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 gogophotocontest.com/MAAC 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”
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.
Box Factory studio artists will have the opportunity to showcase their work and bios in the Riverwalk Gallery.
Sculpture, photography, and puzzles (yes, puzzles) will be featured in all four Box Factory for the Arts galleries beginning July 22. An opening reception on Saturday, July 23rd, will have a cash bar with special cocktails and light snacks by Kate and Joe Ulrey as well as live music by Hickory Creek Revival, musician members of the Willey family. The reception which is free and open to the public will be from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Exhibits close on September 10.
IN THE WILLIAMS GALLERY On exhibit in the Williams Gallery is the artwork of Detroit sculptor Foster. Willey. The exhibit represents an overview of the past twenty years of Public Art and Commission work including documentation, models and drawings. Also on display are a series of small sculptures reflecting the artist’s interest in the figurative, architectural ornament, and the early modernists.
“Utilizing negative space to create forms that express both mass and transparency have been the focus of many of my sculptural investigations,” said Willey in his artist statement. “These formal concerns inform the symbolic content of my work, which often involves the search for something archetypal, innate, and universal. As a sculptor I am very interested in the built environment. Public Art and large-scale sculptures are exciting fields because of their range of expression and impact on our surroundings and the experience of daily life.” Foster has participated in numerous design settings including large-scale projects throughout the State of Minnesota where he worked for more many years. Since moving to Detroit with his wife Valerie, he has completed commissions for the City of Oak Park, MI and Pincanna in East Lansing MI.
Originally from St. Joseph, Foster is the son of Barbara Willey and the late Foster Willey. He received a B.F.A. from Grand Valley State University and expanded his education at Andrews University where his mentor was British sculptor Allan Collins. He also attended the Naguib School of Sculpture in Chicago where he worked with Egyptian sculptor Mustafa Naguib.
IN THE WHITLOW GALLERY The jigsaw puzzlers at the Whitcomb Senior Living Community Center have prepared a one-man show of about 45 framed puzzles based on the artwork of Detroit folk art painter Charles Wysocki. “American Folk Art painting is in a class of its own and in these unusual works of art, Wysocki has given the common man visions of a new country bursting with immigrant energy to build a new nation,” said Lou Deshantz, who coordinated the Whitcomb puzzle exhibit.
Lou will speak at the opening reception about the Whitcomb puzzle group and their quest to update the Whitcomb’s aging collection of jigsaw puzzles by purchasing puzzles of several renown American Folk Art painters. He also will announce how those who love puzzles will have the opportunity to obtain one of the framed puzzles on exhibit at no cost at the close of the exhibit.
IN THE RIVERWALK GALLERY “thru the lens,” an exhibit by photographers of all ages will be in the Riverwalk Gallery. Photographers entered their work in the categories of people, still life, animals or landscape. The exhibit will be judged by local photographer Tom Tackett.
SKY LEVEL GALLERY “This is Puzzling,” an exhibit by Berrien Artist Guild members, will be in the Sky Level Gallery. This fun exhibit using puzzles as the theme for individual and/or collaborative work was inspired by the puzzlers’ group from the Whitcomb Senior Center. A prize will be awarded to the best use of media done as a collaboration.
Alright everyone, after we’ve all been cooped up for the past two years, it’s time to come let your talent out of the box and share it with other like-minded people. Those words were written by Matt Lenny who will take over hosting “Out of the Box Open Mic” at the Box Factory for the Arts on April 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. After the April open mic, the sessions will return to the first Wednesday of each month. Those who perform will be admitted free with a $5 charge for those who come to listen.
The Box Factory is excited to announce the return of the monthly open mic/open jam and all comers are welcome. “Musicians, poets, comedians, actors, jugglers, writers…if you can fill the stage with something creative for 5 to 10 minutes, we’d love to have you,” says Matt. “Let’s get together and make joyful noises emanate ‘out of the Box’ once again.”
Inspired by a chance encounter with country legend Steve Earle, who showed him that a single chord can sometimes have more power than anything else, local guitarist and songwriter Matt writes songs that fall somewhere on the rock and roll side of Americana. Matt pursues a powerful simplicity, both as a full band and as a solo singer-songwriter. With simple chord changes and melodies married to heartfelt emotions and old-fashioned storytelling, Matt is a natural leader for the return of the open mic to the Box Factory stage.
Local artist Robert R. Williams and Michigan City artist Edwin P. Shelton will kick off the 2022 series of gallery exhibits at the Box Factory for the Arts on Friday, January 21 with an opening reception scheduled for 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Williams, who has a studio at the Box Factory and teaches portrait classes there, will have an exhibit in the Whitlow Gallery. He said he will have a variety of art that many may not have seen and of course many portrait and figure paintings.
Bob is a self-taught artist; however, he has taken numerous studio art classes and workshops. He has won awards at the Midwest Museum Juried Regional Show in Elkhart, IN and in the Michiana Annual Arts Competition at the Box Factory for the Awards. He has also won awards at the Art Barn in Valparaiso, IN and at the Chesteron Art Center. He had a piece accepted into a national show of the Pastel Society of America.
Shelton, who teaches at Marquette Catholic High School in Michigan City, will exhibit sculptures from discarded objects in the Williams Gallery. In his artist statement, he says, “I work to provoke the blend of joy with mysteries.” The non-representational sculptures range from smaller objects to large assemblages. He was an exchange teacher in Zibo, China, which he says still influences his artwork.
Shelton majored in sculpture and earned his BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University. He achieved his MFA in sculpture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed his final credits at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Skowhegan, Maine.
The exhibits are free and open to the public through February 27. The Box Factory’s winter gallery hours are noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays-Sundays. For more on this and other Box Factory events visit the website at https://www.boxfactoryforthearts.org or on Facebook at the Box Factory for the Arts.