History comes to life

MARQUETTE – If you’re planning a trip to downtown Marquette or Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Saturday, you may run into some interesting characters along the way.

Stationed at various locations, community members of all ages will stand in statue poses, representing the “every day people” who built Marquette. The event is part of on going activities surrounding the restoration and 100th year anniversary of the placement of the Father Marquette statue in downtown Marquette.

“I was really inspired to draw attention to what we call living statues, and pay homage to the working class people from our history,” said Tiina Harris, community services manager of the Arts and Culture Center in Marquette.

The historic figures will be channeled through about 10 community members, who will portray characters such as a teacher, police officer, miner, logger, a woman who runs a boarding house, a sailor and mother and daughter immigrants.

“The people participating are all volunteers and many of them have no theater experience,” Harris said. “We have a creative community and this could turn into something in the future.”

Each volunteer is clad in costumes from various eras of history, and their outfits have been spray-painted bronze. Once in costume, any skin that is visible is painted with stage make-up to give the over all appearance of a weathered look. Handling make-up and costumes is Renee Kirchenwitz-Moore and Brian Todish.

Teaching the volunteers how to move as statues, as they will not be frozen in place, was Kristin Frak, owner of Superior Dance Studio in Marquette.

“They (volunteers) are all very enthusiastic and during rehearsal we focused on slow, steady movements and deep breathing that will allow the actors to give off the impression that they are statues,” Frak said.

One of the volunteers, Northern Michigan University professor Jon Teichman, said this was something he was immediately drawn to when asked to play the part of the miner.

“Regular people in town can get involved and it’s been a real treat,” he said. “I hope people enjoy it as much as we have preparing for it.”

Harris said she is hoping people will enjoy the display and that the weather holds up.

“You can’t predict how people will respond to art, and that’s the fun of it all,” she said.

The living statues will be viewable from 2 to 6 p.m. For more information, visit the Marquette Arts and Culture Center’s Facebook page.

Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.