Local teachers support for Youth In Art

ESCANABA — The Bonifas Arts Center always seeks to connect the public with art. Last year they initiated a project to present artwork from local student Youth in Art winners at the parks of the mid-Upper Peninsula.

Local educators from Delta, Menominee and Iron counties funded this initiative both years through their Michigan Education Association (MEA) local by donating $300 each year. “We’re proud to work with the Bonifas Arts Center to showcase student artists,” says MEA 17B Coordinating Council Chair Nanci Love from Bay College. “As teachers we are committed to the intellectual and artistic growth of young people. It was a natural fit for us to help the Bonifas with funds for this project.”

Each year, the reproductions are displayed in the pavilion in Ludington Park. This year, the artwork will be added to Gladstone’s VanCleve Park.

Betty Breclaw, a Bonifas gallery volunteer and retired elementary teacher shared the idea of taking art work from Youth In Art out to the area parks. She says, “It can add color and happiness to every institutional space. “

This year’s young artists’ works selected for Park Art are: Landon Hansen, Elsie Shepeck, Anna Blake, Addyson Merfeld, Ben Hess, Riley Edwardsen, and a group project by 9th-12th graders at Bark River Harris Senior High.

Bonifas Arts Center Gallery and Regional Projects Director Pasqua Warstler agrees: “This is a relevant community project that extends one of the Art Center’s most endearing exhibits. It highlights the good work produced each year by our students and area schools.”

MEA teachers also helped judge the Youth in Art entries for the Bonifas in March. This year, Ramona Brandt and Karen Beattie from Escanaba and Casey Hinkson from Manistique volunteered time to judge.

“Judging was wonderful,” says Karen Beattie. “There are so many creative students in our community. Everyone should go and see what our talented teachers and students are up to.”

For more information on the Bonifas Arts Center, visit www.bonifasarts.org or call (906) 786-3833.

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