Saturday, March 08, 2008

International Women's Day, March 8, marked by demonstrations

PARIS -- From Paris to Afghanistan, International Women's Day, March 8, 2008, is being marked by demonstrations demanding women's rights and equality and protesting violence against women worldwide, according to an article in Yahoo News.

In France a demonstration called attention to Ingrid Betancourt, the French-Colombian hostage of the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), who was captured in February 2002 as she campaigned for the Colombian presidency. Her cause is in the news lately because of the recent summit (the Rio Group) which brought together the Presidents of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela to discuss Colombia's recent attack on the FARC within Ecuador.

In the summer of 2004, in the Champs de Mars near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Keweenaw Now witnessed and photographed this demonstration calling attention to the capture of Franco-Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt and demanding negotiations to end the violence in Colombia. Today, six years after her capture, Betancourt is still being held as a hostage by the FARC. (Keweenaw Now file photo © 2004 Michele Bourdieu)

Women in Baghdad rallied against violence and asked for equal social status with men, while in Italy women protested in favor of abortion rights.

The Yahoo article also mentions that President Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, spoke against forced marriages -- which, according to the United Nations, affect up to 80 percent of Afghan women -- and against the Taliban threat to girls' education.

Read details in the article "International Women's Day protests highlight violence, inequality" on Yahoo News.

Community Arts Center celebrates March as Youth Arts Month

HANCOCK -- The Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock is featuring artwork from area elementary, middle and high school students through March 29. The Youth Gallery and the Kerredge Gallery are filled floor to ceiling with amazing youth art.

This handmade postcard by M. Wilson is one of many made by students in local schools to raise awareness of the March Youth Arts Exhibit. Art teachers participated by having students create designs on blank postcards provided by Jack Eberhard fo the Book Concern. (Image courtesy Community Arts Center)

March is a time not only to celebrate youth art, but to appreciate the art teachers who work throughout the school year encouraging and inspiring their students. Their guidance and support helps to enrich the lives of area youth.

A reception for Celebrate Youth Arts Month will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, at the Community Arts Center, 126 Quincy Street, Hancock. Phone 482-2333 for information.

For a slide show of youth art, visit the Community Arts Center Web site.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Omphale Gallery to exhibit art by Cynthia Coté March 7-29

CALUMET -- "Levity vs. Gravity" by local artist Cynthia Coté will be on exhibit at the Omphale Gallery March 7-29. An opening reception will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 7, in the Gallery, located at 431 Fifth Street, Calumet.

Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Call (906) 337-2036 for more information.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Greg Green's paintings on exhibit at Reflection Gallery through March 21

Artist Greg Green is exhibiting large, colorful paintings like this one at Finlandia's Reflection Gallery through March 21. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

HANCOCK -– The student-run Reflection Gallery at Finlandia University’s Portage Campus is hosting an exhibit of work by local artist Greg Green through March 21. An opening reception and gallery talk will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, in the Gallery.

Included in the show are several of Green’s large, colorful paintings. Green says the paintings are about a natural process of painting and the finding of one's true nature.

"I work from scratch with no concrete plan and follow a series of problem solving moves," Green explains. "I throw myself in the middle of the lake and am forced to swim out. The result is a trail of creative processes, letting the corrections show. Hopefully keeping contrived ego moves at bay, I am showing my true nature or the rhythm of nature."

This painting by Greg Green, titled "Rabbit meet Bunnies," is mixed media on canvas. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

Artist Joyce Koskenmaki says Green is a master abstract painter.

"His work is full of soul," Koskenmaki notes. "The way he approaches his paint process, keeping the spontaneity of the moment, totally present to the work, is very Zenlike. I admire him greatly for being able to do that. He is in touch with mystery. Each work celebrates it, in its own way. Viewers who are unfamiliar with this way of working find that the work 'grows on you' and continues to release its energy. This work bears revisiting, more than once."

Green says his most recent work is about "living out of your heart and not your head."

