Artworks July offerings feature camps/classes for kids and adults

Artworks July offerings feature camps/classes for kids and adults

Youth Basket-Weaving


Saturday, July 14

9 a.m.-3 p.m.


Join Artworks instructors Jeanette Fleury and Nancy Randall to weave a 7×7 basket with colored accents. This youth class is designed for ages 8-15.  Register at The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery or online at

​Young Senses Session


Tuesday, July 17

10 a.m.-12 p.m.


Bring your child to join instructor Ginny Veneklase in art activities that provide the opportunity to use all five senses to explore and learn about art. This class is designed for ages 4-6.  Register at The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery or online at

​Adult Summer Camp


Tuesday, July 17-Thursday, July 19

6-8 p.m.


Join instructor Ruth Vermeer and take a journey through time as you learn about different artists and their styles of creating art—Picasso, Haring, O’Keefe, and Monet just to name a few. As you learn about each artist, you will create art in the style of that particular artist.   Register at The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery or online at


​Eco-Art Summer Camp

Tuesday, July 24-Thursday, July 26

10 a.m.-3 p.m.


Camp sessions with instructor Ginny Veneklase will focus on art activities using natural and recycled materials, while weaving in environmental science and exploring. This camp is designed for ages 7-15.  Register at The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery or online at


Art-Venture Summer Camp

summer camps

Tuesday, August 7-Thursday, August 9

10 a.m.-3 p.m.



Campers will take a journey through time with  instructor Ruth Vermeer as they learn about different artists and their styles of creating art—Picasso, Haring, O’Keefe, and Monet just to name a few. As they learn about each artist, they will create art in the style of that particular artist.    This camp is designed for ages 7-15.  Register at The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery or online at

 August/September Artworks exhibits to feature art by prisoners and tattoo art


Artworks in Big Rapids is pleased to announce the August-September Chemical Bank Gallery exhibit titled “…and I am an Artist.” The exhibit is presented by Humanity for Prisoners based in Grand Haven. HFP provides practical, one-on-one compassionate services for inmates in all Michigan prisons who don’t know where to turn. The exhibit features works by numerous gifted Michigan prison artists, most of which can be purchased. All profits will be used for the work of HFP.

A public exhibit reception is Thursday, August 9, 5:30-7 p.m.

The Painted Turtle Gallery and Gift Shop features a dual-artist exhibit, “Fantasy and Flowers,” by Mike Mumah and Sonya Grennell. Mike is a published illustrator while Sonya is an award-winning tattoo designer and artist. This is an innovative exhibit featuring two young local artists whose work is acclaimed nationally.





Local Sears Hometown Store Owner Says “I Don’t Work For Sears”


Sears Hometown Store of Big Rapids Leading Local Campaign to Enlighten Community.

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. (NASDAQ: SHOS) launched its I Don’t Work For Sears, I Own This Place national campaign back on April 30th, to further establish their company identity at its annual convention Tuesday, January 23. Local owners Scott and Tammy Weaver are now continuing the campaign within their community, hoping to further educate community members of the company’s local ownership and small-town atmosphere.

“We are excited to promote our experience as small business owners, and explain how Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. has supported our store along the way,” said the Weavers “Sears Hometown offers a high-level of customer service that reflects strong values and commitment to building ties within the community. Being an independent store we’re able to customize our service to every community member who walks into the store.”

Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores are a separate entity from Sears Holdings, with a license to use the Sears name. As an independent retailer, Sears Hometown and Outlet gives individuals the opportunity to open their own small-town hardware or outlet store, making the dream of becoming a small business owner accessible. It also allows for better service for customers and a stronger ability to meet and anticipate needs, network with community organizations and spearhead fundraising efforts for needs in the community.  “Sears Hometown gave us the opportunity to be small business owners.” said the Weavers. “A large part of our job is interacting with and getting to know the needs of the community, and it’s been an incredibly rewarding experience.” Tammy has been a part of the Band of Locals since it began almost 10 years ago, promoting shopping local and has been involved with the Mecosta County Chamber of Commerce serving on the Board of Directors. The Weavers have owned the local franchise for over 11 years, they live locally and support community organizations like the Big Rapids Little League, Big Rapids High School Band and many other local organizations.  The Weavers have won many awards over the years to include Best Small Business for the Mid-Michigan area 2013, Premier Dealer for their great customer service, achieving sales and service goals and the Mecosta County People’s Choice Award for appliance sales eight of the last ten years.

