MAAC in the Box Opens with Reception May 19th

MAAC in the Box Opens with Reception May 19th

More than 190 pieces of artwork by regional artists have been accepted into the Michiana Annual Arts Competition (MAAC) and will be on exhibit in all four of the Box Factory for the Arts galleries, 1101 Broad St., St. Joseph, MI, beginning on May 19 and continuing through July 9th. The galleries are open on Wednesdays-Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with extended hours on Thursdays until 7 p.m.
Awards will be presented to artists during a reception on May 19 from 5:30-7 p.m. Music will be provided by Berrien Artist Guild member Jessica Fogle who will be conducting a kid’s summer music C.A.M.M.P. (Create a Mini Musical Play) at the Box. Light refreshments and a cash bar will be available. The event is free and open to the public.

Maggie Bandstra, who served as the MAAC judge, will offer comments about this year’s exhibit. Maggie graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with an MFA in painting in 2021. She has competed in all Art Prize competitions since the first one in 2009, and taught art for 27 years.

The Best of Show award of $1,500 is sponsored by the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council continuing a tradition of underwriting the MAAC. This year’s award goes to Lynne Kramer of Benton Harbor for her 3D entry entitled “Mist Over the Mountains.”

Providing the $500 category awards are: Honor Credit Union; John Devries Insurance Agency; Foster Swift Collins and Smith, PC Attorneys; Krasl Art Center; Cooper & Associates CPAs, PLLC; Gast Family Farms; AEP Foundation; and an Anonymous Donor.  Second Place awards of $100 will also be presented.

New this year is the “People’s Choice” Award offering the opportunity to vote for your favorite artwork. It’s easy to participate. View all the artwork in the galleries or online at and cast your vote. Each vote costs $1 and you can vote as many times as you’d like between May 19th and July 9th. The goal is to raise $1,000 for the Box Factory, and if we do, donors Robert and Joan Judd will match with another $1,000. The People’s Choice winner will receive $100.

The Category winners are:
Eliza Sarra, St. Joseph – Drawing – “Birds of Flight”
Julie Koch – Benton Harbor – Fiber Arts – “Flower Garden”
Matt Payovich – St. Joseph – Oil Painting – “Ellis”
Sara Sokol – Stevensville – 3D – “Intuition”
Sherry Saenz – South Haven – Black and White Photography – “Natural Abstract”
Mary Whalen – Richland, MI – Color Photography – “Summer Garden”
David Baker – St. Joseph – Water Media – “Between the Water and the Sky”
Mary Whalen – Richland, MI – Pop-Up/Zine/Poster/Illustration – “World of Wonders”

Second Place awards go to:
Laurie Rousseau – South Bend, IN – Drawing – “Vanate”
T.J. Schwartz – St. Joseph – Fiber Arts – “The Stories I Was Told”
Robert Williams – Stevensville – Oil Painting – “Bella in Green Shirt”
Michele Corazzo – Chesterton, IN – 3D – “Sextet”
Nolan Tackett – St. Joseph, – Black and White Photography – “Tetons”
Surekka Ninala – Berrien Springs – Color Photography -“Sandstone Palace”
Nathan Margoni – Benton Harbor – Water Media – “Golden Boy”
Betsy Gill – St. Joseph – Pop-Up/Zine/Poster/Illustration – “Nevertheless Blooming”

To view all of the winning artwork please go to:

For more on this and other Box Factory events, visit the Box online at or visit the Box on Facebook at

Box Factory for the Arts Open Mic on Hiatus

Box Factory for the Arts Open Mic on Hiatus

The May 4th Open Mic has been cancelled at the Box Factory for the Arts and will remain on hiatus until further notice. Matt Lenny, who has faithfully hosted the event since April 2022, has announced his decision to step down.

“It’s been a great way to get back into performing and meeting people in the community,” said Matt. “But now I think I need to focus my energies and free time on booking and promoting my shows of original music.” 

Matt and his band The Breakdown will perform and release their new album For the Birds at the Box Factory on April 22 ay 7 p.m. The album features a collection of songs exploring family, aging and the various paths that lead us home. If you missed him at the Open Mic sessions, this is a great time to wish him well on his next venture. 

Tickets, available in advance at, are $12 general admission. Tickets at the door will be $15.  Children 12 and under are admitted free. A cash bar with beer and wine will be available.

Community Student Art Exhibition Returns to The Box Factory

Community Student Art Exhibition Returns to The Box Factory

Krasl Art Center, Berrien RESA, and The Box partner to present “homecoming for the creative kids”

St. JOSEPH, MICH – The Elementary Art Exhibition and Middle & High School Community Student Art Exhibitions are back! These exhibitions provide important opportunities for school children from Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties to exhibit their artwork at The Box Factory for the Arts. From March 10 – April 30, 2023, the community is invited to celebrate the creativity of the region’s young artists by attending these exhibitions and their supporting receptions. The 2023 Community Student Art Exhibitions are proudly presented by Krasl Art Center (KAC) in partnership with the Berrien Regional Education Services Agency (RESA) and the Box Factory for the Arts.


