MARQUETTE--When 2,005 blue and white painted chairs were scheduled to make an appearance at the 2005 Finn Grand Fest (FGF05), Mary Beikkola-Wright, the chair project coordinator, went into action. For the past two years, she has embarked on a major outreach program throughout the Upper Peninsula making sure that a few thousand chairs are painted and placed throughout the Marquette community during the festival held August 10-14. While traveling throughout the 15 U.P. counties, an offspring of the project took hold.


“I’ve been from Sault Ste Marie to Menominee and most places in between working with citizens of all the U.P. counties on this chair painting project,” enthused Biekkola-Wright. “It’s been a phenomenal experience to witness the thousands of pieces of art that have been created. But what also struck me was the diversity of the counties and the claim to fame and unique charm of each one of them. That triggered me into thinking of printing a calendar that highlights the chairs for years to come, but also showcases the beauty of the Upper Peninsula.”


Organizers of FGF05 gleaned on to the project and hired professional photographer, Josh Quigley, to work with Biekkola-Wright. The project has sent them onto Lake Superior ice to inside ore docks, mine shaft and caves.


“This calendar is more than the typical scenic shot of Upper Peninsula woods and water,” adds Carol Fulsher, FGF05 Vice President. “The two artists, Josh and Mary, came up with some very unusual shots of the chairs among the Peninsula’s surroundings. It is just very beautifully done. International Paper, who partially sponsored the project, even worked a paper chair into their ad. Anyone with a connection to the Upper Peninsula or anyone who enjoys stunning creative photography will love what has been created.”


The 15-month calendar representing January 2006 through March 2007 will also feature Canadian, Finnish and American holidays. It will sell for $15 and be available at the FGF05 marketplace held in the Superior Dome on NMU’s campus August 11-14. Orders can also be placed through the FGF05 web site,


For more information on Finn Grand Fest 2005, visit or call 1-906-222-FINN.

Prepared By
Carol Fulsher