What The Arts Council Does

We provide opportunities to participate in providing art, entertainment and educational events throughout the community in a variety of locations. Mackinaw City Area Arts Council was recently recognized as “Organization of the Year.” We were pleased to accept this award and vow to continue our mission of fostering art in the straits area.

  From the Mackinaw City Chamber

This award recognizes an organization that is community-focused and has made a positive impact by fulfilling its mission to benefit the Greater Mackinaw City community. The organization receiving this year’s award leads many positive and “creative” initiatives in and around Mackinaw City. Through their mission to promote participation in, and appreciation of the arts in the Straits of Mackinac through year-round exhibits, education, activities, and performances, they have become the creative addition that has beautified our community.

If you have not already guessed, the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council works to provide art education to all ages at our school, library, and senior center, they offer scholarships for camps and continuing education, offer youth summer workshops, and encourage awareness and appreciation of arts for tourists and residents through the installation of ‘Art Walk’ in several local waterfront parks, and they share music weekly at Heritage Village during the summer months. Painted rocks make up a Kindness Rock Garden in Maritime Park that encourages love, joy, fun, and kindness. And this summer they brought a Shakespeare production company for a free performance in Conkling Heritage Park. As an organization, they are on the move, and you will continue to see more coming from this creative group.

We are pleased to present the 2022 Organization of the Year Award to the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council for their outstanding creative spirit that continues to make a positive impact for all in Mackinaw City!

Since 2011  MCAAC sponsored four bi-weekly summer children’s art workshops and is continuing the tradition to this day.

In 2020 we kicked off our “Art Walk” installations.  Over the last two years we have added 8 more for a total of 12 along an area of high tourist traffic in small waterfront parks throughout Mackinaw City.   “Art Walk” encourages art awareness and appreciation plus tourist engagement with talented Michigan artists. The displays include a short artist bio, statement of interest about the work and artist contact information in a 6×9 inch format, mounted beneath the art work. Please take a walk in our community and enjoy the art.

We partner with Emmet County and Pellston Regional Airport to exhibit MCAAC member’s works including photography, painting and textiles. This is a display of local area artists.  We encourage you to view these artistic offerings,  located on the second floor across from the public restrooms. We also host an exhibit of local member’s art during Mackinaw City’s Annual Winterfest, which takes place over the third week-end in January.

In 2022 we brought a Shakespeare production of  “A Midsummers Nights Dream” to Conkling Park, performed by the traveling troupe of Starling Shakespeare Company. They have agreed to return August 2023 with a performance of “As You Like It.”  This is a talented performance that brings Shakespeare to life in fun family adventure.

In 2020 we cleared a path with the city or have a “Kindness Rock Garden” which is located at 412 Huron ave at Maritime park .

Beginning in 2020 the Kindness Rock Garden became a part of the Mackinaw City community under the guidance of Mackinaw City Area Arts Council. The garden is located at 412 N. Huron in Maritime Park at the waterfront. To help our garden grow we ask the community and visiting tourists to bring painted rocks to add to our collection. The theme is spreading kindness and uplifting human spirits. To do that we need to keep the rocks in the garden for public viewing. We ask that you leave a rock you painted, photograph the rocks and share the images with friends. Enjoy the rocks that are placed there and please do not hide them. We have a special page for Kindness Rock Garden, you can upload the image of your rock or share your creativity with us.

We continue yearly with in person classes for painting instruction in watercolor, acrylic along with textile arts. Check our website for updates on Workshops and keep up with us on Facebook or Instagram.

Weekly we offer “Open Jam Sessions” with Dan House at The Woman’s Clubhouse or Heritage Village outdoor pavilion dependent on weather. This is a chance for local musicians to hone their talent and share their music with others.  Anyone is welcome to drop in with their instruments or come to listen and tap their feet.

Other weekly offerings are Tuesday at the Woman’s Clubhouse from 9:30 to 11:30.  “Open Art” is for anyone to bring in an art project they are working on and create in the atmosphere of other artists. Our morning open art is a free event.

Later in the afternoon on Tuesdays, we have a craft coach at the Wawatam Senior Center from 3:00 to 4:30 hosting an art project for members and anyone wishing to drop in. This is free to Wawatam Senior Center members and only $4.00 for any non member.

