MARQUETTE - Art abounds this weekend in Marquette's Mattson Lower Harbor Park as the 54th Annual Art on the Rocks officially opened Saturday with 180 vendors.
"It's been great. There's lots of good products here," said Rod Bell, an East Jordan welder who brought his metal artwork to Art on the Rocks for the first time this year.
The large number of vendors brought with them a wide array of art, in every sense of the word. Booths displaying photography, metalworks, jewelry, pottery, musical creations and wooden art of all kinds were set up in the park, as were a number of food vendors to help keep hungry shoppers in the area.
Sue and Jackie Ellisor take a look at pieces on display at the Lakeview Pottery booth during the 54th annual Art on the Rocks in Marquette’s Mattson Lower Harbor Park on Saturday. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
The artists were as varied as their artwork, with some artists, like Bell, having just started creating the pieces they were selling.
"I've been a welder for 25 years. I wanted to start doing something creative and have my own business," Bell said. "And it's better than going to the factory."
Other artists like Mark and Ann Milligan of Lakeview Pottery of Sobieski, Wis., have been crafting their artwork for years.
Mark Milligan said they'd been coming to Art on the Rocks as vendors for a "long, long time."
"I like U.P. people," Milligan said of his decision to keep returning to Marquette for the annual festival. "I find them to be very unique individuals."
The Milligans had a variety of handcrafted pottery on display, from mugs to bowls to plates.
Joey Graci of Marquette was one of several woodworkers with booths in the festival. He said he'd been crafting his wooden decorative pieces for about seven years, following in the footsteps of his father.
"My dad does woodwork," Graci said. "It runs in the family."
Most of Graci's work is done on a lathe and all of it is done with Upper Peninsula wood.
And while the vendors were out enjoying the sunshine and beautiful view of Lake Superior, so were the crowds that stopped by to see what this year's Art on the Rocks had to offer.
Jessica Brown-Kovala of Marquette was browsing along the outskirts of the festival Saturday before heading to the middle of the park, where most of the vendor booths are located.
She said she'd be on the lookout for one specific form of art: pottery.
"I think (events like this) are terrific for the Marquette community," Brown-Kovala said. "This is why people come here. This is why people live here."
Art on the Rocks continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is email@example.com.