Several local arts & culture organizations receive grants

MARQUETTE – Arts and culture organizations in the city of Marquette have been awarded almost $200,000 in grant funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

According to the website for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the MCACA strengthens art and culture in the state by increasing its visibility, supports art education, encourages new works of art and broadens a cultural understanding. It also is a source for arts and culture grant funding.

Organizations in Marquette that received grants include: Marquette Arts and Culture Center, $17,000; Lake Superior Theatre Inc., two grants totaling $29,000; Liberty Children’s Art Project, $14,000; Marquette Regional History Center, $12,000; Marquette Symphony Orchestra, $17,000; Marquette Maritime Museum, $12,000; Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum, two grants that totaled $33,216; Marquette Area Public Schools, two grants totaling $33,000; Northern Michigan University, $20,400; and Marquette City Band, $9,350.

“The MCACA is amazingly wonderful funding because it helps pay for the most basic of needs such as personnel, utility bills and operational supplies,” said Nheena Weyer Ittner, director of the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. “The dollars are unrestricted so we may use them as we see fit.”

Ben Bohnsack, president of the Marquette City Band board, said: “This is the first year the Marquette City Band applied for funds from MCACA and we are very excited about what will be possible.”

Growing out of a master plan developed for the next three years, after decades of only summer concerts, the band will expand its season with concerts at 3 p.m.Feb. 9 and 7:30 p.m. May 1, both at Reynolds Recital Hall at NMU, Bohnsack said.

Marcia Parkkonen, business manager for the Marquette Symphony Orchestra, said the grant will be used to cover the operating costs of putting on concerts March 1, May 17 and in September, with each concert running between $25,000 and $30,000.

“The money goes to partially cover the stipends of the area musicians and the costs of renting Kaufman Auditorium,” Parkkonen said.

She said a small amount of last year’s grant supported the commission to Thomas LaVoy for composing “A Child’s Requiem,” which premiered Dec. 14 at the auditorium.

Kaye Hiebel, executive director of the Marquette Regional History Center, said the operational support grant will be used to help the center underwrite the costs for running the facility.

“That is very helpful for us as we can use the funds wherever we need them and it reduces the amount of money we need to fundraise for next year, and we can devote that time to more creative programming,” Hiebel said.

Melissa Matuscak, director and curator of the DeVos Art Museum at NMU, said the grant will support elements of a partnership between the museum and the recently established Rabbit Island artists-in-residence program. This will include funding artists’ time creating new work while in residence, the production of a related exhibition and an accompanying catalogue.

Lake Superior Theatre will use its grant funds toward the purchase of new sound equipment and for staff salary support, said Nikke Nason, theatre executive and artistic director and business manager.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.