After viewing historic and contemporary Mackinac art in the new Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum at the Indian Dormitory on Mackinac Island, let inspiration take you to the lower level of the museum where, from mid-June through Labor Day, the Kids’ Art Studio is available for your family’s creativity and inspiration. Whether you’re a budding artist or you have a three-year-old who loves to color and create, this space is designed for your entire family.
Each day, an art interpreter plans a theme wrapped around Mackinac and the many unique fine and decorative art pieces within the museum. Tables and chairs, both adult and kid-sized, reference books, and many forms of art media are all available within this special space.
“It’s not just going into the Art Studio and making something,” said Mackinac State Historic Parks Curator of Education Katie Cederholm. “It’s understanding what you’re making and that there are many layers to Mackinac.”
Each day, the art interpreter selects a new theme, Cederholm explained, such as turtles. Why turtles? “Michilimackinac” is the French spelling for “place of the great turtle,” which was taken from the Native American language. Mackinac Island, for centuries, has meant great turtle to the Indian nations and the Europeans who followed. Native American legend says that the island resembled a great turtle rising from the water, and this has inspired many forms of great art through the centuries.
Other themes have included sailboats, photography, and postcards. “As part of our daily theme, we like to include events happening on the island that are also represented in art within the museum,” Cederholm said.
Many hands-on children’s art activities are always available within the Kids’ Art Studio, even if they aren’t interested in themes. They can partake of them or create their own. With parental or guardian guidance, children can spend long periods of time drawing, painting, beading, weaving, stamping, coloring, and creating collages, window art, and sidewalk chalk art. When finished, children can then take their art home or leave it for viewing within the Art Studio.
“It’s necessary to have a place where adults and children can create art in general. After going through the art museum, many people are inspired and overwhelmed and so need a place to express their thoughts, feelings and imaginations,” Cederholm said. “The museum is about the past, present and the future, the future being what our guests can imagine.”
Judging from the art already created and left for viewing in the Kids’ Art Studio, the new museum has already served as a creative inspiration for those now passionate about Mackinac art and those young, budding artists, who, with crayon in hand, are just starting out.
The cost is $5.00 adult, $3.50 youth ages 5-17, and free for children 4 and under and Mackinac Associates members. The Kids’ Art Studio is included with admission at no additional charge.