MARQUETTE - Presque Isle is one of Marquette's scenic jewels, and it's even more scenic now with a new, symbolic sign at the entrance.
The sign, illustrated by Ojibwe artist Sherri Loonsfoot-Aldred of Marquette, was unveiled to the public Monday and replaces an older Presque Isle sign that was showing its age.
The sign, an oil painting that has been digitized, depicts Black Rocks facing Sunset Point.
Ojibwe artist Sherri Loonsfoot-Aldred stands next to the sign she painted for the entrance to Presque Isle Park in Marquette that was unveiled to the public this week. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)
"I just want to represent the beauty of this lake and the area, and the culture," Loonsfoot-Aldred said.
She said she undertook a lot of photo research to get accurate images. One of those details was her depiction of a birch bark canoe in which the inner bark of the tree is what's placed on the outside of the canoe - not the white outer bark typically seen.
"It's all pretty historically representative," Loonsfoot-Aldred said.
A partnership with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community also helped ensure the sign was culturally appropriate and artfully symbolic.
"Beautiful," was what artist Kristine Granger of the Rock Street Community Darkroom called the new sign.
Granger led nine photography students in documenting Loonsfoot-Aldred's process in creating the sign.
A photo essay book will feature the students' photographs, a history of Presque Isle and some Anishinaabe language.
Copies can be purchased at the Northern Michigan University Center for Native American Studies by calling 906-227-1397.
Karl Zueger, city director of community services, said the project took two years to complete.
"These projects always take time," Zueger said. "We realized very quickly it was going to be unique, that it couldn't be a standard sign."
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.