The 2020 Bonifas Arts Center Annual Meeting was held Oct. 22 virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The 2019 Annual Meeting was held Oct. 24.

The William Bonifas Fine Arts Center held its annual meeting on October 19, 2017. The meeting included educational and gallery highlights during the past year, the effort to build arts and culture throughout the Upper Peninsula and review of various events at the Bonifas.

Special recognition of the following volunteers was given for their many years and hours of donated time to the Bonifas.

Acknowledgement of major contributors/ benefactors this year was given to The Ray and Peg Hirvonen Foundation and Robert Sedenburgh.

Laura Robinson, Beth Noreus and Al Hansen were elected as new members to the Board of Trustees.

2017 Annual Meeting Minutes »

2017 Audited Financial Statements »

2016 Annual Meeting »

2015 Annual Meeting »


2016 Annual Meeting

The William Bonifas Fine Arts Center held its annual meeting on October 27, 2016. The meeting included reviewing the past year’s audited financial statements, honoring 6 artists and art appreciators, and enjoying the U.P. Premiere (ArtPrize) exhibit.

Honoree’s included:

Sue Roll presented a gift to retiring Board member Theresa Klein in thanks for her six years of service to the Bonifas.

New Board members elected for their first full terms were then introduced - Lynn Soderberg, Renee Theut, and Cathy Sjoquist.

2016 Annual Meeting Minutes »

2016 Audited Financial Statements »



Supporters of the Bonifas Fine Arts Center who passed away during the past year were recognized the Bonifas Annual Meeting. Tower Memorial Awards are supported by Sam and Elinor Benedict.

Those remembered included:

Frank Castiglione
Frank was an arts advocate extraordinaire who's energy and work was felt throughout the Central Upper Peninsula. And as such, he was a bridge for the arts communities in Escanaba and Munising and beyond. He bridged the arts with a broader community whether it was business or tourism.

Past president of the Munising Bay Arts Association for two years.
Instrumental in creating an artist's presence with Munising DDA and with the very active Parks and Recreation.

Using his contacts, Frank developed ways for leaders and businesses to be aware of and mentor local artists by showing their work. His efforts have focused on continuing the Munising Bay Arts Festival, Munising Gallery Stroll, Munising Creates, enhancing the Munising Farmer's market and establishing the artists' gallery at the Alger County Chamber of Commerce.

In conjunction with the MSU Extention, Frank implemented a series of workshops called, "The Business of Art" that brought in outside experts to help local artists develop their brands and businesses.

Frank was a supporter of the Bonnifas. He was a member, an instructor and actively showed in the gallery, gift shop and Waterfront Art Festival.

"Frank Castiglione was a ireless supporter of the Munising Bay Arts Association. Evn as his illness progressed, he attended and led the meetings in his role as president. Frank was passionate in his encouragement of other artists and he generously shared his phenomenal creativivity with the communnity, in the form of his art and his ideas," said Kathryn Lund Johnson.

Anne Symington
From her first days in the U.S., Anne supported the Bonifas Arts Ccenter and was actively involved. Over the years, she ried everythgin - at least once!

She was the dignified voice at the front desk, she was the brain-stormer on the Auction Committee. She crewed with gallery volunteers and prepared class supplies.

Anne's vivacious, tenacious nature will be sorely missed from the ranks of volunteers as will her wonderful stories and goodwill.

Judi Orr
Judi was a longtime member and supporter of the arts center and of the arts. Her involvement in the arts began in front of the crowd in high school with voice lessons, being crowned the Upper Michigan Fair Queen and going onto Vogue Modeling School.

When she returned to Escanaba, she became active in Players de Noc and the East Ludington Art Gallery.

Carol Stoll
Painting, quilting, soapstone carving, basket making, beading, driftwood collage, sculpture and many more unique media were just some of the arts that benefited from her unique skills. She had the ability to see something artistic in everything. She held an image in her mind's eye and the ingenuity to take any item of nature and incorporate it into her art.

If you were truly a lucky person in whom Carol saw a spark of interest or creativity, she would welcome you into her home where she would generously teach and explain how art could emerge from virtually anything, She had a sense of wonder.

She saw the Bonifas Arts Center as a creative outlet, a teaching opportunity and a supportive arts community. She found friends and kindred souls with enthusiastic outlooks and willingness to embrace new and uncommon creative material. She looked forward all year to exciting Bonifas events and openings such as Northern Exposure and the annual Member Show. The Bonifas was always a welcoming place to stop and visit when she was in Escanaba.

