Functional art hits the trails

NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — Functional art has made it’s way to Negaunee.

The issue of iron pellets rolling from the southern hillside onto the Iron Ore Heritage Trail has hopefully been resolved with art.  The installation of a functional and interpretive piece of art on the trail underneath the LS & I trestle in Negaunee Township is complete.  The artists says it took him four months, but it was a labor of love..

“Well I think it combines history, art and also fabrication of industrial use with the steel backing. This is a steel plate here, behind the artwork. The artwork was done on canvas, inen canvas. I want to thank the Iron Ore Industry Museum for allowing me to look at and borrow some of their artifacts,” said artist, Mike Lempinen.

Lempinen was asked to depict miners, methods and tools from the earliest days of mining.

“I love it, we have been so excited to get this up. Even while they were installing it, so many people were coming by and just marveling at this piece of work. We are an interpretive trail system so we want creative ideas on how to fix problems, and this is one of them.,” said Carol Fulsher, Iron Ore Heritage Trail.

The art installation was made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts as well as a portion from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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