Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Community Arts Center hosts Shaft exhibit through Nov. 30; members plan for future 

This mixed media work by artist Sue Hamilton, part of the 17th Annual Shaft exhibit at the Community Arts Center, is titled "The Fabric of Calumet, MI." Click on photos for larger versions. (Photos by Keweenaw Now)

By Eric Rosenberg*

HANCOCK -- Wednesday, Nov. 10, found the Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) in Hancock playing host to two important events -- the opening of the 17th Annual Shaft exhibit in the Kerredge Gallery and the annual CCCAC members’ meeting.

Artist Vanessa Lipson visits the Shaft exhibit in the Kerredge Gallery after the Community Arts Center annual meeting Nov. 10.

The Shaft exhibit includes 34 pieces by 21 local artists who were invited to create works inspired by mining in the Copper Country -- the physical signs of its presence or the effect it has had on the area and its people. The pieces cover a diverse range of subjects, ranging from the actual physical mine shafts to the workers who mined in them, in a variety of mediums.

Community Arts Center members and visitors chat at the opening of the Shaft exhibit in the Kerredge Gallery on Nov. 10. A closing reception for the exhibit will be held this Friday, Nov. 26.

A closing reception will be held for the Shaft exhibit from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26, at the Arts Center. The reception is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. For this exhibit, viewers have been invited to cast their vote for public choice. Cash awards will be presented at the close of the exhibit, which continues through Nov. 30.

More entries in the Shaft exhibit. Visitors can vote for their favorite.

In the Junior Shaft category, Jared Butala, Maggie Gaunt, and Stuart Rosemurgy -- whose work is included in the Kerredge Gallery exhibit -- will receive awards graciously provided by the Quincy Mine Hoist Association.

This piece, by Cynthia Coté, is titled "They Didn't Think There Was Any Cause for Concern," commemorating the 30 people who died in the Osceola #3 fire. It is made of folded paper and hand colored photocopies of Copper Country people tied together with copper wire.

Annual CCCAC members’ meeting: present needs, future plans

The annual CCCAC members’ meeting was largely centered on the current affairs of the Arts Center and its plans for the near future.

Cynthia Coté, Copper Country Community Arts Center executive director, welcomes members and visitors to the annual meeting on Nov. 10.

One major focus for the future is the proposed redesign of the Community Arts Center building. The Copper Country Community Arts Center is planning to renovate the building to meet with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED certification entails meeting certain guidelines and goals in order to have a "green" building.**

While the renovations themselves haven’t yet begun, the plans for the renovations have nearly been completed. Kiko de Melo e Silva, a CCCAC board member, presented a series of mock-up photos illustrating some of the proposed changes to the building. The current plan suggests removing the rear third of the building, leaving that as an outdoor area, opening up the floor halls with a more modular feel, and installing numerous windows to allow for more natural light.

During the annual meeting, CCCAC Board Member Kiko de Melo e Silva presents proposed changes to the Arts Center building. The goal is to renovate the building to meet "green building" certification.

Unfortunately, the meeting wasn’t entirely good news. The financial report, given by treasurer Terry Monson, was considerably grim. This situation is due, in large part, to the current economic climate. While their sales have remained roughly the same as in previous years, available grant money has dropped off significantly.

Nevertheless, the year isn’t over yet. CCCAC board members remain hopeful.

"I’m proud of the arts center," said Phyllis Fredendall, board vice president.

Fredendall added she was optimistic that the board and members could work through the issues raised.

Cynthia Coté, the Center’s executive director, agreed.

"I thought the meeting was encouraging," Coté said. "It was some tough news, but hopefully it will help us to reshape our focus to better meet the community’s needs."

Community Arts Center members and visitors enjoy refreshments and take in the displays set up in the art classroom for the meeting.

The meeting concluded with a report on how the CCCAC is responding to the new arts environment. When the Center was established 18 years ago, there weren’t any other art venues or art education opportunities in the area. While the CCCAC has been introducing new opportunities, other organizations have opened up as well. The board of directors has since been re-evaluating the Center’s mission goal and how they can adapt it to the new Keweenaw arts landscape.

For more information on the Copper Country Community Arts Center, visit their newly designed Web site at http://www.coppercountryarts.com/.

Editor's Notes:
Guest reporter Eric Rosenberg is a student at Michigan Tech University. Last summer, while a student in David Clanaugh's journalism class, Rosenberg wrote three articles (one of which was our first audio podcast) published on Keweenaw Now.

** Read our articles on the public meetings held last year to begin the discussion of the potential Community Arts Center green building project. See "Arts Center Green Building presentation / forum sparks community discussion" and "Glass Center visitors inspire Community Arts Center green building supporters."

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