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A word from Lorie Axtell-Archambeau

October 28, 2021

Dear Members and Friends,

We are heading toward the end of 2021and what an exciting year it’s been. This year we provided art journals and colored pencils for 6th through 11th grades at Mackinaw City Public Schools for their summer enjoyment and this fall, art totes filled with art supplies and activities for pre-K through 5th grade.

Board member Dan House offered Open Jam at Heritage Village pavilion for anyone wishing to play music or enjoy the entertainment. He is now heading the Jam sessions which have moved inside the library for the winter months. Anyone can attend Sundays from 1-4pm. Dan is researching the viability of resurrecting a Straits Area based choral activity. If you are interested in any aspect of this project please contact him at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

We offered four free rock painting workshops at the Kindness Rock Garden on Huron Avenue in Maritime Park and we sponsored an in person watercolor class from Barb Weisenberg (Art Walk participant).

Along with adding 4 additional exhibits to our art walk along Huron Avenue, there are now a total of 8 stunning paintings along the waterfront.

We rounded out the summer with an All Member show at the Pellston Regional Airport.

The current show at the airport is photographic art by Tony Johnson and his work will be on display through spring 2022. Be sure to stop by the airport and view his work.

The popular Children’s Workshops returned this summer with 4 different projects completed. We added a new board member, Mal Curtis who taught our Children’s class. Mal studied at Kendall School of Art in Grand Rapids.

Open Art at Wawatam Senior center continues to bring a new project every Tuesday from 3 to 4:30pm for adults of any age.

We currently are in negotiations with the Mackinaw Woman’s club to provide a stable home base for the arts council. Going forward into 2022 our classes and workshops will be centered at the 310 East Jamet, Woman’s club location. This will provide us with a storage space for art supplies, office area, art library and board meeting facility. In partnering with other non-profits in Mackinaw City, we seek to meet the artistic needs of our community and enrich the experience of those visiting our area.

MCAAC is committed to providing a strong agenda of performances, workshops and classes as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary in 2022. We have lined up a watercolor immersion class with award winning watercolorist Pamela Wilburn. Stay tuned for our full agenda available later this winter through our website or Facebook page.

There is much to be thankful for and you are tops on our list. Many thanks to our volunteers, donors and members alike who are committed to keeping the arts thriving in Mackinaw City. Your generosity keeps our mission alive and our 501(C)(3) status makes your gift tax deductible. Please consider a year end contribution as we prepare for our 10 year celebration in 2022 with dynamic new programming. Membership renewal for 2022 is open now and can be renewed through our website at ( or sending a check using the enclosed envelope.

Thanking you in advance for your support!


The Mackinaw City Area Arts Council Board Members

Lorie Archambeau, Jackie House, Melissa DeWitt, MaryAnn Moore, Aliana Lee, Dan House and Mal Curtis



A Word from our President Aliana Knapp-Prasek

August 3, 2020

Greetings to Mackinaw City Area Arts Council Members & Our Local Community~

We here at the MCAAC hope all of you have been well and doing the best that you can in these times. During the past few months in the midst of this Pandemic, there has been one thing that has remained constant- All aspects of art and the creating process have brought forth healing and outlet for expression. We hope all things art-related have also brought you a sense of comfort.
The MCAAC’s mission is to promote participation in and appreciation of the arts in the Straits of Mackinac area through year-round exhibits, education, activities, and performances. We have a few “projects” going on to offer our community and we hope you will participate and share.

The 2020 Art Walk in Mackinaw City – Our most recent project and “gift” to the community. In 2019, MCAAC Board members Ann Chastain and Dan House started working on this project. The art installations went up in June 2020.  There will be a Ribbon Cutting on Monday, August 10 at 9am at Alexander Henry Park, (518 N Huron) in Mackinaw City. You can find the art installations at the following Mackinaw City Village Parks:
      Alexander Henry Park (518 N Huron): ” Guardian Spirit” by Dan Feldhauser 
      Gary Williams Memorial Park (312-398 N Huron):  “Distant Storm” by Barb Weisenburg  
      Chief Wawatam Park (300 N Huron): “Clear Lake” by Robert Perrish
      Veteran’s Memorial Park (marina) (102 S Huron):  “Flora and Fauna” by Kim Diment

Pandemic Quilt – Create a 9” X 9” fabric square expressing your feelings about the Pandemic. More information can be found at:

Kindness Rock Garden – Decorate a rock and leave it in the special garden at Maritime Park, 412 N Huron, Mackinaw City.

