Ten years of paintings on display at CCCAC, art fairs return to Keweenaw County, and one more chance to have a piece of the Last Place On Earth
Art's Corner, by Miriam Pickens
By Miriam Pickens
There’s a new show at the Copper Country Community Arts Center (CCCAC) titled “Trying to Stay Sane in an Insane World.” Full of whimsy and wonder, it is a collection of paintings by Heidi Bresnahan.
Heidi’s passion for the arts started at a young age, encouraged by her parents, Paul and Audrey Frair, who were active members of the arts community in Houghton for nearly 40 years. Paul and Audrey were dear friends of mine, and when they could no longer live independently, they moved to Maine where they lived with Heidi’s family.
“The body of my work was produced between 2008-2018 as a therapeutic outlet while caring for my elderly parents in my home and raising two teenagers as a single mom. Without any formal training, I simply dipped a brush in acrylic paint one day and got started on a journey that amounted to 150+ paintings.”
The collection is an eclectic group of paintings depicting everything from religious icons and pineapples, to explorations of emotion, and one cityscape with flying saucers. One might look for the serious political statement in these, but by necessity would come away with the conclusion that the artist is simply expressing the joy in finding humor in this “whacky world”.
Heidi told me “I have always used insufficient brushes and inexpensive, dried up paints (my dad taught me to be extremely frugal). My paintings have made people laugh out loud and occasionally cry, which makes me think I am onto something.”
Heidi frequently comes up with the title first, and then creates the painting to match; sort of as a way to illustrate her thoughts. A great example of this is the painting for which the show is named, “Trying to Stay Sane in an Insane World”, which was inspired by Heidi’s feelings regarding all the craziness going on. It depicts a woman who loves the world in a quiet, meditative pose with her eyes closed in order to maintain a sense of inner peace.
Heidi was born in Hancock and has lived in many parts of the country from California to Maine. “Contemplation” is a painting that was inspired by her decision to leave behind her life in Maine; her kids, her friends, and her job, to return to her “home” in Michigan. She happily returned to the Copper Country a few years ago and bought back the old family estate in Oscar where she enjoys watching swans from her back deck. To keep the place going, she is running an Air B&B, where she is becoming known for her berry-studded muffins and lavender cookies. She graduated with a BS in occupational therapy. Her career of 37 years has been in massage therapy, specializing in work with elderly clients.
Be sure to check out Heidi’s show this month at the Arts Center in Hancock, where you can learn about other art happenings and enjoy a large collection of work by a broad variety of local artists. The show runs from Aug. 3 until Aug. 30. The CCCAC is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and is located at 126 Quincy Street in Hancock.
We are super-happy to welcome back the Eagle Harbor Art Fair and Art in the Park in Copper Harbor, both canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic.
The Eagle Harbor Art Fair will run on Saturday, Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 15 from noon to 4 p.m. Christine Porter, Stained Glass Artist, will be featured. Along with 68 artist booths, the CCAA members will be displaying their work in the undercroft of St. Peters by the Sea Church. In the welcome tent, there will be a Make it/Take it activity for the children. Also, there will be 3 local musicians playing at or near the welcome tent: our very own Clyde Mikkola on violin, Chuck Young on the guitar, and Eric Munch on mandolin and ukulele. No time set for them at this point. This will be the 60th anniversary of the Art Fair, and to show gratitude to the attendees who have made it such a successful event, CCAA members have donated pieces of their artwork. Fair attendees will be randomly selected during the course of the fair to be one of the lucky winners.
Art in the Park, the art fair in Copper Harbor, will be open the following weekend, Saturday, Aug. 21 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Live music by Whitewater will be featured on Saturday, and a performance by Gail English on Sunday. While you’re there, be sure to visit the wonderful galleries in Copper Harbor.
At the Calumet Art Center in the Big Green Church on 5th St. in Calumet, there is a sale of paintings by Jan Manniko. A well-known local painter of classic copper mining scenes, Manniko died in 2013. She had owned the Last Place on Earth with her husband Tom, famous for his wooden spoons. In 2019, Tom passed away. The building and its contents were sold at auction on July 31, and a large collection of paintings by Jan is up for sale at the Calumet Art Center during the month of August. Check out this spectacular show, and you may even find a good purchase for your own collection.