City arts awards set for Friday

MARQUETTE – Local artists of all types will be honored Friday at the 18th Annual Arts Awards for the city of Marquette.

Tiina Harris, community services director for arts and culture, said a reception will begin at 6 p.m. at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center, located in the basement of the Peter White Public Library, followed by the awards program at 7.

“They add a quality of life in our city like no other, and this evening is to honor them and thank them,” Harris said.

The event will be in conjunction with the Lake Superior Art Association’s annual members show.

These winners will be honored: Community Impact Award, Grandparents Teach, Too; Youth Award, Milo Birch Staley; Performing Artist, Eclettico; Community Arts Activist, Ann Russ; Arts Volunteer, Susan De Jong; Arts Business Honor Roll, Zero Degrees Artist Gallery; Visual Artist, Ritch Branstrom; Special Recognition Individual, Jason Limberg; Arts Educator, Shane Murray; and Writer, Russell Thorburn.

“All of these people, all their names, are so recognizable,” Harris said. “All the year’s recipients are all leaders in the arts and culture community. They’ve all done their part to really help make Marquette the vibrant place that it is, that we all love to live.”

Grandparents Teach conducts an outreach program for grandparents, parents and caregivers of young children. Milo Birch Staley is a 10-year-old musician who has self-recorded and released two albums. Eclettico is a string ensemble with a focus on education, outreach and fundraising while Russ is a ceramicist who helped organize the Community 100DayProject.

De Jong is active with the Marquette City Band, and Zero Degrees is a local cooperative that features artists who make hand-created goods. Branstrom is a found-object sculptor noted for his promotion of environmental consciousness through his large-scale works. Limberg was awarded Best of Show at the 2013 Art on the Rocks, while Murray is organizer and director of Music For All Kids. Thorburn is the Upper Peninsula’s poet laureate.

They’re not all artists in the traditional sense of the word, Harris noted.

“They’re volunteers, they’re educators, they’re business people, they’re a nonprofit organization, they’re board members, they’re performers,” she said.

And all of them, Harris said, need to work together to make a vibrant and healthy and economically viable arts community.

The awards winners also must have impacted the city of Marquette.

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