Heritage Village Art Trail – A partnership between MCAAC and the Mackinaw Area Historical Society is providing an outlet for your creative outdoor public art piece.  Contact:  email hidden; JavaScript is required  to set up a time to display your work.

Heritage Village Open Air Jam – Sponsored by Heritage Village and MCAAC, Join Dan House and Friends for a summer social-distance outdoor jam session on Sundays from 1-4pm. Current COVID outdoor restrictions observed and applied. Instrument and viewer participation encouraged.

Share-a-Skill Directory – We have a goal of offering a community directory comprised of local creatives sharing information with anyone curious about how to begin a new hobby. Please contact Deb at email hidden; JavaScript is required if you are an artist and/or crafter willing to answer questions about your particular pursuit, via email, from people wondering how to get started.

Pellston Regional Airport Display – Artwork by Jackie House is on display. The exhibit is located on the second floor in the hallway opposite the restrooms.

For updates and news please check out our website ( and Follow/Like us on Facebook ( For information about membership please go to: .

Memberships run January- December. And, if any member wishes to volunteer or has ideas, please reach out.

Much gratitude to all of you for your continued support. We want to keep the arts thriving in the Straits area. We appreciate all of you!

With respect,

Aliana Knapp-Prasek
Mackinaw City Area Arts Council President

2019 overview

2019 We created a great variety of activities, exhibits, programs and a trip to Chicago!
As you can see from the collage our activities spanned a variety of arts. They included learning about creating sculptures and cell phone photography to hands on classes in driftwood art, dyeing fabric, drawing, ongoing dulcimer classes as well as summer youth classes and a Fall into Mackinaw youth art project. Also, there were year- round exhibits at the Pellston Regional Airport as well at Winterfest.

WINTERFEST This ninth annual exhibit included a new feature this year. We offered a People’s Choice Award which was well received by attendees viewing the 58 pieces of art by 13 member artists. Board Member Aliana Lee Knapp-Prasek won with her woven piece “Washed Ashore”.

ANNUAL MEETING We welcomed new board members Lorie Axtell-Archambeau, Dan and Jackie House and Sarah May while expressing gratitude to departing MCAAC Board members Joann Leal and Jo Cooley.

2020- We have some exciting plans in the works including partnering with the Mackinac State Historic Parks for their 125th Anniversary with demonstrations and classes. We also have ongoing plans for several Public Arts displays of Michigan artists and more classes/workshops. We will keep members informed as we finalize our plans.

MCAAC is a volunteer based organization therefore we depend on your financial support as well as the involvement of our members. Please send your membership fee to:
MCAAC, P.O. Box 113, Mackinaw City, MI 49701


$15 Student
$25 Individual
$35 Family
$50 Supporting
$100 Sustaining
$250 Patron
$500 Sponsor
$1000 Benefactor
Business Honor Roll: $200 and Up






Fall-Winter Newsletter from our President 2018

Winter is fast approaching, with daylight savings time having come to an abrupt halt and plenty of snow having already graced our skies. Where did this year go – so much we have seen and so many things we have done. The Arts Council has had a very busy year and is now in the planning stages for our 8th Winterfest Exhibit to be held once again in the Mackinaw Clothing and Sportswear Shop, thanks to the generosity of Patrick and Laurie Frohoff. MaryAnn Moore is chairperson for the event, to be held Friday and Saturday, January 18th and 19th, and she has already contacted many of our artists through the mail. If you are an artist and did not receive the mailing, be sure to contact Mary Ann (231-436-4568) right away and we will see that you get the necessary paperwork. The only criteria are that your artwork be recent, be consistent with the theme “Seasons of Mackinaw”, and that you be a member of our organization.



Quilt Show

Speaking of Membership, I am attempting to be frugal this year by combining our annual Membership solicitation with this newsletter; thus, the reason for the enclosed envelope. As most of you know, Memberships are the primary means of financial support for the many programs we sponsor. This year we had a total of 71 members who contributed $6,735 to support our mission. We also were privileged to be the recipient of a $7,500 grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Those grants are not easy to come by, considering they receive up to 500 and more applications. This year’s membership income and the Bridge Raffle helped meet the required match for the grant which ran from October 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Applications are due in late Spring and we will be applying once again, this time for the year 2019-2020.