Dale Sviland
Dale was a great lover of the arts. He loved attending the great performances by our talented local actors and participating in painting classes at the Bonifas.

He and his wife were season ticket holders of Players for many years and enjoyed meeting with friends before and after plays. He was also happy to see his grandchildren perform in the Missoula Children's Theater in the summers.

Dale always considered Escanaba to be fortunate to have the Bonifas as an amenity to the town.

Forrest Henslee
Forrest was a longtime benefactor and contributor of the Bonifas Fine Arts Center.

Sue Johnson
Sue's quiet and resilient nature in overcoming the physical challenges that life offered also fortified her in her life's work. Her career in special education began as a camp aide at the amazing Bay Cliff's Health Camp and a WMU where she began her first painting and drawing classes for elementary special ed. It was there she taught her students that "the process" was integral to the outcome and the arts became an essential part of her classroom.

Sue used art education to help maintain classroom discipline, to reinforce cognitive and fine motor skills and to motivate her students. She took her successful experiences to the Teacher Consultants in Michigan where she encouraged the use of arts and crafts as a means to improve instruction.

For many years, as patrons, Don and Sue purchased art wherever they traveled as well as right here in Delta County.

Karen Pratt
Karen was always appreciative and supportive of the work at the Bonifas. The support was felt and she was a center favorite. She felt that music was from the soul and was meant to be shared.

"I knew from personal experience, the growth and confidence for her students that came from her work as a music teacher. She taught piano to my five daughters, all different in temperament and learning style and Karen understood them all. Her magic as a piano teacher alone - for 53 years - has left countless people in Delta County touched by the love of music and for that we must be eternally grateful," said Pasqua Warstler, executive and gallery directer at the Bonifas.

Music was always a part of Karen's life, from the time her mother would use part of the grocery money to save and buy a piano, to her days at 8th Street Coffee House, to the Country Wheels, to her final children's recital shortly before her death.

Whether she was playing with her husband, playing with her friends or students, Karen was inspired and strengthened by her music. One of her highest honors was when she was recognized by the national committee of Congregational Church hymnals and which gives testimony to the power of her art form.

Naomi "Nehi" Hult
Nehi was the unstoppable outdoors woman and always the nurse. She was someone who broke new ground as the first female member of the Gladstone Yacht Club or as the U.P. representative who addressed nurse's wages or as an instrumental citizen in establishing the Delta County YMCA.

Nehi's community was her family as we see in the good work she did for a wide array of community organization - Rotary, Coterie, Bay Sages, Gladstone City Planning Commission, Bay College, Bonifas Arts Center - and in her life-long support of her beloved orphanages.

Another life-long commitment was her devotion to nursing from her first days of training during WWII to the present. Whether she was birthing babies, volunteering as a camp nurse or walking through life's last stages as a Hospice Volunteer, Nehi was always a nurse.

Her longtime support through membership and service will long be appreciated at the Bonifas.

Members of the Bonifas board reflected on the past year and tried out the new fundraising theme, "We are the Bonifas!" at the art center's Annual Meeting Friday.

Executive and Gallery Director Pasqua Warstler said 2015 was a time of outreach and growth.

"Last year at this point, we were under the watchful eye of our business manager, Melissa Ekberg, and this is a note of appreciation for her work in organizing our accounting systems and establishing an improved tracking and reporting systems. These improvements put us in good stead as we move forward with action plans growing the membership and sponsorship," she said.

"As we move forward to fiscal year 2015-16, it is a time of welcome to Sue Roll, who is taking up the charge as business director and Brook McGinnis, events coordinator. We welcome Craig Woerpel as the creative energy behind our website reconstruction and the guru of the ever-growing Facebook feature."

Warstler said the art center is eagerly looking forward to a robust year of continued community collaborations.

The Bonifas continues to work on facility improvements.

An effort is being made to growing the financials at the Bonifas.

Warstler also said the Bonifas is working on arts advocacy by building and strengthening alliances throughout the state and refreshing dialogue downstate with Lansing regarding shared interests and building the visibility of the culture of the Upper Peninsula.

Retiring board members Pat Rudden and Al Strom were recognized for their service to the Bonifas. Newly elected board members were Tom England, Jason Davidson, Tom Knoll and Marnie Anderson.

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