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.

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

In 2011  MCAAC sponsored four bi-weekly summer children’s art workshops with local artist Carmel Desy Peppler in 2011.

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 workshop with Sharon Tarr as instructor.

In 2013 we sponsored the “Desy Exhibit” in cooperation with the Mackinaw Area Public Library. At that time, it was 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 went on display at the Pellston Regional Airport in June of 2014.

In 2015 we organized and presented in collaboration with the Mackinaw Area Historical Society a week long “Discovery Camp” for 4th-8th grade students, providing an outreach to young people wanting to learn about history, science and art opportunities in the Mackinaw City area. This first year the program was funded through a grant received from the Petoskey Harbor Springs Community Foundation.

We had three seasons of the Mackinaw Area Youth Chorale. We are currently searching for a new Choral leader. Dance Bratz continues to increase in size with classes offered by Jo Cooley in the Mackinaw School multi-purpose room. Photography workshops have been offered to 4th grade students by Greg Teysen. In 2017 MCAAC sponsored a photography contest for Mackinaw City students in various age categories, with cash prizes.

The Mackinaw City Public School student’s preschool through 6th grade created their version of Vincent Van Gogh’s starry night in celebration of winter’s dark sky. The project Starry Starry Night North was a collaborative effort with MCAAC, Mackinaw City Area Library and Three Pines Studio in Cross 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 then President Danna 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’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 have hosted an exhibit of local member’s art during Mackinaw City’s Annual Winterfest, which takes place over the third week-end in January. Our exhibit is housed in Mackinaw Clothing and Sportswear on Central Avenue which has graciously supported this project as our exhibition venue.

MCAAC provides scholarships for education in various arts related areas.  In previous years we have provided scholarships 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 a deserving art student who attended a portfolio camp at Kendall School of Art and Design in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Scholarships are available through the Mackinaw City Public Schools to any student who will go on to college to pursue the arts. Scholarships are also available to students of Dance North, a program which includes young dancers from all over Northern Michigan and is taught by our own Jo Cooley.

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 Joann Leal,  President of our Arts Council. Board meetings are every third Thursday of the month at 2:00pm at the Church of the Straits basement at 307 N. Huron Mackinaw City, Mi. 49701.

Our Board


Lorie Axtell Archambeau-Acting 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.

Jackie House-Vice President

Jackie House is a natural artist who has worked to develop her talent.  Her love of art has blossomed into a fulfilling career as an artist and teacher.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Art Education from Wayne State University and has continued with lifelong learning at Chicago’s Institute of Art, Northern Michigan University and Interlochen.

Jackie excels in watercolor, color pencil and pottery.  She has carved both wood and stone sculptures,  She enjoys photography and has numerous craft projects to her credit.  Her artwork has been featured in Detroit, Milford, Highland, Waterford, Lansing, Mackinaw City, Traverse City, Gaylord and Grayling. She currently has work displayed at several shops throughout Grayling.

Jackie has won several awards for her paintings and colored pencil work.
Jackie is a retired art teacher who recently moved to Mackinaw City, she lives with her musical husband and two cats.

Melissa DeWitt, Treasurer

Melissa has had a passion for Art, Creating and Crafting for as long as she can remember. As a 2nd generation photographer, she was raised by an artistic mother, who nurtured her love of all things art! She has studied art, fashion, photography, design and business, and her creativity has allowed her to flourish as a Corporate Trainer, Regional Sales Director and Professional Photographer. She began teaching art classes at the Girls & Boys Club, while in high school, and fell in love with helping others to unleash their inner artists and creativity! She has since collaborated on creative projects such as writing for local newspapers, designing clothing from re-used materials, fundraising through Art and Fashion Shows, sewing costumes for local theater groups, and teaching Art, Design and Craft Projects to all ages across the country!

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!

Dan House-Director

Dan’s email tag line reads “…not just another pretty mountain dulcimer player…” and this description is well earned.
While he plays a wide variety of instruments, Dan is most at home playing fingerstyle guitar, mandolin, and the mountain dulcimer – both as an instrumentalist as well as accompaniment for his singing.  His range of material ranges all the way from the 12th century up to his own original modern compositions.   He also covers a variety of folk and pop favorites and loves to tickle an audience with what he affectionately calls, “Baby Boomer Comfort Music”.
Dan is a past member and former president of the Paint Creek Folklore Society (PCFS), a past member of the board of the Michigan Fingerstyle Guitar Society (MFGS).
Over the years, he has appeared publicly in a number of coffee houses and concert venues in and out of the state, hosted an open mic series for the Huron Valley Council for the Arts (HVCA), played therapeutic music as a hospice volunteer, and was a long-term member of the hammered dulcimer/guitar duo STRING FEVER.
Currently, Dan is co-host of the Boyne Celtic Sessions, a member of the Northern Michigan-based trio SIMPLE GIFTS, and conducts a weekly mountain dulcimer instructional class for MCAAC at the Mackinaw City library.

Aliana Knapp-Prasek, Director

From a young age Aliana Knapp-Prasek has had a creative spirit. Whether it be sewing, drawing, painting, writing or her current passion, weaving, she draws inspiration from nature and interactions with others. A few years after earning her degree in Fashion Merchandising she felt called to help “Mother Earth.” She moved to San Francisco to work as the Sustainability Intern at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  Since moving to  Michigan in 2012, she has been able to bridge her love of textiles with sustainability. Aliana also teaches the MCAAC’s Children’s Summer Arts & Crafts workshops.