Thanks to the ingenuity of board member Ann Chastain, this year we were included in the DIA Inside/Out community outreach program for 2018 which provided our community with 3 reproductions of well-known masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Art collections. They were installed in 3 of our parks in May, to be collected in October. I noticed today that they are still in our parks. Hopefully, we can be the recipient of such an honor again next year.

St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church was the location for two of our events: in June a grand tour, hosted by Sister Chris Herald, of the many beautiful and rare pieces of art displayed within the church. Of special interest was the large fourteen foot, 1987-pound stainless steel double cross designed and constructed by Ann Gildner of Cheboygan and Tom Moran from Moran Ironworks, both of whom were present for the event. In August a quilt show was held in the church with literally hundreds of quilts beautifully draped across the pews and spilling into the Reception Hall (see photo below). Thank you, Sister Chris, for your gracious hospitality for these events.

Aliana Lee Knapp-Prasek taught five free summer arts and craft workshops in the pavilion behind the school, beginning in June, and into August. Over those five sessions she had 67 children ranging in age from 2 through 12 and coming from Mackinaw City, Bliss, Carp Lake, Cheboygan, Dexter, Fowlerville, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Marshall, Portage, St. Ignace, and Westland, Michigan. She also had visiting grandchildren from Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, and Connecticut who received their information about the workshops through Sandy Planisek’s MACKINAW NEWS.

Several classes were taught by Mary Lou Peters, popular watercolorist. Bob Grzesiak, professional photographer from downstate, came north to teach a class in photography. We acquired over the course of the summer quite a list of instructors in a variety of media which we plan on presenting throughout the winter and spring months. So, watch for more coming information coming through the news media, through email notifications and through our web site and Facebook page (both of which need a lot of work – any helpers out there?).

Three live performances were presented at the school in 2018. Switchback returned in the spring, playing everything from bluegrass to country to blues to jazz and rock “n” roll with plenty of Celtic thrown in; Hungarian-born twin brothers, San and Laz Slomovitz, delighted both student audiences during the day and adult audiences in the evening with their rich variety of musical instruments and wonderful way of celebrating families, and the fun of sharing stories and songs; and finally Christopher Wright, also known under the pen names of Johnathan Rand and Christopher Knight, author of the well-known Michigan Chillers and now the American Chillers series. Following an afternoon presentation to grades 1 through 6, he conducted a creative writing workshop for eleven interested students, grades 4-12.

Our big event this year was the BRIDGE, BARRACKS AND BBQ event, held in partnership with Colonial Michilmackinac State Park. It was a culinary cook-off, held in August on a Sunday evening. Guests were greeted by Fort Interpreters in full costume, and Arts Council board members, welcoming them to a lively evening of community fun and local BBQ and Brew Tasting Stations, to satisfy both their appetites and thirst. Games, musket and cannon demonstrations, storytelling and various other activities were provided throughout the evening. Food was provided by Audie’s Restaurant, the Pizza Palace, Smoke’s, Mack City Chips, and Darrow’s Restaurant. Seven different Up North microbrews provided the beer. Arnold Palmers were available to those who preferred a non-alcoholic beverage. Musical entertainment was provided throughout the evening by Daniel Seabolt’s Full Cord Band and Jim Hawley & Son, Singer/Songwriter’s.

Your current board of directors for the 2018 fiscal year are (in alphabetical order):
Ann Chastain, Judy Churchill, Jo Cooley, Scott Gasparich, Joann Leal,
Danna Marvin, Jolene Michaels, MaryAnn Moore, and Keeney Swearer
Officers: President – Joann Leal, Vice-President – Jo Cooley,
Secretary – Judy Churchill, Treasurer – Ann Chastain

Committees & Chairpersons include: Concerts & Exhibits, MaryAnn Moore; Education and Scholarships, Jo Cooley; Marketing, Keeney Swearer; Membership, Judy Churchill; Nominating, Danna Marvin; Venue Search and Operations, entire board; and Finance/Budget, Ann Chastain.

Always feel free to contact any one of our board members if you have suggestions or ideas for fulfilling our mission which 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. Thank you once again for your support.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season, and thanking you for giving me the privilege of serving as your President this past year.


