Seniors art: Marquette Arts and Culture Center offers classes

MARQUETTE – Retired educator Renee Michaud taught youngsters reading for 34 years.

She recently took on the task of teaching another age group – adults 55 and up – and another subject: Art. The result was a fun afternoon of learning about collage for a collection of enthusiastic seniors.

Michaud is teaching more about collage this coming Tuesday (April 16) as part of the Marquette Arts and Culture Center’s Senior Arts program.

“We run senior arts on the first and third Tuesdays of the month from 1 to 3 p.m.,” said Amy Lakanen, administrative assistant for the City of Marquette Community Services Arts and Culture program.

“Senior Arts are free to all seniors 55 years of age and up. In the past, we have had ‘Paint Like VanGogh’ and ‘intro to ceramics’ classes,” Lakanen said. “This month is collage with Renee Michaud and in the coming months, we are looking into more ceramics, silk scarf making and drawing/illustration classes.”

Michaud, who has the Nook and Cranny Art Studio in Ishpeming’s Pioneer Square, said she was excited to be back to teaching art.

“I had taught kids with special needs but always kept my finger on art and now I am back at it,” she said. “There is so much art talent in the Upper Peninsula. I had taken classes here (at Peter White Public Library, where the MACC is located) and now I get to teach one. I am thrilled.”

With an assist from friend and fellow artist Rene Himes, Michaud led the seniors through a project they could take home with them. It was collage, using a variety of textured elements.

Starting with 5-inch by 5-inch matte boards, Michaud showed the seniors how to prepare the board by painting a gloss coating on to start.

“That helps ‘glue’ it down,” she said.

With an example of her own work, a collage she named “Arabella,” Michaud taught the seniors step by step how to do their own collages, using an iron as one of the tools.

“I didn’t like to iron when I was young,” Michaud joked. “Now I have two of them.”

Collages can use all sorts of materials, she said.

“With a collage you’re layering on,” Michaud said. “I am a mixed media artist so I will use anything I can find to glue down.

“Collage has been around a long time,” she explained. “It blossomed when people could afford to buy it. Supplies became available for art like paints in a tube, making them accessible to the common person. And art exploded.”

For “Arabella,” Michaud used a scarf for the sleeves, paper for hair and flowers on the canvas.

“If you look at her face, I used tracing paper,” she said. “If you look closely at a child’s face, you’ll see different colors than if you looked at an adult’s face. That’s what you try to capture.”

Michaud also had samples of collages she called “little gems.”

“Those will just put a little bit of happiness by your kitchen sink,” she said. “They are just the perfect size.”

The beauty of collage, she said, is in its variety.

“I could collage from now until the cows come home,” Michaud said. “You never run out of things to do with collage.”

For more information on Michaud, visit her website,

For more information on the MACC’s senior art classes, call 228-0472.

Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.