I know a lot of us think that the Island basically closes down in the winter, but winter is the time when all the plans are made for the upcoming summer season, and I’m bursting with excitement about two news releases I’ve read this week.
One is about a special event on the island this summer . . . the Mackinac Island Grand Pow Wow, and the other is the opening of a new Center for the Arts on Mackinac!
Back in 2005, a Pow Wow was hosted on the Island for the first time in over a hundred years, and this year Great Turtle Festivals, a 501c3 non-profit organization, will bring the event to the Island once again. This is HUGE! Frankie and I attended a Pow Wow in St. Ignace a couple of years ago, and I can’t even begin to tell you what a fun, educational, and thoroughly enjoyable day it was. Great Turtle Festivals celebrates the heritage and culture of the Chippewa Indians (Ojibwa/Anishinaabeg) in the Great Lakes Region of Upper Michigan.
The festival will be in the fall, September 27-29, and I hope every one of you marks your calendar and plans to make this one of your trips to the island during the 2012 season.
As plans and event schedules are posted, I’ll be passing all of it on to you through these winter updates and then through the blog this summer, after we back on the island. If you are on Facebook, you can “like” their new Facebook page “Mackinac Grand Pow Wow”.
The other big news – straight from the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau news release:
In partnership with Mission Point Resort, Mackinac Arts Council (MAC) will be taking over the management of the Mission Point theater building. MAC will manage the theater, foyer and gallery spaces and provide programming, art shows and workshops.. The Art Center is located at the west end of the Fine Arts Building at Mission Point Resort. The new name for this building will be the Center for the Arts, and the Mackinac Arts Council’s office will be in this building. Mackinac Arts Council will continue their programming offsite – the Music in the Park series in Marquette Park and the art workshops that are held at the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum.
The building was originally built by the Moral Re-armament (MRA) and is an exceptional piece of Americana architecture. The turn of the century theater was built with Michigan white pine and has exceptional acoustics. It is home to the classic theater scene in Somewhere in Time, featuring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.
The Mackinac Arts Council was started in 2002. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been bringing performing and visual arts experiences to audiences on Mackinac Island. The years have brought many successes: Music in the Park and Workshops at the Museum have been added in the past two years. Music in the Park hosts seven free concerts in Marquette Park starting in late June. The workshops, taught in the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, bring arts and craft opportunities with classes in drawing, watercolor, jewelry and many more media. The Mackinac Arts Council (MAC) will be hosting films at the theater in the Center for the Arts – starting in May with the Monday night movies and growing in June to include Monday and Friday nights through October. Featured will be a varied selection to engage all genres of film – old and new – including an exciting film series with Professor Jim Bogan who has joined MAC to offer a five-week series dubbed “Watching a Film with Jim Bogan,” which will begin in July 2013.
MAC’s annual calendar may be found at www.mackinacartscouncil.org and updates will be posted to their Facebook (www.facebook.com/mackinacartscouncil) and Twitter (@MackinacArts) pages. The Mackinac Arts Council partners with Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Mackinac Island Community Foundation, Veuve Clicquot, Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mission Point Resort, along with local businesses that have provided years of in-kind support and many incredible volunteers.
Mackinac Island Photos from the Past Week
A Christmas Story
This story doesn’t come from Mackinac Island, but it starts in the Upper Peninsula north woods and involves a ship stationed in Cheboygan. That’s close enough for me, and besides . . . it’s a great Christmas story!
My good friend Jill has been spending most of her time since leaving the island in Chicago – house and dog-sitting for a friend who is traveling a lot this winter. Also living in Chicago this winter is Jeremy (who works with Jill at the Island Bookstore). The other day they met down at the Naval Pier to watch the Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw come into the harbor. The Mackinaw is stationed in Cheboygan, and we see it all the time, but on that day it was on a very special mission . . . it was this year’s Christmas Ship. The Mackinac arrived loaded with 1,300 Christmas trees, cut in the north woods of Michigan’s U.P. and to be given to needy Chicago families. The ship was continuing a treasured piece of Chicago’s maritime tradition which began in 1903.
The schooner Rouse Simmons was the original Christmas Ship that came to Chicago from the Michigan Upper Peninsula with fresh evergreens and wreaths for the holiday season. On Nov. 23, 1912, while transiting from Michigan, the Rouse Simmons was lost in a storm and sank with a crew of 16 between Kewaunee and Two Rivers, Wisconsin.
Chicago’s boating community has been re-enacting the days of the Rouse Simmons’ landing in Chicago for the past 12 years. The 1,300 Christmas trees, purchased by Chicago’s Christmas Ship Committee, were offloaded on Saturday morning by members of the Coast Guard and local youth volunteers including the Sea Cadets, Venture Crews, Sea Explorer Scouts and the Young Marines.
The first three trees were presented to three deserving families who attended the arrival ceremony, and the remaining trees were loaded onto trucks for distribution to more than 1,000 deserving families throughout Chicago.
During its transit to Chicago this year, the crew of the Mackinaw dropped a wreath into the waters near the resting place of the Rouse Simmons, which was located in 1971. (Resource for this story: “Coast Guard Compass” – the official blog of the U.S. Coast Guard)
Apologies to Jill and Jeremy for any photos I credited to the wrong person! I’m easily confused these day.
Chris Ann Update
Chris Ann has had a good week, traveling for a couple of days to Lansing to see more children and grandchildren and friends from all over. She and Burton (and entourage) just might make it to their cottage in Mackinaw City this week!
That’s all I have for today from the Island and Michigan. Hoping all of us are about to finish up your Christmas shopping, so we can relax and concentrate on what Christmas really means. Sharing a Facebook note from son Blake’s readings: “That is what Christmas means – to find in a place (a manger in Bethlehem), where you would least expect to find anything you want, everything you could ever want” – Michard Card.