City looks for artist to redo classic park sign

MARQUETTE – The city of Marquette is looking for an artist to recreate the classic sign at the entrance to Presque Isle.

The sign – it depicts an Ojibwe man rowing a birch bark canoe through the waters near the island – has stood near the entrance to Presque Isle since at least the 1950s, according to Tiina Harris, the city’s community services manager for arts and culture.

“It’s really a recognizable feature of the island that people have told the city over and over again they miss,” Harris said.

As described in the city’s official request for proposals, the commissioned artist can create the image in a number of mediums, including digitally.

Once the image is complete, the city will make a digital copy and then reproduce the image to display on the island sign. The original artwork will likely be displayed elsewhere in the city, according to Harris, who said this upcoming image will be much more permanent.

“Whatever artist is chosen, that image is going to be associated with the island always,” she said.

The current sign, the second iteration of the image, is dilapidated and was removed recently. Currently, it sits in the city’s Arts and Culture Center and Harris said she would like to see the old sign placed on display elsewhere, perhaps in the Presque Isle Pavilion.

When submitting a proposal to the city, artists must present proposal images to demonstrate past work.

Proposals are due to the city by Feb. 19 and will be reviewed the following day by the Marquette Arts and Culture Advisory Committee. The selected proposal will be presented to the city commission on Feb. 25 and the artwork must be completed by May 28.

Harris said she is looking forward to seeing the new sign put up in the spring.

“The island, Presque Isle, is the gem of our city,” she said. “It really is truly one of the most remarkable places in our city, and it’s a destination.”

Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.