MCAAC provides scholarships for education in various arts related areas.  Scholarships are open to enrolled Mackinaw City public school children and home schooled youth.  Scholarship forms are at the school or can be available on request.   Please contact us for a scholarship form.

If you are interested in volunteering for any of our events or wish to participate on any committee, please visit our Contact Us for more information on how to contact Lorie Archambeau,  President of our Arts Council. Board meetings are the last  Monday of the month at 10:00am at Mackinaw City Woman’s Clubhouse, 310 Jamet St.  Mackinaw City, Mi. 49701. We hold in person meetings May through October and zoom meetings November through April.

Our Board

Lorie Axtell Archambeau, President

Lorie has nourished her photography passion for 46 years beginning at Delta College in Bay City and attending San Francisco art institute in the late 1970’s. She managed a high end camera store for 7 years then was a regional manager for a retail photography company for 23 years. Since her move to Mackinaw in 2009 she has been exploring the technical aspects required to make a quality digital image. Her first time serving on the MCAAC board was in 2012 -2015 where she was responsible for organizing the first Plein Air class and festival.

Sharolyn Macomber Metternich, Treasurer

Multi-talented doesn’t begin to describe Sharolyn.  Her expertise is expansive from sewing for heritage village to Northland players costumes, winning local baking contests, an avid treasurer, painter, gardener, tile layer and she performs the National Anthem at the start of the bridge walk.  Formerly her and husband Jeff owned a farm downstate and relocated to Mackinaw City just over a year ago.  They have been a welcome treat for our grateful community as they participate in and support many local organizations.

MaryAnn Moore, Secretary

Artistic Vocation: MaryAnn Moore has a multi-faceted life.  She is a mother, retired Family and Consumer Science educator, historical re-enactor, lighthouse keeper, designer and seamstress, watercolor artist, hand crafter, geocacher, and a professional volunteer, serving on five non-profit boards working with youth and adults.  She has received many awards and scholarships for instructing students of all ages. She is a multiple grant recipient and has several published articles.  MaryAnn has made multiple presentations in specific areas of interest, most recently the “Art of Light House Keeping.”  She is difficult to find, as she has never learned to sit still!

Debra Gray, Director

Debra is a photographer and poet who grew up and graduated from LaSalle high school in St. Ignace.  She has three wonderful grown boys and a full time career in hospitality.  She loves capturing the beauty of the north country with her photo equipment.  Her work can be viewed at 7 elements gallery in Mackinaw city.

Angie Mortland, Director

Angie wears hats from many organizations in our community.  She is most noted for her role as Rosie the Riveter.  Often found in blue overalls and a red bandana with white polka dots educating the public and school children about the efforts and sacrifices of female civilians on the home front during WW2.  On the board of several local organizations she brings her teaching background and service mentality to full fruition helping where needed.

Karla Wolfe, Director

Our newest board member to join is Karla Wolfe from Carp Lake.  Karla is a watercolor painter and a take charge kid of gal. We are excited with her energy and creative gifts she will bring to the board.

Melissa DeWitt, Director

Melissa is a Certified Leadership and Mindset Coach, a Creative Facilitator, and an Artist located
 in Mackinaw City, MI.  Her love of all things creative began at a very early age as  she was lucky to have art and
creativity surround her daily growing up! She attended college for ceramics, fashion design and eventually business and leadership.
The last 15 years she has worked as Regional Sales Director or Training Manager in high end retail jewelry, and during Covid, her
company drastically downsized. This allowed her and  family to relocate back to Michigan and to begin her second career
– this one in the creativity and inspiration field!

She taught art classes at Boys and Girls clubs, Senior Centers and owned her own photography company while living in
North Carolina and Maryland. Since moving to Mackinaw City, she joined the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council as a board
member, and considers herself the caretaker for our local Kindness Rocks Garden (located at Maritime Park on Huron
Ave). She specialize in acrylic, watercolor, mixed media and prefer more abstract and whimsical designs than a more traditional
look. Along with painting on canvas, she paints on driftwood, shoes, rocks, books, walls and even fabrics. She also been known to
face paint at kids’ parties and fairs! Also she currently host paint parties for adults and kids, Sip and Paint Sessions, and she is a certified Kindness Rocks Project Facilitator.