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Listen to the interview with Doug Sjoquist

Album art is on display at the Bonifas Arts Center. Doug Sjoquist said the Golden Age of Album Covers exhibit features album art from the late 1960s to early 80s.

"Early artwork on album covers when were characterized by portrait photography and boring, conventional lettering styles. This exhibit really illustrates how the emphasis was on artwork rather than on photography. It's a celebration of artwork and I think that's really worth exhibiting," said Sjoquist.

The exhibit shows the influence that art played at the time and the part that musicians played in marketing their music through art.

Sjoquist began his album cover collection in the 1960's when he played in a high school band in Gladstone and needed to use the music to learn the songs. He continued to add to the collection throughout his life.
It's important to recall the era of album art, Sjoquist said, because it's no longer a part of music.

"You can download your favorite music and not see any artwork. Also, when we had CD's come into the marketplace in the early 1980's you are losing a nice venue for aesthetic enjoyment and art expression, I think, by missing out on all this," he said.

A reception will be held tonight at the Bonifas at 6 p.m. with live music. Sjoquist will talk about the album covers starting at 7 p.m. and music trivia will begin at 7:30 at Hereford and Hops.

The exhibit runs through Oct. 24.


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Everyone is welcome to come to the Bonifas Arts Center for a night of fun and music on Thursday, Aug. 30 for the opening of the “Golden Age of Album Covers” exhibit.

The exhibit, which will be on display from Aug. 30 through Wednesday, Oct. 24 in the Alice Powers Gallery, is an amazing collection of 80 iconic album covers.

These album covers represent how original artwork was used for the first time to not only illustrate and advertise the music in these albums, but how it added value by enhancing the meaning of the music.

“The Golden Age of Album Covers,” curated by retired humanities professor and former Bay College instructor, Doug Sjoquist, presents a format for exploring the changing times and culture reflected in the music.

The evening starts with live music from 6 – 7 p.m., as Doug’s brother Bill Sjoquist and George Sailor (members of the Jam Band) play acoustic music selections from 1967-1983, reflecting the timeframe featured in the exhibit. The gallery will, also, be open at this time.

Then, from 7 – 7:30 p.m., Doug Sjoquist will conduct a gallery walk and share with us some of the political and social settings in which this music was produced and the artwork reflects.

The gallery walk will provide visitors an opportunity to meet Doug Sjoquist and learn more about how record companies used art history to market and sell contemporary bands and music.

“This collection will take viewers back in time to when record companies used art history to market and sell contemporary bands and music,” says Bonifas Gallery and Regional Projects Director Pasqua Warstler. "Since he was a freshman at NMU when he saw for the first time, the album, ‘In the Court of the Crimson King,’ Doug Sjoquist has been collecting the colorful, creative album covers that incorporated work of famous artists and addressed the conceptual content of the music being offered.”

A free music trivia event (with prizes awarded) follows at 7:30 p.m. across the street at Hereford & Hops Restaurant. People are encouraged to come and see what they remember with trivia questions playing into the same time period – the late 60s – early 80s!


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Listen to the Interview with Dennis Dufek

The "Area Code 906" exhibit at the Bonifas Studio Gallery is Dennis Defek’s first show as an artist. He is the recipient of the 2018 Membership Show Award that included an individual show.

Dufek says the exhibit is a new transition for him as he shows what he has spent doing during his spare time. Dufek is a recently retired police officer.

He is a self-taught artist who has honed his skills in taxidermy, drawing, painting and carving through his love and keen observations of nature. His fish carvings are new for him.

“They take a lot of time. The piece that won the Membership Show I had over 200 hours into that one so it takes a long time,” Dufek said.

Dufek admits that the felt a little bit of pressure to put a show together. Most of the pieces shown are new.

“Because it was like ‘ok, you won, we’re going to do this a month from now.’ And I’m going, ‘Oh, I don’t have enough pieces.’ So I had to make sure I had 20 pieces done and I was able to get a bunch of them done on time,” he said.

Dufek said it’s hard to pick which area he likes working in best although most of his work includes painting.

"I like working best in watercolor, pen and ink and pencil so the majority of my work is watercolor and pen and ink,” said Dufek.

But he also likes to see the fish emerge from the wood. And the deer mounts from his home are special to him.

Dufek now his sights set on the Northern Exposure exhibit this fall. He plans to enter some paintings and wood carvings in the annual regional exhibit.

"We’ll see where it goes from here. Maybe it will be a great journey, maybe it will be ‘of well, I gave it a good try,’” he said.

Dufek’s exhibit will be on display in the Studio Gallery through Sept. 6.

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Listen to the interview with artist Jim Finlan and attorney Russ Hall

A large mural was unveiled Wednesday on the side of the law offices of DeGrand, Reardon & Hall in Escanaba.
Artist Jim Finlan says he is glad to be a part of beautifying downtown Escanaba.

