MARQUETTE – Residents of Baraga, Houghton, Ontonagon, Gogebic and Keweenaw counties are invited to attend an art workshop to create a large-scale, inflatable air structure that will celebrate the uniqueness of the western Upper Peninsula. The regional selfscape will revolve around the theme "Portrait of the Western U.P."

            A summer installation is tentatively planned in conjunction with Bridgefest. 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 Friday, June 17, at the Houghton County Ice Arena in Hancock. Participants can attend one or both of the following sessions: from 9 a.m. to noon, or from 1-4 p.m. For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Carol Kreher at

            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 western U.P. region are: Starr Commonwealth; Michigan State University Extensions of Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties; 4-H of Baraga, Houghton and Keweenaw counties; and the Copper Country Community Arts Council. 

Prepared By
Miriam Moeller and Kristi Evans
News Director