Save your Family Fare and other SpartanNash owned retail store receipts! We are participating in the Direct Your Dollars program which allows nonprofit organizations to earn $1000 by collecting $150,000 in receipts.


Summer Newsletter from our President

Summer has finally arrived after a very brief Spring. The Mackinaw City Area Arts Council has been fortunate to provide many arts opportunities over the past few months while planning for a very busy coming season.

To begin with, we are very privileged to have been chosen to host The Detroit Institute of Arts program called DIA-Inside/Out. This is a community outreach program intended to connect with new audiences outside of traditional museum walls. Individual communities are selected through an application process in which to place framed reproductions of famous artwork, often clustered within walking distance, to enable residents and visitors to find art in unexpected places – a random act of culture that elicits surprise and wonder from those discovering the art. Three high-quality reproductions of well-known works of art from the DIA collection were installed on May 16 and will remain in place through October 2018.


Detroit Inst of Arts Inside Out Program

On Sunday afternoon, June 24, at 2 PM, Sister Chris Herald will be giving a Tour of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, 600 West Central Avenue, Mackinaw City, which contains many pieces of art created by area designers and artists. Upon entering the sanctuary, your eyes will become riveted on the large fourteen-foot, 1,875-pound stainless steel double cross designed and constructed by Ann Gildner and Tom Moran. Topping the cross is a crown of 150 raw metal thorns. Behind the cross is exquisite woodwork and stone pillars designed by Enzo Lieghio. Mr. Lieghio also designed the river of rocks flowing beneath the baptismal font. Lee Sova carefully placed the rocks and the sparkling grout he used, makes the rocks appear wet. Included on the tour will be seven stained glass windows made by White and Associates of Canton, Ohio and several icon writings by Sr. Chris Herald and Jane Cardinal, including the newly dedicated Our Lady of the Straits. A reception in the Conference Center, hosted by the Arts Council, will immediately follow the tour.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to view MaryAnn Moore’s exhibit at the Pellston Airport Gallery, you still can until in or around June 19. At that time a new exhibit will be installed. Shannon Cooley has been teaching art classes to the Cheboygan-Otsego-Presque Isle Counties ESD students this past Spring on behalf of Northeast VSA
Michigan, the State Organization on Arts and Disability. Part of this exhibit will be installed in Pellston and the larger pieces will be installed at the Mackinaw Area Public Library. You won’t want to miss it.

A series of Children’s Arts & Crafts Workshops will begin on Thursday, June 21 and run every other Thursday from then through August 16th. They will be held from 11am to 1pm in the Village pavilion behind the Mackinaw City Schools. The instructor is Aliana Lee, a local artist from Levering, who from a young age has had a creative spirit. She first came to our attention when she exhibited at the 2017 Winterfest Art Exhibit at the Mackinaw Clothing and Sportswear Store. Vibrant colors, texture and imagination can be seen throughout her work. She hopes to pass this passion for art onto her students through five workshops which are described as follows:

June 21 – Summer Solstice Art Journals which the students will record their experiences and creative thoughts to take home with them;
July 05 – Canvas Banner Art: each child gets to decorate and take home a 10” x 12” personalized banner to hang on their door or wall;
July 19 – Driftwood Wall Mobile: driftwood provided or bring your own piece and turn it into a work of art. There will be lots of fun supplies available to get creative;
Aug 2 – Starry Night Cards – note cards (with envelopes included) created with watercolor techniques, honoring the dark skies and the upcoming Perseid Meteor Shower;
Aug 16 – Butterfly Magnets – Now that the butterflies are getting ready to migrate to warmer temperatures, each child will get to paint their own ceramic butterfly with a magnet on the back. There will be Painted Ladies, Swallowtails, Monarchs and Red Admirals or – come up with your own design.