"This is wonderful," Finlan said during the unveiling. "This is what I had a dream of doing since I came back here in 1998. I saw all these blank walls a I went, 'We need something here.'"

Art students Kaylee Hubert and Tyler Welch assisted Finlan on the project.

The mural includes a silhouette of the Sand Point Lighthouse inside the shape of the Upper Peninsula. It includes the state motto in Latin, Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice.

"It's in Latin which is very influential in law. It gets people thinking. I really like the motto because it gives beauty to this peninsula and what this is all about," said Finlan.

Attorney Russ Hall said he likes the motto in Latin. He likes the shape of the U.P. too.

"We had to put something there and I'm into maps and the U.P. and we thought the state motto would be something fun for the community to see so why not make it something a little more exciting than a big mural that says law office. We are happy with it, Hall said.

The mural was funded by a Prosperous Places Placemaking grant from CUPPAD and the Bonifas Arts Center. The law office and Escanaba Downtown Clean Up provided supplies, Bosk Equipment Rental supplied the scaffolding, and the Delta County Historical Society offer the use of the image of the lighthouse.

Sue Roll, executive director at the Bonifas, said they would like to see more of this type of mural art in Escanaba.

Every year, the Bonifas offers an ArtScene class for students to participate on a mural in the community.

This year, the group did a wildlife mural at the Escanaba Department of Natural Resources office.
By the way, the state motto is "If you are seeking a pleasant peninsula, look about you."


Fall is right around the corner, and with older kids going back to school soon, it’s a great time for the parents to keep youngest kids’ minds developing and little hands busy with fun classes. This fall, the Bonifas Arts Center is offering toddler and preschool art and music classes in a playful and stimulating environment for young kids to grow as creative, unique individuals.

Bonifas Toddler Art Classes
Join the Bonifas for creative play activities and music fun in the Toddler Art Classes, taught by Lorne Watson, a professional musician and teacher. These classes combine fun and learning to nurture imagination, assist in problem solving and help develop motor skills. Art stations and music provide hands-on activities in these classes.

Register for Toddler Art »

The fee for toddlers (mobile to age 3) and their caregivers is $5 per day or $32 for the seven-week session. Registration is due by Friday, Sept. 7 with the classes being held from 9:30-10:15 a.m. on the following Thursdays: Sept. 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25, and the second session being held on Nov. 1, 8, 15 and 29 (skips Thanksgiving), and Dec. 6, 13, and 20. Please note the 30 minute time change for this class from last spring.

New Preschool Art and Music Workshop
In addition, a new workshop, also taught by Lorne Watson, offers a guided and joyful experience in the Bonifas Gallery for preschool-aged children and their caregivers. Young artists will explore layering, textures, and colors in varied mediums such as paint, clay and drawing. Their imaginations will grow through individual and collaborative projects based in art-play, storytelling and music. This class meets for a six-week session on Thursdays, Sept. 13, 20, 27, Oct. 4, 11, and 18 from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m.

Register for Preschool Art and Music »

The preschool art and music workshop is for students age 4 – 5 with an adult, and costs just $45 for the entire Session. Registration is due for each class by Sept. 13. This is not a walk-in class and space is limited, so please register in advance. To register for the toddler or preschool classes, contact the Bonifas at 906-786-3833 or use the link above.


Get your tickets for the Fall Raffle for the Bonifas Arts Center.

This year’s prizes are;

The drawing will be held at the Business After-Hours on December 12 at the Bonifas Arts Center.

Tickets are on sale now $5 each or 5 for $20. Tickets are available at the Bonifas Arts Center.


Discovering host Brian Whitens at 906 Outdoors visited the "Crossing the Straits" exhibit and gallery reception at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island. The artwork is on it's way to ArtPrize in Grand Rapids Sept. 19.

Whitens talked with Pasqua Warstler with the Bonifas Arts Center, artist and Northern Michigan University instructor Brian Kakas, Finlandia University instructer Denise Vandeville, artist Levi Grannis, artist Rose Peltier, artist Carol Irving, artist and Mackinac Arts Council Director Philip Rice, artist Peg Sandin and Jacklyn Arnest with Venue Tower Apartments.


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Listen to the interview with Jacklyn Arnest

When the 46 artists from the Upper Peninsula display their artwork at ArtPrize in September, most will be at the Venue Tower Apartments, a building in downtown Grand Rapids.

Jacklyn Arnest, director of marketing with DTN Management, said having the art collection helps to better understand the U.P.

"ArtPrize recommended this for our space so we opened Venue Tower last year and the two and half story entrance to the building is the perfect canvas to showcase multiple pieces, large scale pieces. We found it to be just the right mix," Arnest said.

Arnest called the submissions from the U.P. phenomenal. She was at the opening of the Crossing the Straits exhibit at Mission Point Resort on Mackinac Island.

