MARQUETTE - Some new visitors have set up residency at The Erickson Center for the Arts in Curtis and are attracting car-stopping attention.
These visitors don't move, eat or sleep. But according to Karen Mudinger, a Curtis resident, those who walk among them will soon hear their voices, softly. They are the "Peaceful People," an exhibit of more than 100 wooden figures standing in a field next to the Center. The idea was submitted by two of the Center's volunteers, Mundinger and her husband Bill, who discovered a similar display while traveling through Finland.
"It was something we wanted to do and felt was very creative and unique," said Melissa Ronquist, administrative assistant at the Center.
Residents of Curtis, as well as visitors from surrounding areas, pose with the Peaceful People exhibit. The exhibit will be on display through Labor Day. Afterward, the figures will be auctioned off as garden art at the Annual Art on the Lake event. (Erickson Center for the Arts photo)
She noted that the Center is known for trying anything at least once.
Volunteers shopped at local thrift stores and cleaned out their closets in order to provide clothing and accessories for the exhibit. They also gathered for a period of 3 to 4 hours to construct the "people," dress them and erect them.
Each figure is clad in traditional "Yooper" style clothing, such as fishing t-shirts, multiple bright colors and a variety of hats. They are described as "relaxed, comfortable and peaceful."
Once the display was up, it was a waiting game to see what reaction it would draw.
"I thought it was a really fun idea but I had a little apprehension of how Curtis would handle 100 figures out in a field," said Tom Linscheid, President of the Board of Directors at the Center.
It became quickly apparent however, that the exhibit was a success.
"People are out in the field walking among the figures, posing for pictures... I think it's brought people from all over the midwest to our area to see it (exhibit)," Linscheid said.
Visitors and residents alike have been stopping their cars to view the display, and Center staff encourage them to interact with the "people." Individuals and groups are also invited to stop inside the Center to record thoughts about the exhibit in the guestbook.
"It's been kind of the talk of the town in Curtis. It's increased our walk-through traffic at the Center and people have had a lot of positive feedback," Ronquist said.
She chuckled as she recalled seeing a young boy on his bicycle riding by, who stopped as soon as he saw the exhibit. She added that this scene proved that the display is for all ages.
The Peaceful People will stand in the field through Labor Day. Afterward, they will be sold as garden art at the Art on the Lake event.
To learn more about the exhibit, call the Center at 906-586-9974 or visit www.ericksonCenter.org. A video showing the process of creating the "Peaceful People," is available at vimeo.com/ericksonCenter/videos/appears.
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.