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Friday, September 12, 2008

Stamp Sand Art Experience at Calumet Dam Sept. 13

CALUMET -- The Stamp Sand Art Experience -- with music and art -- is happening from noon to 6 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 13, at Calumet Dam.

A lonely sign marks the entrance to the Calumet Township park at Calumet Dam. Signs will be posted around town directing visitors to the Stamp Sand Art Experience from the highway. (Photo courtesy Dan Schneider).

Different from many art fairs and festivals where artists set up booths to sell their work, the Stamp Sand Art Experience is a venue for artists to gather and make art in the same time and place.

North and a little east of Calumet, at the dead end of Waterworks Street (not to be confused with Calumet Waterworks Road or Tamarack Waterworks Road, which are both west of Calumet), the Art Experience is set in the middle of a mostly-open field with sporadic stands of birch and pine trees. This used to be an expanse of stamp sand and, after that, an automotive salvage yard, so there's some history under the ground.

Flyers around town promoting the Stamp Sand Art Experience, which is in its second year, aptly describe Calumet Dam as a "bizarrely beautiful landscape." Calumet Dam, which some people call Calumet Lake, is a little out of most people's daily rounds; but signs will guide visitors in from U.S. Highway 41 and M-203 once they reach Calumet.

Melithequin's Bling plays at the 2007 Stamp Sand Art Experience. The band is part of the musical lineup for this year's festival, as well. (Photo courtesy Dan Schneider).

Music is part of the festival, with Melithequin's Bling, Pasi Lautala and Randy Wakeham and with Clay Hilman performing along with Rogar and the Horribles. The bands' backdrop is a derelict hot air balloon envelope suspended from the tops of birch trees. The hot air balloon billows in the wind considerably.

Carmelita's will be on site selling food. The Stamp Sand Art Experience is free and open to anyone. Artists are especially encouraged to bring their paints, clay, fiber, wood, etc., and spend the afternoon making art.

Democrats to open campaign office in Houghton Sept. 13

HOUGHTON -- Members of the Houghton County Democratic Party (HCDP) will open a campaign office at noon on Saturday, Sept. 13.

The Houghton office, at 509 Shelden Ave., will complement the party’s Calumet office, already open at 305 Sixth St.

During the Calumet Heritage Celebration Aug. 16, 2008, Houghton County Democrats Mary Hunt, center, and Carol Kurz chat with Keweenaw County Commissioner Frank Stubenrauch, Democrat, who is running for re-election in November. Hunt is the coordinator for the Calumet office of the Houghton County Democrats. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

"With two months left before the election, we are excited to get our Houghton office open," said Brian Hoduski, HCDP co-chair. "Now, in partnership with the Obama Campaign for Change, the HCDP has an office dedicated to serving central Houghton County and to helping to elect our local, state and national tickets."

The Houghton office will be staffed by Obama Campaign for Change staffer Mike Levin and by HCDP volunteers. Party Secretary Barb Turuc-Mills will coordinate the Houghton office. Mary Hunt is the Calumet office coordinator.

Beverly Berg and Ron Ranta, both of Atlantic Mine, volunteer at the Democrats' information booth during the Houghton County Fair Aug. 23, 2008. At right is Houghton County Commissioner Anton Pintar, who is running for re-election in November. (Photo © 2008 Michele Bourdieu)

With U.S. Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden at the top of the Democratic ticket, the campaign office will also provide re-election support for U.S. Senator Carl Levin and U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak, for State Representative Mike Lahti, for Houghton County Drain Commissioner John Pekkala, Clerk Mary Schoos and County Commissioners Scot Ala, Anton Pintar and Paul Luoma.

Visit the HCDP Web site at

For more information contact Co-Chair Brian Hoduski at 906-482-7913.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Exhibit by Cynthia Coté at Reflection Gallery through Sept. 30

HANCOCK -- "Dwelling," an exhibit of work by artist Cynthia Coté, is featured at Finlandia University ’s Reflection Gallery through Sept. 30, 2008. An opening reception for the artist will take place rom 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008, at the gallery. The reception is open to the public. Coté will speak about her work at 1 p.m.

The exhibit includes works created by Coté over the past 10 years: Dom, Lost Relatives, Where the Relatives Live, Card Catalogs, Sails (kinetic books), and Constructions. Coté says the goal of the exhibit is to show a progression: where the concept of "dwelling," in both its meanings (noun and verb), has taken her as an artist.

"I often ponder just when it was that I became an artist," Coté writes in her artist’s statement. "I’ve always been a maker. I think some of the early constructions that I made as a kid out of cardboard, glue, and fabric were really good. I have always been inspired to make things that honor a sense of place."

Coté adds that the work she creates today gives her familiar feelings and pleasure in much the same way that it did when she was a child.

"I am still using the same kinds of materials: cardboard, paper, glue, fabric, string, and found objects," she explains. "The only difference is now I get to hang it on the wall and talk about it. Bear with me as I ruminate over where life as an artist/maker has taken me."

Coté has been a studio artist since 1988. She is the executive director of the Copper Country Community Arts Center, Hancock, and has instructed art classes widely in the Upper Peninsula. Her teaching experience includes Finlandia University, the Michigan Tech University Summer Youth Program and time as a visiting artist at Jeffers High School and South Range Elementary. She has been active in community projects such as the Main Street Calumet Design Committee and the Houghton Spring Art and Music Festival.

The director of the Reflection Gallery this semester is Finlandia illustration senior Sarah Anderson (Houghton); the assistant director is illustration sophomore Rachel Reideinga (Wetmore). The gallery is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is located on the 2nd level of Finlandia’s Portage Campus, 200 Michigan St., Hancock.

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

Editor's Note: This text, the photo of Cynthia Coté and the photo of one of her works, "Card Catalog Detail in Progress," are courtesy of Finlandia University.