Though some of us have been inspired to express ourselves creatively to deal with pandemic challenges, others of us may wish we felt inspired. And regardless of the many outdoor recreation activities the Upper Peninsula affords, there are still those days when an abundance of rain, sun, black flies, or mosquitoes may drive us indoors, seeking other forms of fun. Or, there may be times we find our summer or other experiences so special that we want to commemorate them in some creative way.
If you’d like a creative head start—no worries! You’re in luck, as creative opportunities abound throughout the Upper Peninsula! Below is a taste of the many you can sample.
At the Bonifas Arts Center in Escanaba this summer, you can create a fairy house, paint your pet, create ceramics or stained glass, weave, watercolor with ink, and more! Visit bonifasarts.org to learn more and sign up.
The Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock is home to a photographic dark room, clay studio, and letterpress, and also hosts classes in other media. Check coppercountryarts.com for upcoming classes and programming info.
You can also get your hands in clay and create bowls, vases, mugs, jewelry, signage, sculpture, and much more at HOTplate Clayworks in Marquette. Or, leave the three-dimensional creating to others, and pour your creativity into decorating ceramics at HOTplate Pottery, or at your place with their take-home kits. Visit hotplatepottery.com for details.
You may also be inspired by the multitude of talent represented in exhibits, receptions, studio tours, demonstrations, and street performers at Marquette Arts Week, June 21 – 27. Included is Poetic Reconnection Art Exhibition, hosted by the Peter White Public Library in the Lower Level Reception Gallery, where poetry broadsides from local poets focused on the theme of reconnection will be displayed. An outside opening reading/reception will be held Tuesday, June 22, at 7 p.m., with music by Troy Graham to follow.
Also as part of Marquette Arts Week, Life Lines & Notes, an event to reconnect heart and soul through words and music, will feature U. P. Poet Laureate M. Bartley Seigel and musician Ani on Saturday, June 26th, on the steps of the Peter White Public Library .
Two-time U.P. Poet Laureate Marty Achatz will be releasing his spoken word album Slow Dancing with Bigfoot, featuring music by Streaking in Tongues, in early summer. There will be a live performance as part of Art Week, plus other live and virtual performances throughout the summer. You’ll find Art Week details at mqtcompass.com.
Live music continues at Peter White Public Library with Concerts on the Steps this summer, featuring popular local musical acts. Visit pwpl.info or the Peter White Public Library Facebook Events page for more details.
The Peter White Public Library also hosts Authors Reading Virtually. At 7 pm on the second Wednesday of every month, local, state, and national authors read from their work and participate in a Q & A via Zoom. Past authors include: John Smolens, Dennis Hinrichsen, Natasha Trethewey, W. Todd Kaneko, and Megan Alpert, among others.
You can get into the writing act yourself with poetry workshops at creativity sanctuary Joy Center in Ishpeming. Marty Achatz will lead a special evening of Bigfoot prompts on June 20th, and also share new prompts every first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m., with a Zoom repeat on the first Sunday of every month at 7 p.m. Poet/musician/filmmaker Ron Ferguson will facilitate “Flying Kites: Discovering Your Electric Ideas in the Brainstorm and Beyond” by Zoom on June 24th for beginners and experienced writers alike. All you need is pen, paper, and imagination. Join in for some poetic inspiration.
Joy Center will also host art-making workshops facilitated by Sarah Still this summer. Check the Joy Center Facebook page for details on these and more creative live and Zoom events, or join the snail mail list by contacting owner Helen Haskell Remien at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regardless of your geographic location, you can stay posted for more writing opportunities, including monthly workshopping and open mike time via The Marquette Poets Circle. Contact intrepid organizer Janeen Rastall at email@example.com or check the Marquette Poets Circle Facebook page.
And our beloved art fairs are anticipated to make their return this year! You can soak in the creative achievements of local, regional, and even national artisans, and perhaps get some new ideas or energy for your own creative pursuits. In Iron Mountain, Art for All will be held June 26, from 10 am to 4pm in the City Park. Outback Art Fair and Art on the Rocks will be held in Marquette throughout the final weekend of July, the 24th and 25th. The Waterfront Arts Festival will take place Aug. 7th overlooking Lake Michigan in Escanaba’s Ludington Park. The Eagle Harbor Art Fair will be held in Mohawk on Aug. 14th and 15th. And while the focus of the Keweenaw Summer Celebration in Lion’s Park, Calumet is on health, wellness, and spiritual guidance, you’ll find talented artisans there as well.
Excerpted with permission from the Summer 2021 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2021, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.