MARQUETTE – Residents of Delta and Menominee counties are invited to attend an art workshop to create a large-scale, inflatable air structure that will celebrate the uniqueness of the southern Upper Peninsula. The regional selfscape will revolve around the theme "Celebrating Forestry," in honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Forest Service.

          Summer installations are tentatively planned in conjunction with the Reading Project, July Pow Wow, and the Ludington Park Art Festival. The project will then converge with three other regional selfscapes for a grand finale display at the U.P. State Fair in August.

          The free community art workshop is scheduled for Wednesday, June 15, at the Ruth Butler Building at the U.P. State Fairground. Participants can attend one or both of the following sessions: 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. For more information or to register for the workshop, call MSU Extension at 786-3032.

          Upper Peninsula residents are participating in the pARTners: World Peace Art Initiative through a grant awarded by the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies and administered by Northern Michigan University.

          Coordinating councils in four U.P. geographic regions are recruiting youth, working-age adults and retirees to help create and decorate large-scale art pieces depicting the uniqueness of each area. The regional workshops will be led by two artists in residence: Dick Ross of Ishpeming, a retired educator and NMU alumnus; and Lou Rizzolo, a Western Michigan University professor.

          Rizzolo co-facilitates the World Peace Initiative, billed as "a global affair to bring people together through art in the name of peace." Similar environmental art works have been installed in Australia, China, Italy and Norway, as well as other locations in the United States. 

          Each U.P. region will make the following air-inflated structures: a dome about 25 ft. in diameter; a cylinder 100 ft. long and 18 ft. in diameter; four helium-filled tubes of 18 in. diameter that each span 200 ft.; and one section of another dome. When the latter is joined with the other regional sections at the U.P. State Fair, "the four directions will reflect humankind and our relationship with Mother Earth."

          Select selfscapes and domes will be integrated into World Peace Art Initiatives in two cities: Tirana, Albania, where Serbian, Bosnian and Albanian youth are working together to reconcile the past; and Kerala, India, to honor the tsunami victims."

            Collaborating partners in the World Peace Art Initiative for the southern U.P. region are: Starr Commonwealth, Michigan State University Extension, 4-H of Delta County, the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center, and Nah Tah Wahsh Public School Academy. 

Prepared By
Kristi Evans
News Director