Drop the Puck


Open: September 1 – November 28

Celebrating Big Rapids 12th Best Hockey City in the US
Memorabilia – Photographs 1975 to 2015
Exhibiting Photographers Scott Whitney & Bill Bitzinger

Please join us for the reception on Sunday, October 4 between 11 and 2.
Honoring the 40th anniversary of the FSU varsity hockey team.
Special guests: Players & Families, Coaches, Blueline Club Members

Special thanks to Vicki Deur and the Blueline Club for their support.

Brooke Compson, Through My Eyes

July and August 2015

biopicengland greenMy name is Brooke Compson and I am a native Michigan artist residing and creating in Central Michigan. I have been practicing all types of art since I was a child and now am a successful art educator and artist. Influences such as the Renaissance and it’s artists have guided me to become a sound technical artist. I flirt with many different mediums and am active in stone carving, competitions, art education, and commission work. I am an outdoor enthusiast and enjoy all types of creating. My interests in art include drawing, sculpture, design, and photography, focusing on people, nature, their life stories, and emotions.

Jacqueline Baerwald, Food For Thought

BaerwaldJ-FS-BioPicJuly and August 2015
Remember, you are what you eat. A series of mixed-media sculpture.
“Food For Thought presents a feast for the eyes, full of unspoken questions meant to confront the viewer. The sculptures invite pondering, contemplation, and the need for digestion. Through them, I aspire to break the viewer out of the pervasive mediocrity of our fast-paced, fast-food, cyber society to consider deeper realities. My intent is to pose penetrating questions concerning one’s values, beliefs, ethics, and lifestyle. The menu is full of the struggles and resulting consequences of human choices, consumption, and waste of mind, time, and resources. Mind your mind. Is what you’re consuming, consuming you?” Jacqueline Baerwald, artist.

Ancient Earth

Orion's Galaxy by Christine Towner

Orion’s Galaxy by Christine Towner

Ancient Earth, an exhibit of encaustic and multimedia art by Christine Towner, and complementary rocks and minerals from members of the Big Rapids Rock, Gem and Mineral Club. Continue reading →

Windmills of Life

Quilt“Windmills of Life” Kreative Kamp Quilters of Remus May-June 2015
Windmills of Life features new quilts from the talented Kreative Kamp Quilters of Remus. And don’t miss the biennial Quilter’s Glory weekend.

Welcome to Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan

Reception & Talk Sunday, February 1 at 1:00pm
Exhibit on display January 9 – February 28
LOCATION: Artworks, 106 N. Michigan Avenue, Big Rapids, MI

Idlewild Club House

PICTURED: Resorters at the Idlewild Club House, ca. 1926. Photo courtesy of Ben C. Wilson.

Idlewild, located in rural northwestern Michigan, holds a special place in the nation’s segregated history. For many years, this “Black Eden” was one of only a few resorts in the country where African-Americans could vacation and purchase property. From 1912 through the mid-1960s, Idlewild was an active year-round community and was visited by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country. At its peak it was the most popular resort in the Midwest and as many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in the height of the summer season to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating and night-time entertainment. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened up other resorts to African-Americans, Idlewild’s boomtown period subsided but the community continues to be an important place for vacationers and retirees. Idlewild also holds special meaning as a place for younger generations of African-Americans seeking to learn about their heritage.

This exhibition, created in collaboration with current residents and scholars of Idlewild, consists of handsome, free-standing photographic interpretive banners and a reproduction of an Idlewild history quilt by Michigan quilter Deonna Todd Green. It traces through words and images the development of the Idlewild community from its inception in the early twentieth century to the present day. It glimpses beyond the often told stories of Idlewild’s entertainment scene during its resort heyday period to tell the full story of a community that has survived the challenges of historical change.

Chris Kjorness, ArtWorks Director of Educational Programs and jazz musician and historian, will talk about the rich history of jazz music and musicians at Idlewild at the reception on Sunday, Feb. 1.

Art Attack 2015

25th Annual Art Attack K-12 Area Wide Student Art Exhibit
Art Attack 2015This K-12 student exhibit features selected works from six school districts: Big Rapids, Chippewa Hills, Crossroads Charter Academy, Evart, Morley Stanwood , Reed City, Saint Peters Lutheran and Saint Mary’s. Hosts for the event are Artworks and the M.O.I.S.D. Graphic Arts program.

