West End Update – City of Negaunee

Public art a great thing in Negaunee

Nate Heffron, city manager, city of Negaunee

NEGAUNEE — What’s missing in Negaunee? That’s really a loaded question that could be answered in several different ways, depending on who you ask. One thing I think is missing is public art.

How do we overcome this missing element, probably in many different ways. Interestingly enough, I was approached last year by Honor Credit Union in Negaunee. The manager there, Sarah Wrackerle, came up with the idea to partner with our local schools to create public art.

What a great idea! After considering the where, what, and how aspects, we settled on what we thought was best. The project came to fruition as Art in the Park. A program established, managed, and funded by Honor Credit Union — with student artists providing ideas for painted murals, and the City of Negaunee providing the public space.

Students will submit ideas for a mural that they will paint through their high school art class. The mural will be vetted through their teacher and Honor Credit Union, with some input by the city.

Once the artist and subject matter is settled on, they will begin the process of creating these 4×4 works of art. Once completed, the new art will replace the old murals. The previous murals will be given back to the artist to do with as they wish.

The murals will be displayed on kiosks built by the high school shop class. Thes kiosks are designed with a smaller roof to help protect the murals from moisture damage.

These structures will be double-sided to accommodate up to two murals at a time. The murals will be affixed to the structure and then have a section for plexiglass covering them to provide extra protection from the elements and vandalism.

These kiosks will be placed in Jackson Mine Park along a section of the Iron Ore Heritage Trial near the Jim Thomas Pavilion. This section was chosen because the traffic on the trail will lead to higher visibility for this locally originated art. The kiosks will be installed late in May with a grand reveal of the art with the artist and all of those who made the project on site.

This event will be held at 2 p.m. on June 6 at the Jim Thomas Pavilion. The public and students are encouraged to attend the event and to meet these young artists.

On behalf of the city, I want to express our appreciation for to all of the people who are making this project a reality, especially the students. Through their imagination, hard work, and collaboration they will help to brighten up Negaunee just a little more. I also want to recognize a major community supporter, Honor Credit Union! A special thanks to Regional Manager Jamie Gollakner for providing the opportunities through Honor to make this project possible!

We hope that you find the time to join us at the grand reveal. But even if you cannot attend, we hope that you will take the time to stop by a check our all of the art along the Heritage Trial sometime in the near future.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Nate Heffron is city manager of the city of Negaunee.


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