Artist’s sale to benefit St. Peter Cathedral


MARQUETTE — Maggie Linn has come a long way from China, but after a distinguished painting career inspired by her Chinese roots, she’s about to offer the balance of her artistic bounty to the public, and all for a good cause.

On Saturday, in St. Peter Cathedral Bishops Room, Linn’s stunning watercolor prints will be offered for sale from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Linn will be on hand at 3 p.m. to countersign prints.

“Any leftover works will be disposed of,” she said. “After all, they won’t fit in my coffin! If they don’t sell, it will be a huge lesson in humility!”

Linn reflected on her origins.

“I always wanted to be artist,” she said, but as a young girl in China her only connection with the art world was browsing through museum catalogs her grandfather had collected. “I would drool over the little pictures of paintings.”

Linn had survived childhood as a World War II refugee. Born in Chicago, she was only 2 years old when her father moved the family to his native China. They barely escaped Japanese invasions in China and Singapore before settling safely in India. When the family finally came home, Maggie was 17.

Kathleen Conover, an artist who shared a shop with Linn for 16 years at the Studio Gallery near Marquette’s Presque Isle, praised her as “a superb artist (who) was classically trained in Chinese art and furthered her education at the Chicago Institute of Art, so she excelled at and beautifully combined both Eastern and Western disciplines of watercolor painting. Maggie was considered an artistic prodigy at an early age in China.”

She was eventually accepted as a member of the prestigious American Water Color Society. Her work has been featured in several museums and art books. Locally, her work is displayed at the Marquette Ben Franklin store gallery.

Since moving to Marquette, Linn has found inspiration in the natural beauty of the area.

“I just love it here, with … the natural beauty,” she said. “In the woods, or out fly fishing, I stored the beauty in my head: colors, sights, moods, sounds. Even the leaves have a special sound. But I don’t paint specific scenes; I am inspired by those memories.”

Linn’s artistic output resulted in a magnificent collection of paintings, but she knows that it’s time to use her inventory to benefit her community. She suggested to the St. Peter Altar Society that it sell the watercolor prints with profits going to a cathedral project selected by its pastor, Monsignor Michael Steber.

Laurie Schmit of the altar society lauded Linn as “a very generous woman, to the church and other organizations. She is 90 and wants something good to come from her remaining prints. So she came up with this wonderful idea.”

Steber said: “We are so grateful to Maggie for her generosity in offering her art to benefit the cathedral. We appreciate this wonderful gift from a faithful parishioner.”

Maggie is the widow of Ted Bogdan, who passed away in 2014. He was a successful businessman, teacher and mentor who co-owned Marquette Holiday Inn franchise and also taught culinary arts at Northern Michigan University.

Did she ever get back to the Orient? Yes, to Singapore in 2006. She wanted to see the local art museum, and was amazed by the magnificent and intriguing works by Asian artists. What really stunned her about that state-of-the-art museum was that it was housed in the same school building her brother had attended.

Schmit summed up Maggie’s impact. “She is one of the most dynamic and talented people I’ve ever met, a living legacy. This sale will give people the opportunity to have her magnificent paintings in their homes, and at reasonable prices, as well as serving to keep these treasures in our area.”

St. Peter Cathedral is located at 311 W. Baraga Ave. in Marquette.