Chris Jensen’s students do the design layout work and print the promotional posters using local art students winning drawings. Also featured during the month is an exhibit of Area Art Teachers and student art as merchandise for sale. We are thankful for sponsors Shirley and John Garlick DDSPC.

Exhibit: Welcome to Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan

“Welcome to Idlewild: The Black Eden of Michigan” is now in our second floor gallery, thanks to funding from the Michigan Humanities Council and Big Rapids Festival of the Arts (FOTA). The story of Michigan’s role in the history of segregation and in the development of an African-American sense of community is told in the exhibition.

Idlewild, located only 30 miles from Big Rapids, holds a special place in the nation’s segregated history. For many years, this “Black Eden” was one of only a few resorts in the country where African-Americans could vacation and purchase property. Continue reading →

Elsie Vredenburg Quilt Exhibit

van quilt 150wTustin quilter Elsie Vredenburg exhibits 25 years of Hoffman Challenge Quilts in the Artworks Gallery from June 6 to July 25, 2014. The exhibit illustrates Vredenburg’s interpretations of fabrics selected by the Hoffman Fabric Company for its annual competition. The challenge is to include a recognizable amount of the year’s fabric in the body of the quilt that must have a perimeter between 72 and 160 inches. Judging is based on originality, creativity, and workmanship.

Vredenburg is known for her quilts that depict lighthouses. The artist said that lighthouses appeal to her graphically “because they stand tall in contrast to the horizontal lines of land and water. Symbolically, because they represent safety for those on the seas, and because they point upwards toward God.” Several of her lighthouse quilts will also be on display.

Smithsonian Exhibit – The Way We Worked

postal workersTuesday, Oct. 7 — Saturday, Nov. 29, 2014.

Opening Reception: 5:00-8:00pm, Friday, Oct. 10.

Between the mid-1800s, when 60 percent of Americans made their living as farmers, and the late 1900s, work and the workplace experienced a transformation. The Way We Worked explores the social changes that have affected the workforce and work environments over the past 150 years. The exhibit features photographs that show how immigration, gender, ethnicity, class, and technology affected workplaces and the workforce.

The exhibition will open Tuesday, October 7, 2014 at Artworks, 106 North Michigan Avenue, in Big Rapids. The exhibit and reception are open to the public with free admission.

The exhibition is divided into five sections:

  • “WHERE We Worked” explores the places Americans worked, from farms to factories, mines to restaurants, as well as how race and gender often determined roles and status.
  • “HOW We Worked” examines the effects of technology and automation on the workplace with images of people on assembly lines or using their tools of trade.
  • “What We WORE to Work” looks at the way uniforms serve as badges of authority and status, and help make occupations immediately identifiable.
  • “CONFLICT at Work” looks back at not just the inevitable clashes between workers and managers over working conditions, wages and hours, but also how social conflicts, such as segregation, have influenced the workplace.
  • “DANGEROUS or UNHEALTHY Work” features many of the photographs taken by social reformers hoping to ban child labor, reduce the length of the work day and expose unsanitary workplaces.

The exhibition draws from the National Archives’ collections to tell this compelling story. It includes songs, hard hats and other features that make this exhibit family friendly. Along with The Way We Worked, Artworks is presenting exhibits about Big Rapids’ logging history and work in public safety. We are also pleased to present paintings from artist Paul Collins’ America at Work series, sponsored by the Ferris State University Fine Art Gallery. Some of the workshops, music, films, and other events related to the exhibit are listed below.

Please visit The Way We Worked Schedule for a complete list of scheduled events and updates, and The Way We Worked Resources for Teachers for a list of sites that provide useful educational resources.

The Way We Worked has been made possible in Michigan by the Michigan Humanities Council. The Way We Worked, an exhibition created by the National Archives, is part of Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. Support for the Museum on Main Street has been provided by the US Congress. Support for The Way We Worked in Michigan has been provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

And special thanks to our local partners:

Great Lakes Books and Supply
Ferris State Fine Art Gallery
Big Rapiods Community Library
Hanchett Manufacturing
Ferris_Political Engage Program_CoBrand Wordmark_2013-250x86
Fifth Third Bank logo
City of Big RapidsBig Rapids Public Safety

Museum Tour partners: Bergelin House, the FSU College of Pharmacy, the Jim Crow Museum, the Mecosta County Historical Society, and the Old Jail

Cathy Johnson
Bob Garrells
Barb Bazan
Doug Fonner
Shirley Lerew
Lolly Nichol
Sylvia Palmer
Artworks Board and Staff