The Mackinaw City Area Arts Council

mcaac - image

michigan arts council - logo image

The Mackinaw City Area Arts Council (MCAAC) was organized in late spring 2011 with a six-member steering committee. We currently have a nine member board and 55 individual, family and corporate members.

We are a 501-c-3 organization that was awarded a grant of $6,800 from the State of Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) in 2014. The grant was awarded through the MCACA peer review process and was one of 428 applications to compete for MCACA fiscal year 2014 funding. In 2015-2016 we were once again awarded a grant from the State of Michigan Arts Council. Read more about what we do below the image.


MCAAC Mission

The mission of the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council is to promote and encourage participation in and appreciation of the Fine Arts in the Greater Mackinaw City Area through exhibits, education, activities, and performances throughout the entire year. From our inception three years ago, we have endeavored to live up to that mission.

What The Arts Council Does…

MCAAC has maintains a venue in Mackinaw Crossings for art displays and a variety of activities.  We are very appreciative of the opportunity and cooperation we have received form the management and staff.

Volunteers are needed to staff this area. If you are interested in volunteering for our retail outlet or wish to participate in any committee please visit our Contact Us Page for information on how to contact Danna Marvin, President of our arts council. You can read more on our Volunteer Page – click here.  Watch for our online Volunteer Sign Up system coming soon!

In 2015 The Wehr Family, owners of Mackinaw Crossings,  graciously offered us a gallery and activity space in one of their empty storefronts. It was such a success that we have teamed with them again for 2016. We will be providing art, entertainment and educational events at our Cultural Center in Mackinaw Crossings including Art 4 Kids once a week during the summer season and special featured workshops.  We are also coordinating with others to bring music to the Mackinaw Crossings Stage on Sunday afternoons this summer.

Here is just a sampling of events we have sponsored over the years.

We sponsored four bi-weekly summer children’s art workshops with local artist Carmel Desy Peppler.

Our first Plein Air event began in 2012 with artists documenting the beauty of the straits in oil, watercolor and pastels, judged by Sharon Tarr. In 2013 we sponsored a very successful adult painting workshops with artist Sharon Tarr as instructor. This year our Plein Air event will coincide with the Historical Festival at the Heritage Village August 2nd and plans are in the works for adult instruction in July.

In 2013 we sponsored the “Desy Exhibit” in cooperation with the Mackinaw Area Public Library. It has been our most ambitious project to date. Many owners of Mr. Desy’s paintings graciously loaned them for the exhibit curated by Carmel Desy Peppler. In addition to the exhibit, we sponsored a Saturday trolley tour of Mr. Desy’s murals that can be found in public buildings, stores and private homes in Mackinaw City.

In 2014 we collaborated with Joann Condino from Three Pines Studio in Cross Village and Mary Stewart Adams from the Dark Sky Park on the Orion Project at Mackinaw School. The Orion project was based on the story of Jack in the Beanstalk as described to students by Mary Stewart Adams in the context of the constellation “Orion”. This work will be on display at the Pellston Regional Airport beginning June 2014.

In 2015 we organized and presented with the historic society a week long “Discovery Camp” for 4th-8th grade students involving science and art projects through a grant we received form the Petoskey Harbor Springs Community Foundation.

We had three seasons of the Mackinaw Area Youth Chorale. Dance Bratz continues to increase in size with classes offered by Jo Cooley at Mackinaw School all purpose room. A photography workshop was offered to 4th grade students by Greg Teysen. This year MCAAC sponsored a photography contest for Mackinaw City students in various age categories, with cash prizes. We will be sponsoring another contest this fall for our area students.

The Mackinaw City Public School students pre school through 6th grade created their version of Van Gough’s starry night in celebration of winter’s dark sky. The project Starry Starry Night North is a collaborative effort with MCAAC, Mackinaw City Area Library and Three Pines Studio in Cross Village. The collection can be visited at its permanent home in Pine Crest Village. Other Mackinaw City Public School art events were presented by MCAAC board members included a Loon Watercolor painting project with Indian River Artist Sheree Lincoln with the help of fellow board member Gerry Lou Kania and President Dann Marvin. Artist Joan Condino presented a wooden spoon painting class. Gerry Lou Kania and Sheree Lincoln taught the kids how to make Marionettes from recycled Materials.

We partner with Emmet County and Pellston Regional Airport to exhibit MCAAC member work including photography, painting and textiles. Our most recent exhibit highlighted intricate quilts by “The Bliss Bunch” quilters with a follow up show of Photography by Lorie Axtell.  This is on ongoing display of local area artists.  We encourage you to view these artistic offerings.

We have hosted an exhibit of local members art for a number of years during Mackinaw City’s Annual Winterfest with Mackinaw Clothing and Sportswear on Central Avenue as our supporting venue.

MCAAC provides scholarships for education in various arts related areas.  In previous years we have provided scholarships to three area students to attend the 3-day Young Americans workshop held at Cheboygan High School. Scholarships for students have been granted for famed local watercolor artist Mary Lou Peters painting classes. In 2015 we awarded $500 to another deserving art student who attended a portfolio camp at Kendall School of Art and Design. in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Our Board

Danna Marvin, President

Danna has been a Michigan resident her whole life and lived in Washtenaw, Lenawee, Macomb, Oakland and currently Emmet County. She retired and moved to the Straits of Mackinac in 2001. Having earned a B.A. in Biology and Chemistry and an M.A. in Secondary School Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University, she taught middle school for four years and spent fourteen years as a high school counselor. While her two daughters were young, she established a fabric art business. Though her career choices do not reflect it, Danna has always had a passion for the arts! In retirement, she has spent numerous volunteer hours for a variety of organizations including Church of the Straits, the Village of Mackinaw City, Mackinaw Area Historical Society and currently, Mackinaw City Area Arts Council and Emmet County Parks and Recreation Committee.

Joann Leal, Treasurer

Artistic Vocation: Retired Director, Cheboygan Area Arts Council

Sheree Lincoln, Secretary

Artistic Vocation: Visual Artist; Owner of BrassWind Designs & Gallery and co-owner of Arts and Adventure PaddleSports at BrassWind Landing in Indian River, Michigan.

Ann Chastain, Trustee

Ann recently retired from MSU Extension after 27 years practice in leadership and community engagement. She continues to assist groups with strategic planning, building consensus through focused conversations and active listening, and facilitating difficult discussions by communicating through conflict. Ann has lived in northern Michigan for the past 28 years, moving from North Carolina in search for true “quality of life”, including the ever-present blue fresh waters where she enjoys outdoor MI in all seasons.

Judy Churchill, Trustee

Artistic Vocation: Visual Artist; Secretary Church of the Straits

Jo Cooley, Vice President

Artistic Vocation: Dance Instructor/Choreographer; Owner of Tee Pee Campgrounds and Dance North

Scott Gasparich, Trustee

Artistic Vocation: Creative Producer of Entertainment, Shows, and Events;Owner of Seasons of Mackinaw, Gift and Art Gallery Store

MaryAnn Moore, Trustee

Artistic Vocation: Visual Artist; Lighthouse Keeper, St. Helena’s Island; Retired Family and Consumer Science Teacher

Susie Safford, Trustee

Artistic Vocation: Former Arts Administrator

Keeney Swearer

Artistic Vocation: Exhibit Designer, Mackinac State Historic Parks

Gerry Lou Kania,  Music and Event Consultant