint Trading Co. in downtown Flint. Photo by Tim Galloway Photography

The self-professed storyteller has a background in psychology, but the sciences were not sufficient enough for him to fully express the human condition, his custom jewelry fills this void.

“I use my medium to do pieces of jewelry to tell whatever story we want to tell,” McAdow says. “The fun about doing the custom jewelry is that I’m trying to tell a specific story …it’s just a matter of what that story is …”

Megan McAdow (left) Stephanie Brochert and Sara Lutz chat after Brochert makes a purchase during the first anniversary party for Flint Trading Co. Photo by Tim Galloway Photography

While he understands the reality of more expensive pieces of art, in Flint, the perspective is a little different. “Here, money can’t buy you everything. People have a different set of values. I have nothing against bling, (but) it’s great to be able to tell stories.”

You can come to Flint Trading Co. for a wide variety of things, featured artists, limited production pieces, custom jewelry and more, but really, it’s the location and the surrounding community that truly shines for McAdow.

“It’s got that creative flair,” he says. “I come here as a fresh face, and a new way of looking at things.”

Paintings created by Sara Lutz adorn the walls in one of the showrooms at Flint Trading Company. Photo by Tim Galloway Photography

For more information, call 810-820-7119 or visit You can also check out some of the art on Instagram. Flint Trading Co. is located at 629 1/2 S. Saginaw Street, Flint, MI 48502. 

Artist Sara Lutz Snethkamp earned her BFA at the renowned Savannah College of Art and Design, graduating “summa cum laude” with majors in Painting and Museum Studies. Sara currently lives and works in Detroit, Michigan. Find artwork and art-inspired apparel and accessories at

This small business feature is sponsored by Bank of America. To learn more about Bank of America’s many programs and resources visit:


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