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The Gallery: ‘The heart of downtown Marquette’

Art exhibition shop creates hub for local artists

The Gallery Committee chairwoman and MAC founder, Joy Bender Hadley is pictured. (Journal photo by Jackie Jahfetson)

MARQUETTE — Walking along West Washington Street in downtown Marquette just before the end of the block where Lake Superior peaks out below the hill, The Gallery greets tourists and residents alike with a collective exhibition of art.

In one of the front window shops in the Masonic Square Mall, The Gallery features artwork by local Marquette artists from ages 30 to 80 years old. What started as a project of the Marquette Artist Collective in November 2018 has expanded and grown, The Gallery Committee chairwoman and MAC Founder Joy Bender Hadley said.

From paintings, decorative hanging art made of driftwood, necklaces to pottery, The Gallery has something to offer anyone who walks in the door, Bender Hadley noted.

“Besides the fact that we have something for all price ranges, we have such a variety of types of work. We have functional work, we have more ceramics now then we ever had,” Bender Hadley said. “… We have a huge amount of talent. It’s a dynamic area to be inspired by whether people are doing work related to our landscape or just in this creative environment, it just shows.”

Not only does The Gallery support local artists, it’s a collaborative and interconnected hub for artists who are members of the Lake Superior Art Association and Zero Degrees Artist Gallery who want to display their work, Bender Hadley continued.

Artwork featured by local Marquette artists is displayed at The Gallery located on West Washington Street. (Journal photo by Jackie Jahfetson)

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has altered operations for small businesses in downtown Marquette, Bender Hadley hopes to get more interactive by potentially having a sidewalk demonstration or an art-demo day where people can actually see the artistic process.

“It’s a weird summer… (Although,) I’m sort of excited that I’m here for the summer because this is the best weather, best time to be here,” she said. “But it’s so awkward because we don’t have all those festivals. But I like it, I feel like we have a happy medium because we’re still getting a flow of people.”

The MAC has also grown from nine active artists to 50 members. Becoming a MAC member is relatively easy, Bender Hadley said, explaining that the $20 annual membership fee grants access to gatherings and other events and artists can also apply to sell their artwork at The Gallery.

Opening up an art gallery on Washington Street has always been a dream for the art teacher, she said.

“We have a niche here. I always call this The Gallery in the heart of downtown Marquette. When this space opened up, I was just like, ‘Oh my God. We have to take it,'” Bender Hadley said. “And I said, ‘If the collective doesn’t take it, I’m going to take it and make something happen.'”

Ceramic mugs are some of the diverse items found at The Gallery in downtown Marquette. (Journal photo by Jackie Jahfetson)

Incorporating Northern Michigan University Art and Design folks is another key feature of the art exhibition.

“It’s sort of exciting, we have such a creative community here, whether it’s writing poetry, painting, photography, acting — it’s just thriving and it’s nice to be able to see students graduate from Northern and actually stay in this area,” she said.

Moving forward, Bender Hadley said it would be great to expand The Gallery Space and create more of a platform for artists and community members.

“We want this to not just be a gallery where tourists come in and buy art. We want to have conversations about art,” she added.

The Gallery is located at 130 W. Washington St. Current hours vary from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, visit mqtartistcollective.org/the-gallery/.

From pottery to drawings, The Gallery offers a little bit of everything for anyone who walks in the door. As a project of Marquette Artist Collective, The Gallery features artwork from local artists with varied price ranges. (Journal photo by Jackie Jahfetson)

Jackie Jahfetson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is

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Shoppers look over artwork displayed at The Gallery in downtown Marquette. (Journal photo by Jackie Jahfetson)

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