Several of the paintings are mixed media on canvas. Green said these can include fabric, charcoal, oils or house paint. He shops at the St. Vincent de Paul second-hand store for fabric that he selects for color, pattern and sometimes a "vintage" look.

This mixed media painting has a three-dimensional look. (Photo © 2008 Gustavo Bourdieu)

Green is a resident of Keweenaw County and works as Assistant Manager of the Keweenaw Co-op in Hancock. He has a Master in Fine Arts (MFA) degree from the University of Minnesota.

The Reflection Gallery is located in the Finlandia School of Art and Design, on the second floor of the old hospital, 200 Michigan Street, Hancock.

For additional information, please contact Finlandia studio arts associate professor Yueh-mei Cheng at 906-487-7375.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Updated: Great Bear Chase ski races to connect with downtown Calumet March 9

Skiers climb a challenging hill during a previous Great Bear Chase race on the Swedetown Trails. (File photo © Keweenaw Now)

CALUMET --The 28th annual River Valley State Bank Great Bear Chase cross country ski competition will be held on Sunday, March 9. The 26 km classic race begins at 8:40 a.m., and both the 26 km and 51 km freestyle races begin at 9 a.m. This year both the start and the finish of the race will be in or near downtown Calumet.

This year’s race will feature a newly relocated start line. Skiers will line up and begin the race behind the Christ Episcopal Church on Red Jacket Road. Bear Chase participants and spectators may recall that last year marked a similar change: the relocation of the finish line to downtown Fifth Street, which will be repeated this year.

According to the Bear Chase race planning committee, holding the competition’s start near Calumet’s downtown is a great way for the community to get a better view of the skiers. Spectators will have the opportunity to witness the competitors -- approximately 500 in total -- as they take off from the start line.

Dave Mayo-Kiely, a coordinator with the race planning committee, said the locations of the start and finish lines will add to the atmosphere of the event -- for skiers and spectators alike.

"Holding elements of the race in Calumet’s downtown really adds to the overall event," said Mayo-Kiely. "The atmosphere of the historic buildings and churches makes everything that much more exciting. Plus, it’s great that the spectators can head into the downtown shops and businesses."

The race planning committee has also once again assured participants that they are hard at work to provide good skiing conditions -- well groomed trails with plenty of clean snow, even in the downtown areas and away from the regular trails.

The remainder of the race will mimic last year’s competition, with participants in the three events -- 26 km classic, 26 km freestyle, and 51 km freestyle -- skiing the Swedetown trail system before heading down for their big finish on Fifth Street.

The race planning committee notes another key benefit: participants will end the race within close walking distance to the Keweenaw Heritage Center, which serves as the staging and refreshment area. Skiers will be able to refuel and head right back out to cheer on their fellow racers.

Thanks to owners Frank and Emily Fiala, skiers can also take advantage of coupons to visit the new Fifth and Elm Coffee House, near the Calumet Theatre, which will be open all day Sunday for racers and visitors.

Online registration will not be available on the day of the race; to pre-register or to obtain more information, visit

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are still needed to help with the race. On Saturday for registration volunteers are needed from 12 noon to 4 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

On Sunday several road crossings from downtown to the snowmobile trail need to be staffed throughout the whole day; back-up timing people are also needed. For both road crossing and timing functions the duties will be split between shifts running from 8 a.m. - 11 a.m. and then from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

If you can help out, please send Dave Mayo-Kiely an email at and indicate your preferred task and time.

Junior Bear Chase

The Junior Bear Chase, a youth Nordic ski race for skiers up to 16-years-old, will take place on Saturday, March 8, at the Michigan Tech Trails. All finishers receive a participation award. Awards will be presented for first, second and third place in each age/gender division in each race.

The race is sponsored by the Copper Country Ski Tigers, a youth nordic ski organization.

Fees are $5 if received by March 6, 2008; $7 day-of-race. Mail registration forms, with check payable to Ski Tigers, to Ski Tigers, PO Box 512, Hancock MI 49930. NOTE: Registration must be RECEIVED BY March 6 to qualify as pre-registered.

For more information visit the Ski Tigers Web site.