"It features everything from tapestries to woodcuts. You have acrylic, you have ceramics, you have an artificial intelligence piece and holographic piece. It really brings every type of art to showcase and bring a novice like myself into the enjoyment of the collection and understanding the U.P. better," said Arnest.

The pieces will be moved to Venue Towers in Grand Rapids for the opening of ArtPrize on Sept. 19.


Students at Finlandia and Northern Michigan Universities in the Upper Peninsula who are participating in ArtPrize, the international art competition in Grand Rapids, are being given an insight into the world of art as a business.

Denise Vandeville, dean of art and design at Finlandia University, says it helps the students to understand the oppotunities available to them as a working artist.

"When we work with the students we want them to understand the business aspects of the art and design world so that instead of just being makers they are also sellers and can make a living with their work," Vandeville said.

Brian Kakas, associate professor of ceramic art at NMU, says it helps get students out of the classroom and into the position of being a successful artist.

"Experiencing not just in the studio but that next step of stepping outside the studio sharing what it is you're passionate about, networking and educating others on what art is or what art isn't," said Kakas.

The students' artwork are on display on Mackinac Island through Sept. 7 as part of the Crossing the Straits exhibit at Mission Point Resort. ArtPrize starts Sept. 19 in Grand Rapids.


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Listen to the interview with Phillip Rice, Mackinac Arts Council

Phillip Rice says grouping Upper Peninsula artists at venues at the international ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids sheds a good light on the U.P.

More than 40 U.P. artists choosen to display at ArtPrize with 75 pieces of art are currently on display at Mackinac Island as part of the Crossing the Straits exhibit. Most are at the Mission Point Resort art gallery.

Rice is the program director at the Mackinac Arts Council. He said art can be used to promote the U.P.

"I think it's really important to show the general public that the Upper Peninsula has a contingency of artists at ArtPrize and a great way to do that is through a preview," Rice said. "By getting all of the artwork at one place in the U.P., visitors that want to learn more about it will encounter the artwork and see that there's a lot of artists up here."

Rice said he hopes people are impressed with the quantity and quality of the artwork on display at the island.

He took the uniqueness of the Mackinac Bridge in his own project submitted to ArtPrize. Recording different pitches of traffic crossing the bridge, he set the tones to a small keyboard that people can play.

"When you drive over the bridge it makes that tone that rings in your ears when you go over the grate. I mapped it onto a little keyboard so you can put on headphones and play a song with the bridge tone," Rice explained.

Rice has attended every ArtPrize since it started but this is the first time he will be one of the artists in the competition.


Rose Peltier of Escanaba was on Mackinac Island Sunday to see her creation standing guard in the lobby of the Chippewa Hotel.

Marley is a 5 foot 3 inch high lion made almost entirely of colorful fabric. He took nine months to complete and is turning heads wherever he sits.

"It's been pretty amazing," Peltier said. "He's actually taken me on a nice ride. I did not expect that when I first started making him. In fact, I didn't know if I'd finish him."

Peltier has been making quilts for years but this is her first major artwork. To be choosen to be an artist at the international art competition, ArtPrize, in Grand Rapids is pretty remarkable.

"He does have a very nice venue. He's going to be staying at Lions & Rabbits Art Gallery in Grand Rapids on Plainfield Avenue. So if anyone wants to go down there and see Marley, he will be there. And if you are there, please vote for Marley," said Peltier.

Public voting is how awards are presented. More than $500-thousand is awarded each year.

For now, Marley will remain at the Chippewa Hotel on Mackinac Island as part of the Crossing the Straits exhibit of artists choosen for ArtPrize. In all, 46 artists from the U.P. are on display through Sept. 7. ArtPrize starts Sept 12.


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A reception was held Sunday for the opening of the Crossing the Straits exhibit at Mackinac Island. Artists from across the U.P. are heading to show at ArtPrize, an international art competition in Grand Rapids. Their work is on display before joining the larger competition.

Mark Ware, CEO of Mission Point Resort and president of the Mackinac Island Arts Council said the Crossing the Straits exhibit is a great opportunity to display so many artists from the Upper Peninsula.

"It's phenomenal," he said. "We have photography, we have tapestries, we have paintings, we have lots of different mixed media, we have sound. It's really a phenomenal opportunity to see all of these different artists and different artwork being displayed."

The main part of the exhibit is at Mission Point Resort although artwork is being displayed at several other businesses throughout the island. Ware said art appreciation on the island is growing.

"We have been working with the arts council to grow opportunities for visitors and residents to experience the arts and for artists to show their work on the island. So, we have two advocacy programs. One is to develop artists. The other is the opportunity for guests to experience the artwork," Ware said.

The exhibit will be open until Sept 7 before the artwork heads to Grand Rapids. ArtPrize opens Sept. 12.


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