Artists set for weekend festivals in Marquette

MARQUETTE – Marquette will be buzzing this weekend with hundreds of artists and thousands of potential customers as two major events, Art on the Rocks and the OutBack Art Fair, will be held at Mattson Lower Harbor Park and Shiras Park, respectively.

The 57th annual Art on the Rocks and the 22nd annual OutBack Art Fair both run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

According to its website, Art on the Rocks each year attracts more than 10,000 people to Mattson Lower Harbor Park to view the creations of more than 175 artists who display a wide variety of work, including jewelry, paintings, ceramics, photography and more.

“We get people that are local, there’s tons of local talent there, and we also get people traveling from all across the country, so we’re getting this huge array,” event director Jason Limberg said.

This year’s list of artists include several coming from as far as Florida, Arizona and Colorado, as well as locals from Marquette, Negaunee and Gwinn.

“It’s a great community event, it’s a great family event and it’s a great artistic event to get inspired by it,” Limberg said. “Every time I go I meet a lot of people who inspire me.”

Art on the Rocks began in 1959 with 35 artists on the rocky hillside of Father Marquette Park, which inspired the event’s creator, Anita E. Meyland, to come up with the name.

According to the event’s website, work was mostly painting, sculpture and ceramics, but after five years the event outgrew the original site and was moved to Presque Isle Park, where it was held for 46 years.

Art on the Rocks was then moved to Mattson Lower Harbor Park because of the site’s central location.

Limberg said there will also be an event from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Ore Dock Brewing Company in Marquette during which the public can meet some of the artists.

“It’s something for people to enjoy a couple hours having a good beer with some of their favorite artists,” Limberg said. “Everything is free for people to go to. The biggest thing we want to do is generate people who want to talk about art.”

About a mile northeast of Mattson Lower Harbor Park is where the OutBack Art Fair will be held. Shiras Park is located just off Lakeshore Boulevard near Fair Avenue, adjacent to what is known locally as the Picnic Rocks parking lot.

Event founder and organizer Cindy Engle said the fair will feature “high end crafts and art,” including pottery, glass, soaps, lotions and jewelry.

“There’s some fantastic artists and merchandise and music and food,” she said. “It’s such a wonderful park to be hanging out in on a summer afternoon.”

Thousands of people visit the event each year, Engle said, and at “certain points in time you can’t even move through the park.”

Engle said the OutBack Art Fair started its first year in Beaver Grove in Chocolay Township, then moved to its current location after that and has grown to include more than 110 artists.

“It’s always so awesome for us because some of these artists have been with us for close to 20 years,” Engle said. “It’s like your aunts and uncles and cousins that come to visit for the summer. So it’s always nice to catch up with them. … It’s like a family, it really is.”

For more information on Art on the Rocks, visit marquetteartontherocks.com. For more information on the OutBack Art Fair, visit www.outbackartfair.com, or find it on Facebook.