ESCANABA - Over the 40 years of the existence of the Bay Area Art Association (BAAA or Bay Arts), members have run the annual Waterfront Art Festival which brings several thousand art lovers into Ludington Park in early August, sponsored an annual Membership Show at the Bonifas Arts Center, gifted the community with a free concert series in the Park in summer, and given scholarships to many area artists.
Rose Peltier is the past president of the Bay Area Art Association. The group of volunteer artists and art lovers enjoyed their work, but realized the need to disband in 2012.
"We'd like the Delta County area to remember Bay Arts for their dedication and contributions to the arts," Peltier said. "We're pleased that all the activities we've been able to organize over the past forty years are going to be continued through the Bonifas Fine Arts Center and we are proud to transfer the Bay Area Art Association funds to carry on those projects."
Rose Peltier, left, Mollie Larsen, and Vicki Shirley, complete the transfer of funds from the dissolved Bay Area Art Association to the Bonifas Arts Center. Larsen is Executive Director for the Center, and Peltier and Shirley are past president and treasurer, respectively, of the final BAAA Board.
Mollie Larsen, Executive Director of the Bonifas Arts Center, is a past board member of BAAA.
"Bay Arts has been a great thing for this area," she said. "We wouldn't have an Arts Center at all if it weren't for the vision and work of the artists of BAAA and Players de Noc. We consider them our parents, in a way."
Larsen said guidelines for the Symon Scholarship will be announced later.
"The Barb Symon Scholarship has been awarded for years to artists to use for school, workshops, or other educational opportunities," she said. "I know Jaime Caron received a scholarship to study dance in France at one point, and there have been many, many more recipients over the years."
"And what would we do without the Waterfront Festival?" she continued. "It's been such a powerful way to showcase the arts, while giving our town both a tourist boost and a great family day in the park. We've also made the decision to continue the summer concerts in the park. They've been very well attended, and offer another family occasion in the Arts in our community. And our new Membership Show will follow the basic pattern for the BAAA annual membership show."
Donated funds from BAAA will enable the Center to carry on the projects.
"We're so grateful," Larsen said. "The legacy of support for area artists would continue in any case, because that's one of our missions here at the Center, but in these times, it's much easier to do with seed money!"
Questions about BAAA may be directed to Larsen at 786-3833, ext. 14.