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Scott and Tammy Weaver

The July Rise and Shine will be held at Sears Appliance & Hardware Store on Thursday July 26th at 7:30 am where they will be kicking off their new format “America’s Appliance Experts” with a Ribbon cutting. The store is celebrating their new format as they evolve to meet changing consumer needs and to embrace its nationwide branding as “America’s Appliance Experts®,” the refresh of the Sears Appliance & Hardware Store at 14305 Northland Dr.  in Big Rapids, culminates with a grand reopening celebration of the location on July 27-28, 2018. Throughout the celebration event, consumers are invited to enjoy an additional discount of 10 percent off almost everything in the store. “We invite everyone to attend. We will be having car washes, refreshments, door prizes and more over the weekend” said Weaver.

The store refresh includes a new product assortment, redesigned merchandising, new fixtures & signage, and comprehensive employee training, among other changes.  “Shoppers in the community are in for a treat,” said Tammy Weaver, co-owner of the Sears Appliance & Hardware Store. “Our newly refreshed and remodeled stores provide a broader assortment of products available from the top ten brands and our sales associates have undergone extensive training to become ‘America’s Appliance Experts.’ Through their expert certification, they are able to provide a wide range of knowledge on the latest features – quickly and efficiently fulfilling consumers’ appliances needs.”

Beer, BBQ, and Bulldogs!

35049633_10156650803380921_4791190092049809408_nThe 2018 Class of Leadership Mecosta hosted Beer, BBQ, and Bulldogs on Friday, June 8th, at the Stone Hatchery in Paris, MI.  Attendees were treated to a barbeque dinner, provided by Ferris State University Catering, as well as a silent auction, raffle, and yard games. The goal of the event was to raise funds to help create the Leadership Mecosta Endowed Scholarship. With the creation of the endowment, the scholarship, benefiting a student from the local 5-county area, will be awarded annually for years to come.

“We are excited to present this scholarship opportunity to the community,” said Megan Eppley, Leadership Mecosta class member, “For our project, it was important to our class to create something with sustainability in the community. The scholarship fund presented itself early on in during our class, and seemed like a great opportunity to create a partnership between FSU, the chamber of commerce, and Leadership Mecosta.”

Over 100 people were in attendance at the fundraiser, helping the class to meet their goal to create the endowment for the scholarship. All funds raised by the class are being matched by Ferris State University as part of the current Now and Always campaign. Contributions can still be made to the endowment fund. There are several donor levels available. Those interested in donating should contact members of the Leadership Mecosta class of 2018, call (231)796-7649, or stop by the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, located at 127 S. State Street in Big Rapids.

If you are interested in learning more about Leadership Mecosta, or if you would like to be part of the Class of 2018/2019, contact the Mecosta County Area Chamber of Commerce, or find them online at www.LeadershipMecosta.comIMG_20180614_142211_02

Office Space for Rent Near Downtown Big Rapids

State Farm–Bill Scheible has office space available at 225 S. State Street in Big Rapids.

There are three reasons that you should locate your business here: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

This space features 1,400 square feet with 5 large private offices, large reception area and handicap restroom.

Located in the heart of the Big Rapids Business District on the corner of State St. and Linden St.

Very affordable lease at $1100 per month.  Landlord takes care of all common area maintenance.  Plenty of on street and off street parking .

Let us give you a tour.  Call for a showing at 231-796-7135 ask for Bill.

Artworks summer camps aim to connect students to their creativity

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Students ages 7-15 will have the chance to express their creativity through hands-on art during Artworks summer camps.

During pottery camp in June, campers will carefully craft clay pots and bowls to glaze and take home to their families after camp ends. This most-popular Artworks camp allows students to work with handbuilt artist Joe Percy to craft and glaze unique pieces. But pottery is not the only camp available.