In-person Reception & Award Ceremony: Thursday, March 16, 6 – 8 pm


In-person Reception & Award Ceremony: Thursday, April 20, 6 – 8 pm


Extended hours until 6 pm on Thursdays.

Often referred to as the “Homecoming for the Creative Kids”, the long-running  Community Student Art Exhibitions are a place to celebrate our communities’ creatives. Being inquisitive, a problem solver, collaborative, and a critical thinker are some of the benefits young people have when engaged in the arts. This exhibition is an opportunity to shine a light on these young artists. K-12 students in Berrien, Cass, and Van Buren Counties are invited to participate (whether home, private, or public school students). Artists enjoy having their artwork exhibited in a professional setting, and they receive juried awards while sharing their creative talents with the greater Southwest Michigan community. Come celebrate our youth’s creative achievements at this year’s exhibitions and in-person receptions!

2023 Awards

The Elementary Exhibition features awards in the following categories: 2D, 3D, & Video (1st and 2nd Place), plus a $50 Collaborative Award, and the Jan Stevens Family Memory Award ($50 cash award in 2D, 3D, Video, & Digital).

The Middle & High School Exhibition awards 1st & 2nd place in 2D, 3D, & Video. Sponsor awards include the Stevens Family Award ($200 cash), the Box Factory for the Arts Emerging Artist Award ($500 cash award), and the Berrien RESA Scholarship Awards ($50 art scholarships for 1 student per school).

First place elementary, middle, and high school 2D works and the Emerging Artist award winners receive custom framing courtesy of Waterfront House of Framing & Fashion.

The 2023 Community Art Exhibition is sponsored by Stonegate Plastic Surgery of Corewell Health with contributions additionally provided by Barrett & Driscoll Pediatrics, Vail Rubber Works, and Pepsi Bottling Group. Framing sponsored by Waterfront Framing & House of Fashion. 

Program support additionally provided in part by Michigan Arts and Culture Council, National Endowment for the Arts, and Frederick S. Upton Foundation.

Cover Artwork: 2022 Emerging Artist Lucia Gianni, Finally Blooming. Lakeshore High School.

Gallery Exhibition Series for 2023 Kicks off January 20th

Gallery Exhibition Series for 2023 Kicks off January 20th

Materials from the natural world surrounding the Northwest Indiana home and studios of Jon Hook and Andrea Peterson find their way into their clay art and works on paper. “stories from the soil” is the theme of the couple’s exhibit opening January 20 in the Robert Williams Gallery at the Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad Street, St. Joseph, MI.

An artists’ reception for exhibits opening in all Box Factory galleries will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on January 20. Light refreshments and special non-alcoholic mocktails will be available by Box Factory hosts Kate and Joe Ulrey. The exhibits will continue through February 26. Box Factory winter hours are Thursdays-Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. with extended hours until 6 p.m. on Thursdays.

Robert Williams Gallery

Jon Hook has been creating ceramic sculptural work and functional pottery since 1997 using a wood fired kiln with materials for firing as well as glaze making from their property. He is recognized as a forerunner and expert in his field using sustainable and regenerative firing and ceramic studio processes. He has developed a series of ash glazes made from local plants such as hay, cattails, and thistle from farms in the area.

Andrea Peterson explores all types of paper fibers and processes in her work which includes prints, artist books and environmental installation pieces. Her works address human relationships to the environment. She currently teaches in the Fiber and Material Studies Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She received her BFA at the Art Institute and her MFA in printmaking from the University of Minnesota/Minneapolis. Her work is in several private and corporate collections.

Heartha Whitlow Gallery

The family of the late Box Factory studio artist K.V. Rathnam will honor their patriarch with an exhibit of his photography and paintings in the Whitlow Gallery. K.V. died in November, the next day after the Members’ Show opening reception when he was so excited to be exhibiting his work. K.V. was one of the first artists to have a studio at the Box Factory where he was loved by all for his gentle sense of humor, his kindness, and his donations of time and materials from his Papachi International Custom Framing studio. The family is continuing his legacy at the Box.

Sky Level Gallery

Orphaned artwork which has been unclaimed by artists and accumulating in various storage spaces at the Box Factory will be offered for sale in the Sky Level Gallery. Unlike other gallery exhibits, the pieces will be available at reduced prices and for immediate pickup.

Riverwalk Gallery

Box Factory studio artists will have the opportunity to showcase their work and bios in the Riverwalk Gallery.