Discovery Day Camp is still accepting registrations. From Monday, June 25 through Friday, June 29, the Mackinaw Area Historical Society and the Mackinaw City Area Arts Council will collaborate to sponsor a five-day Discovery Camp. Camp will begin at 9:00 each morning, adjourning at 3:00pm. Children entering the 4th through 7th grades will be exposed to a variety of art, local history, music and science experiences, led by Linda Rogers, Camp Director and educator, and several adult volunteers. The five (5) fun-filled days will include local tours, organized activities, and crafting projects. Tuition per child is $35.00, payable to MAHS. Camp registrations are limited to 24 students. Registration forms are available through the Historical Society’s web site To receive more information about the program, call or text Linda Rogers at 231-818-2878 or email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Summer Art Classes are pending. Confirmed is a Watercolor Class by our own Mary Lou Peters, to be held on Tuesday, August 21 at the Mackinaw Woman’s Club from 1:00 to 3:00pm. This class is an introduction to watercolor painting, designed for those who have always wanted to try working with watercolors without investing in the supplies. Students will leave with a completed 5” x 7” painting suitable for framing. While Mary Lou’s normal fee is $35 per student (supplies included), the Arts Council is only charging $10 per student and will subsidize the balance due Mary Lou. Class size is limited to sixteen.
Plus, Paint Small with Paula McNamara, artist and author. Create your own alter-ego in pencil and acrylics to tell your own story! All that is needed is your imagination and time. Think tiny animals, stories of your life, people you have met, places you visited or want to visit. Fly with ideas!

The Music in Mackinaw season will begin at 9:00pm on Wednesday, July 4th with a rousing concert of patriotic music, marches, showtunes and contemporary compositions by the Straits Area Concert Band. This group will subsequently perform each Tuesday through August, beginning at 8:00pm. Other concerts will include:
Friday, July 6 – 8pm Seven Bridges, Classical Rock, Country and Originals
Saturday, July 7 – 8pm A Tribute to Country Star Tim McGraw
Friday, July 13 – 8pm Boogie-Woogie, Ragtime and Jazz Pianist Matthew Ball
Saturday, July 14 – 8pm A Gordon Lightfoot Tribute, Canadian legendary singer-songwriter
Friday, July 27 – 7pm Dance North, Jo Cooley’s Student Dance Performance
Saturday, July 28 – 8pm The Raisin Pickers, Rustic Appalachian, Swing and Bluegrass

And finally, the first in a four-event series to be held over the summer entitled “Paint ON the Mackinaw, sponsored by the Icebreaker Mackinaw Museum Ship, Carrying on the theme of this year’s painting project, they welcome Ms. Martine Hahn aboard as their teacher-artist, a highly acclaimed artistic performer and motivational speaker throughout Michigan and the United States. The June event will begin on June 30th at 6:00pm “sharp” so please be on the ship no later than 5:45pm. All materials are provided, and a complimentary beverage will be offered. The cost is $40. To register, call the Mackinaw office at 231-436-9825 between 9am and 3pm, Monday through Friday. Advance payment is required, and seating is limited so they ask that you call soon! The Icebreaker Mackinaw Museum Ship is located at 131 S. Huron Avenue, Mackinaw City.

Members are always the life-blood of a not-for-profit organization and we not only welcome your financial support to help carry out our programs, we especially welcome your volunteer time. If you would like to serve on any one of our committees, please be sure to let us know. You can find out more about us at Also, be sure to check out our Facebook page.

Your current board of directors for the 2018 fiscal year are (in alphabetical order):
Ann Chastain, Judy Churchill, Jo Cooley, Scott Gasparich, Joann Leal, Danna Marvin,
Jolene Michaels, MaryAnn Moore, Susie Safford, and Keeney Swearer
Officers: President – Joann Leal, Vice-President – Jo Cooley,
Secretary – Judy Churchill, Treasurer – Ann Chastain

Committees & Chairpersons include: Concerts & Exhibits, MaryAnn Moore; Education and Scholarships, Jo Cooley; Fundraising & Events, Scott Gasparich; Marketing, Keeney Swearer; Membership, Judy Churchill; Venue and Operations, Susie Safford; and Finance/Budget, Ann Chastain.

Always feel free to contact any one of our board members if you have suggestions or ideas for fulfilling our mission which 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. Thank you once again for your support.

P.S. Watch for breaking news of a special event coming on August 26 of 2018!!!

Save your Family Fare and other SpartanNash owned retail store receipts! We are participating in the Direct Your Dollars program which allows nonprofit organizations to earn $1000 by collecting $150,000 in receipts. Joann Leal is coordinating this effort. Either give them directly to her or mail them to MCAAC, P.O. Box 113, Mackinaw City, MI 49701. Obviously, this is a long-term money-raiser, but it can be done. Many thanks for your help in this endeavor!