“We have two Crazy Art camps coming up and EcoArt amp, which is new to us,” said Heidi Kinnally, Artworks director of education. “EcoArt will focus on art activities while weaving environmental science and exploring while Crazy Art will feature creating with unconventional materials and techniques.”

Registration is open for all four weeks of summer camp. The dates are below. All camp times are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and include lunch at Big Rapids Middle School each day.

  • Handbuilt Pottery, $120, June 19-21July 13, final glazing; July 27, pottery pick-up
  • Crazy Art, $90, Session 1, July 10-12
  • EcoArt, $90, July 24-26
  • Crazy Art, $90, Session 2, August 7-9

For more information on camp sessions and/or to register, visit, call (231) 796-2420, or stop by The Painted Turtle Gift Shop and Gallery. Registration typically closes the week before a camp session.

Area residents can help with Artworks summer camps by donating to the scholarship fund. Scholarships are available for students identified by area art teachers as gifted in art and with financial need. In past summers, four or five students have attended the camp free of charge.

“We think it’s very important to creative opportunities to children,” she said. “Artworks exists to help connect our community with their creativity. Summer campsprovide us an opportunity for additional community engagement. We hope summer camps will be bring more people into Artworks.”

Artworks to present Steel Magnolias as Intimate Theater


Artworks will present Steel Magnolias as its next Intimate Theater production in June, featuring an all-female cast and a mostly female production crew. The stage play, written by Robert Harling, is based on his experience with his sister’s death from diabetes-related complications. The play is a comedy-drama about the friendship bonds among a group of Southern women in northwest Louisiana. As the title suggests, “the female characters are as delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel.”

Director Wendy Samuels said she chose this play in light of the #MeToo movement because Steel Magnolias is about the female empowerment and about women taking charge of their lives. She also thought the production, set completely in Truvy’s Beauty Spot, would work well for Intimate Theater at Artworks.

“It’s sad, and it’s funny,” said director Wendy Samuels. “It’s one of those shows where you’re crying and you’re laughing at the same time, and it just pulls on your heartstrings. Steel Magnolias is going to be a little different from the Intimate Theater productions we have done before.”

The cast will feature Jamie Samuels as Truvy, Kelley Samuels as M’Lynn, Audree Stephens as Shelby, Suzette Compton as Ouiser, Ginny Kerwin as Clairee, and Emily Aslakson as Annelle.

The performances will be Thursday, June 28 through Saturday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, July 1 at 2:30 p.m. in the Chemical Bank Lower Gallery in the Artworks building in downtown Big Rapids.

Tickets are $15 and are available at The Painted Turtle Gift Shop in the Artworks building or online at EventBrite. The event is sponsored by Nancy Baldwin; Judge Susan H. Grant, retired; Judge Kimberly Booher; Kristi Haik; Gheretta Harris; Shelly Pearcy; Lynne Scheible; and Robbie Teahan.

Senior Enrichment Day

pexels-photo-339620The Mecosta County Senior Center will once again host Senior Enrichment Day, Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at Big Rapids High School, at 8:00 a.m.

Senior Enrichment Day is a one-day conference offering opportunities for older adults to enrich their lives. The day includes classes and workshops covering an array of subjects. The cost of the conference is $12 and the deadline to sign up is June 13. The entry fee includes lunch and admission to most classes. Some of the classes may have an extra fee for materials.

Conference attendees and interested vendors can find more information at

Also at this conference will be the presentation of the Mary Pine Award Recognizing Elder Citizenship. This award honors special citizens, age 55 and over, who use the gifts of a long and productive life to benefit Mecosta County in a positive manner. The Senior Center is currently accepting nominations for this award. Special consideration will be given to those “unsung heroes” whose efforts and civic spirit may not ordinarily receive adequate recognition. We are looking for that unique person who acts behind the scenes or in a subtle way, avoiding publicity and notoriety. Area residents may nominate persons deserving recognition by sending the person’s name, age, phone, address, and a description of involvement in volunteer activities benefiting older Americans and the community to:

Mecosta County Commission On Aging

12954 80th Ave.

Mecosta, MI 49332

Nominations must be received no later than June 4, 2018.  The nomination form can be downloaded here: mary_pine_form.

Thank you for helping us discover greatness in our own neighborhoods!