Artists and poets collaborate for exhibit; theme focuses on creations inspired by music, musicians

A promotional poster announces the upcoming interactive exhibit. (Courtesy of Janeen Rastall)

By Joseph Zyble
A collaborative effort between U.P. artists and authors has resulted in an exhibit titled, “Words & Music, Borderland Arts Meets Marquette Poets Circle: an Interactive Display.” The exhibit will be available from Tuesday, Feb. 4, to Friday, March 27, at Bay College West Campus in Iron Mountain.
The interactive exhibit features art and poetry inspired by music. Visitors will recognize musicians such as the Beatles, Debussy, Neil Diamond, Handel, JEM and more as inspirations for the pieces.
Janeen Rastall, one of the event coordinators, said that to create the exhibit, artists and authors were asked to produce new pieces based on musicians who inspire them. Next, the two groups exchanged their creations. The artists created new artwork in response to the poems, and the poets wrote new poems inspired by the artists’ pieces.
Rastall said the theme for the exhibit had to be something in which the artists and poets had in common.
“Music seemed to be a good choice. It (also) added a new dimension to the exhibit with sound cards so gallery visitors could hear the music that inspired the artwork,” Rastall said. “I was surprised at the range of musical tastes from classical, folk, rock, jazz to easy listening.”
Along with art and poetry, the interactive exhibit invites visitors to scan QR codes next to each piece which takes them to a website where they can hear readings of the poems, the music that inspired the art, and information about and photos of the artists and authors.
Contributing artists and authors include Martin Achatz, Sharon Antonissen, Esther Margaret Ayers, Milton J. Bates, A. Lynn Blumer, Christine Burns, Melisse Carr, Lynn Domina, Lisa Fosmo, Gail Galotta, Genean Granger, Stella Hansen, Kathleen M. Heideman, John Hilden, Susan Huotari, the Rev. M.E. Kilpatrick, Christina Kionka, Jesse Koenig, Kathy Kuczek, Jane Landwehr, Matt Maki, Gala Malherbe, Barbara Willard Marden, Beverly Matherne, Terry O’Connor, Kathryn Palmcook, Jane Piirto, Janeen Rastall, Christine Saari, Cyndi Safstrom, Sharon Schmeltzer, Audrey Smith, Gail Stanek, Darlene Strand, Rebecca Tavernini, John Taylor, and Russell Thorburn.
The public is also invited to a reception for the exhibit on Thursday, March 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. CT. at Bay College West Campus.
Rastall noted that the project is dedicated to the late Genean Granger.
“Genean started the collaboration of U.P. poets and artists with Melisse Carr, Stella Hansen and the Borderland Arts group. We are honored that her final poem appears as part of this project,” she said. “Genean Granger was brave, compassionate, bawdy and mischievous as she rose above life’s challenges.”
Noting Granger’s love of adventure and words, Rastall said Granger’s poem, “Fishing for Words,” best describes the passion she felt for her art. It reads:

I cast a net upon a river of words,
pull them toward my boat,
repeat the casting, the pulling,
until the hold is full….
I am caught in the rhythm of words …

“We, her readers, are caught by her words too,” Rastall said.
This is the second showing of the exhibit. However, there will be new pieces and some new artists included in this version. The exhibit was first held in the Huron Mountain Gallery at the Peter White Public Library in Marquette last summer.
To learn more about the exhibit, call Janeen Rastall at (517) 410-3368, visit the Facebook event page titled Borderlands at Bay – Words & Music Part 2, or visit
Borderland Arts is a non-profit organization established to promote the creative arts, enrich the cultural fabric of the Michigan/Wisconsin borderland communities, and build mutually beneficial relationships with similar groups elsewhere. To learn more about the group visit the website:
The Marquette Poets Circle welcomes poets of all ages and experience. The group meets on the first Monday in the month as part of the Center for the Healing Arts at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Once a quarter, Peter White Public Library and the Marquette Poets Circle co-host an open mic event called Inspired Words. Visit the group’s website to learn more:

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