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

The Return of the Box Factory Annual Poster

The Return of the Box Factory Annual Poster

The Berrien Artist Guild has announced the return of the annual poster which was collected over a period of several years by friends of the Box Factory for the Arts. The last poster of the lighthouse by the late Foster Willey, Sr. was issued in 2005. 

The 2022 poster which features a photograph of a Water Lily pays tribute to the women who in 1962 founded the Berrien Artist Guild. It also celebrates the “reblooming” of the Box Factory after the pandemic. The co-chairs of the poster committee, Julie Brockman and June Starke, selected the water lily image because the flower symbolizes feminine power and rebirth. Betsy Gill incorporated the design details and typeface used in the past posters into the 2022 one.

Jennifer Tomshack whose photograph “Illumined” was selected for the poster said she was “flabbergasted with honor” that her image was picked. 

“I submitted the photo, taken last summer in the Paw Paw River, for consideration because I felt it represented the renaissance happening at the Box. Witnessing the incredible creative spirit at work there through difficult years reaffirms my belief in the saving grace of art and beauty.”

The limited-edition posters are $25 and are available in the Box Factory’s gift shop. They will also be available at the Krasl Art Market on July 16 and August 20. 

Taylor Hartley selected Emerging Artist

Taylor Hartley selected Emerging Artist

photo of emerging artist
Taylor Hartley

Each year, a young artist is chosen from the Community Student Art Exhibitions sponsored by Berrien RESA, Krasl Art Center and the Box Factory for the Arts as the Emerging Artist. This year’s award winner is Taylor Hartley, St. Joseph High School. Taylor won the Emerging Artist Award Inspired by the Life of Jean Gast in this year’s high school show for her video “The End.” The award was established at the Berrien Community Foundation by the family of the late Jean Gast.

Art was very important to Jean Gast who served as a board member for the Krasl Art Center and one of the first board members for the Box Factory for the Arts . She was instrumental in envisioning the transformation of the Box Factory as well as helping to secure funding.

Taylor wrote the following letter to Jean Gast’s family to thank them for receiving the award.

To Jean’s family, I would first like to start off by saying how thankful, grateful, and honored I am to have received this money. Not only will it immensely help my financial situation, but it will also ensure that I can continue to incorporate art into my future. Although I am not one hundred percent sure on what path I want to take in school, I know for certain I want to include aspects of art, whether it is through any type of design media or film. My current plan is to attend two years of community college, where I will take general education classes and also take the time to decide what I really want to do. The money that this award provided will allow me to take art courses on the side where I will be able to continue to grow my skills and feel secure when it comes time to decide my path and further study them. Once again, thank you very much for this opportunity, I cannot wait to see what the future holds

Best Regards,
Taylor Hartley 

To view Taylor Harley’s award winning video “The End” please go to

Saluting the Women of the Box Factory

Saluting the Women of the Box Factory

This weekend we ran an advertisement in the special Saluting Women in Business section of MailMax. The size of the advertisement limited us in displaying all of the roles that the following female leaders of the Box hold in the community. We wanted to expand here. Thank you for helping drive our success!

The Berrien Artist Guild was established in 1962 by a group of women sitting around a kitchen table planning a local arts organization. The grit of those women over five decades ago is still evident in today’s Berrien Artist Guild women.

We salute the women who serve on the Guild’s Board of Directors, and the Office Coordinator who all keep the organization running smoothly while maintaining their own positions at area businesses. Many also volunteer for other organizations. (Judy Sokolowski, a grateful President of the Board of Directors)

BOX: Rose Narregan, Board Treasurer and Finance Committee Chair
BIZ:   Accountant with Tri-County Bookkeepers.
BOX:  Linda Cooper, Board Secretary and member of Finance Committee
BIZ:    Managing member of Cooper Boettger, a CPA firm
BOX:   Michelle Rumsa, Board Director and Fundraising/Development Chair
BIZ:     Licensed architect with Edgewater Resources
BOX:   Susan Solon, Board Director and Marketing Chair
BIZ:     Retired from City of St. Joseph, Communications and Marketing Manager
BOX:   Jennifer Tomshack, Board Director and Gallery Committee Member
BIZ:    United Way of Southwest Michigan, Communications and Marketing Manager
BOX:     Amy Kuchan, part time Operations Coordinator
BIZ:       Holistic life coach for her own business SPACE + SPARK
BOX:     Jane Rush, Board of Director and Gallery Committee Chair
BIZ:       Part time Spectrum Health Lakeland Co-ordinator of Healthwave, Employer Services

To get involved at the Box Factory for the Arts please visit our website at

Kimberly Wood: Local Artist Behind the Box’s New Look

Kimberly Wood: Local Artist Behind the Box’s New Look

It’s Mid-September in Saint Joseph, Michigan. You can feel the season changing and see the façade of The Box Factory for the Arts changing as well. Residents from the condo building next door stop by to admire the scene while out on daily walks. Cars and trucks pass by, honking their horns, some even rolling down their windows to yell words of encouragement. Meanwhile, Kimberly Wood, the artist responsible for all the change and excitement sits high above Broad Street on scaffolding with her bucket of supplies, painting a bird from her mural, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together”.

For a span of only three and a half weeks, Kimberly Wood (Saint Joseph), with the help of fellow artist, Shawn McCann (Minneapolis, MN), accomplished a colorful and playful mural on the West and South exterior walls of The Box Factory for the Arts. The Mural project funded by a grant from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs as well as the National Endowment for the Arts was created as a way to encourage the community to take notice of this multi-use facility existing to nurture the arts. Kimberly’s design was chosen in July by the Berrien Artist Guild Board of Directors from three submitted proposals and concepts.  

The mural design, “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” is meant to emulate the community and the arts as vibrant and playful. In a clever way, Kimberly specifically chose origami birds to mimic the history of the Williams Brothers Paper Box Manufacturing building. Given our four distinct seasons in Southwest Michigan, Kimberly knew that using bright colors would help the design stand out from the brick and surroundings. She wanted the simple design to be pleasing to all and hoped onlookers would find something to enjoy among the animals and greenery. Her goal was to encourage people to get to know The Box Factory for the Arts as more than an historic building.

Kimberly Wood grew up in Saint Joseph and from an early age was encouraged by family and friends to pursue art as a career. She remains grateful for her own arts education in how it shaped her interests and skills. Kimberly received her BFA and K-12 Art Education Training from Grand Valley State University and her Master’s Degree in Careers in Technical Education from Western Michigan. Together with her past experiences of being nurtured and supported to grow a career in art and her formal education she now works as a Commercial Design Instructor for Van Buren Technical Center. She is working to help her students explore the possibilities of a future in art through real life experience during High School.

When Kimberly isn’t teaching, she works as an artist and graphic designer under her business name, The Seventh Studio ( She works as a freelance artist for non-profits and businesses. Her most recent design project aside from the Mural for the Box Factory is a Southwest Michigan Bike Map sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission. The Berrien Artist Guild is also proud to include her as a long-time member.