CASPIAN—The 40th annual Fine Arts Show, which opens July 30 at the Iron County Museum, has for the second year added the “Starving Artist” sale as the climax of the event.
However, it is also an appropriate time to call attention to the regular exhibits of the museum itself – its two art galleries and special historical exhibits and exhibits enhanced primarily by local artists.
Visitors to the annual show should plan to add a visit to the entire museum. One can start at the desk by viewing the ceramic statues of two early museum board members created by well-known nationally known artist Lundin Kudo, an Iron County native who has additional ceramic work in Heritage Hall.
Heritage Hall itself could almost be considered an art gallery. The beams in the ceiling have been painted by local artists representing the ethnic heritage of the area, and Native American artifacts are enhanced by a mural painted by the late William Harris.
The mining galleries include individual oil painting scenes and carvings. Some carvings were done by miners while working underground, others by local artists and craftsmen to illustrate not only the industry but the miners themselves.
The logging industry is represented by the 80-foot long Monigal miniature display, believed to be the largest in the world.
The tiny figures of workers and horses surrounded by the small logging camp and additional scenes depicting work in the woods and transportation give one a good idea of the industry as it existed in the early days.
A massive mural is in the background and local artists have done a second one of Paul Bunyan on the big double doors facing the exhibit. Additional dioramas with carvings by former resident Unto Jarvi and other carvers are also displayed.
A return to the Cultural Center finds more regular museum art exhibits that can be viewed at the show itself. On permanent display are 32 woodcut prints by Mary Kale depicting the history of Iron County for the Michigan Sesquicentennial.
The three galleries at the end of the Cultural Center include work of several early county artists, including the granddaughter of Iron River founder D.C. McKinnon, Elizabeth Rupprecht, a professor at the Chicago Art Museum, and Crystal Falls native Marlene Ekola Gerberick, who is well known in Finland for her work as well as on the East Coast are on exhibit.
The Leblanc Gallery will be a part of the show so that visitors may view the extensive work from the career of wild-life artist Lee LeBlanc, an Iron County native and well known nationally as a “Dean of Wildlife Art.” Prints and some originals are available for purchase at the show and also at any time.
A tour of additional buildings on the grounds includes art exhibits in the barns by art teachers and students and can conclude with the home and studio of a local artist and teacher, the late Brandon Giovanelli.
The latter includes part of the collection of more than 150 pieces of his work donated by his family along with the building.
Artists who are not part of the Museum art group and who are not participating in the show itself are invited to participate in the Starving Artist event, may rent tables to display their work for sale on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 3-4. A fee of $10 will be charged.
Admission to only the Art Show itself will be $1 and partially underwritten by the Caspian DDA.
Admission to the museum is $8 for adults reduced to $7 for senior citizens.