More people can understand the arts and cultural offerings available throughout the Upper Peninsula due to the creation of a second U.P. Pavilion, an exhibit featuring only U.P. art, at the Acton Institute at this year’s ArtPrize, an esteemed international art show in Grand Rapids, Sept. 20-Oct. 8, said Pasqua Warstler, Bonifas Arts Center artistic director.
“The U.P. is a distinct arts and cultural district,” said Warstler. “We want to encourage people to come here, to encourage cultural tourism. We want the public to be aware of the many arts and culture options throughout the U.P.”
Since ArtPrize has drawn more than 400,000 viewers per year, it’s an ideal opportunity to introduce U.P. art and artists to a wider audience while helping U.P. artists gain greater visibility, said Warstler.
Nine U.P. artists are scheduled to show work in the Acton Institute, a historic structure located in ArtPrize’s Heartside District, with 10 additional artists scheduled to exhibit at other ArtPrize venues.
Participation in ArtPrize “opens up a lot more possibilities for U.P. artists and U.P. communities … We have amazing artists in the U.P.,” said Cindy Wedig, of Gwinn, whose work, Interior Cell, will be exhibited at ArtPrize.
Regional arts and cultural leaders have been continuing to work together to raise awareness of offerings and share resources through the creation of a U.P. arts and culture alliance—focusing on forming the alliance’s mission, structure, and communication systems—with support from the Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs, said Warstler, and the next meeting will take place in September at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.
Participation in alliance-building has been strengthening in 2017, said Warstler. “It’s exciting,” she said, as arts and culture advocates work to increase awareness of U.P. arts and culture museums, programs, events, and organizations, so more residents and visitors can find and explore them.
One regional project, the U.P. Arts and Culture map, features destination opportunities for residents and visitors. It can be accessed at www.upartandculture.com. Designed for easy usability on smartphones, the map can guide the curious to galleries, studios, museums, historic sites, concerts, theaters, heritage sites, and more.