Celebrating Marquette’s art scene at the 18th annual Art Awards

Ten artists were honored for their involvement in the arts at the Marquette Arts and Culture Center’s 18th annual Art Awards Friday night.

It was a full house to honor those that have contributed to Marquette’s arts and culture scene over the past year, including volunteers, writers, and traditional artists.  The awards, and the strong community support, highlight the importance art has in the Marquette area.

“I think the community embraces art, it’s important to them, the value it, and we’re lucky to live here for that,” Marquette Arts and Culture Center director Tiina Harris said.

“Often times these people work very much by themselves, art can be a very personal kind of work and so this (the Art Awards) is a chance bring them out to the community, let the community see who they are, and really thank them for making our community someplace special.”

Found-object artist Ritch Branstrom, who lives in Rapid River, won the 2014 Visual Artist Award.  He uses all sorts of objects donated to him by his family and friends to create new art.

“Usually a piece starts when I find something that it reminds me of something, and I will combine other elements and create a whole form,” Branstrom said.

“Winning the Visual Artist Award for 2014 for Marquette is quite an honor.  There are a lot of talented people in this area, and I consider Marquette to be the cultural epicenter of the Upper Peninsula.”

The winners were nominated by community members, and a judging panel of past award winners selected the honorees.

Other winners included:

  • Arts Volunteer — Susan De Jong
  • Youth Award — Milo Birch Staley
  • Acts Activist — Ann Russ
  • Writer — Russell Thorburn
  • Arts Educator — Shane Murray
  • Outstanding Community Impact — Grandparents Teach, Too
  • Performing Artist — Eclettico
  • Special Recognition Individual — Jason Limberg
  • Arts Business Honor Roll — Zero Degrees Art Gallery

More information on Branstrom’s found-object art can be found here.