Calumet Art Center/Ed Gray/Miskwabik
Where Art, Culture, and History Inspire and Challenge the People of the Keweenaw
“The Calumet Art Center is a mosaic of the human existence following the footprints of the ancestors that walked before.”
– Jikiwe (Ed Gray), founding Executive Director of the Calumet Art Center
The Calumet Art Center provides after-school art classes and summer art classes that link local students with professional artists from a variety of disciplines. These art classes and sessions include elements from math, science and the history of the art form to not only build mastery in students’ choice of artistic medium, but provide a broad educational experience.
The mission of the Calumet Art Center is to create a safe learning environment where art, culture, and history inspire and challenge the people of the Keweenaw. A variety of art classes are offered to youths and adults alike, and there are new scholarships available for art classes exclusively for local veterans.
The Calumet Art Center also hosts art classes for adults taught by local professional artists. As with the youth classes, these sessions include a strong historical and cultural background of the art form. Classes include weaving and twining, working with clay, Scandinavian knitting and felting, the art of hypertufa, natural dying, art of mixed media, making paper and working with copper.
Ed Gray, the founding Executive Director of the Calumet Art Center since its opening in 2008, has been a life-long studio artist since 1957 and is an Ojibwe elder. He has been providing classes and workshops following the traditional teachings that have inspired his work in clay and copper as introduced to him by his grandmother. “For me, teaching is the most important thing to do,” says Gray. “I want people within the community to learn and carry on many of the old traditions.” He has an extensive history of experience as a professional artist in Michigan as well as across the States working with tribal and non-tribal groups on special projects.
Executive Director Ed Gray throwing clay on the wheel (photo courtesy of Joe Kirkish).