For more on this and other Box Factory events, visit the Box online at or on Facebook at For more on Jon Hook and Andrea Peterson, visit their website at

Lake Effect Jazz Big Band Wraps Season at the Box Factory

Lake Effect Jazz Big Band Wraps Season at the Box Factory

The Lake Effect Jazz Big Band wraps up its 2022 summer concert season at 7 p.m. on September 24 at the Box Factory for the Arts, 1101 Broad Street. Online tickets with reserved cabaret seating at $15 and general admission of $12 are available at Tickets at the door for each performance will be $15. A cash bar and light snacks will be available.

Now in its 22nd year, the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band continues to be one of the premier big bands in the Midwest. Specializing in new arrangements of classic standards, new compositions for contemporary big bands and golden oldies, the band will be performing music from the libraries of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basic and others.

The band is led by Steven L. Reed, retired instrumental music teacher for the St. Joseph Public Schools. Several members of the band are current or retired music educators and jazz education is a priority for Lake Effect Jazz.

Joining the band for the Box Factory concert will be solo vocalists Becky Selvidge and Andrew Fisher. Each will be featured individually as well as together in popular jazz standards ranging from Broadway show tunes to the “American Songbook.”

Rebecca (Becky) Derbas-Selvidge holds a Bachelor of Music in Choral Education Western Michigan University and a Certificate of Musical Theatre Performance from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. After many years of teaching music for the Coloma Public Schools, she is the new instructor of voice at Lake Michigan College.

Andrew B. Fisher has been a musician and singer for many years in Southwestern Michigan. He studied vocal performance at Andrews University. His Andrew Fisher Quartet has achieved an incredible level of success in the Michiana area and in 2022 he introduced Sunday Simmer Sessions at the Box Factory. Andrew also is the vocal instructor at the Citadel Dance and Music center in downtown Benton Harbor.

For more information about the Lake Effect Jazz Big Band, please visit the band online at

Series 5 of the 2022 Gallery Exhibition Opens September 16

Series 5 of the 2022 Gallery Exhibition Opens September 16

The Series 5 exhibits open September 16 at the Box Factory for the Arts with artists’ work in all four galleries. The five exhibits of distinctly different genres share a common theme of storytelling. An opening reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. is open to the public with light refreshments and a cash bar. Exhibits will continue through October 30, 2022.

The exhibits include painting narratives by Lea Goldman of South Bend in the Williams Gallery; collage art by Box Factory studio artist Fred Holland in the Whitlow Gallery; small assemblages and a retrospective of her watercolors by Box Factory studio artist Elaine Harju in the Sky Level Gallery; and the paintings of John Moga of Berrien Springs and 3-D mosaics of Chris Stiller of LaPorte, IN in the Riverwalk Gallery.


Lea Goldman is a full-time painter and printmaker who incorporates multi-cultural traditions, legends and folklore into her images. Born in Romania and raised in Russia and the Middle East, she immigrated to the United States in 1975. She lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago before moving to South Bend.

“My paintings, that look like big story book pages, aim to tap the collective unconscious and speak the language of human struggle without the traditional chronicle,” she says in her artist statement. “In my painted narrative I do not strive to achieve correct academic representation. Instead, I use the images to tell my stories authentically, the best I can.”

Lea, now in her 80s, earned an MA in Arts and Education from Columbia University Teacher’s College in New York City and an MFA in Studio Arts from California State University, Los Angeles.


Fred Holland says he has “worn a number of stylish hats” over his more than 40 plus years of working in different mediums. His current work reflects his interest in collage art which was created between 2019 and August, 2022, in his Box Factory studio.

“It’s been a very productive period of time for me as I have been fully engaged in these investigations, Fred says in his artist statement. “If someone were to ask me what the purpose of this new work is, I would say it’s about getting back to a too often overlooked but essential component of Art, entertainment”


Elaine Harju considers her assemblage work a combination of pure imagination and a love of small pieces of junk. She says, “My work begins with a saying, song or quote and ends with a product reflecting that pursuit.” It was a new way of creating during the shutdown of the pandemic

Before the pandemic, Elaine considered herself a watercolor artist and her exhibit will include some of that work. She is a self-taught artist who has learned her craft through books and workshops and is now returning to her first love of painting.

Originally from Chicago, she has lived in St. Joseph since 2000 and has been a studio artist since she discovered the Box Factory.


John Moga is a practicing artist and curator at the History Center at Courthouse Square. His work is about interesting shapes and colors. In his artist statement, he says “the imagery consists of the lyric elements of time and the illusory sense of space through clouded form and color. The application of color and form is automatic.”

John holds a BFA from the University of Michigan and and an MFA from the University of Windsor. He and his wife, Yehudit Newman, share an interest in theater where he often works as a scenic artist for professional and community theaters, as well as film.

Chris Stiller studied art and art history at Valparaiso University. She is a mixed media artist who uses organic materials such as glass, metal, wood and found objects to incorporate into composed art pieces.