Mary Wahr, Manistee
Visual artist and educator
A person is never too old to learn something new, to push their limits and be open to new ideas. That is the story of my art. I developed my technique while earning my Masters in Art Education. Since then I invented different methods to move my art forward. It is an ongoing learning process that I see as having no end. I am an experimental artist working with mono-prints. You can see my art at: fractal-artist.com.

Deni Hunter, Muskegon
Singer, musician
My art, which is singing, expresses my desire to touch hearts and minds. Nothing is more powerful than music. When I sing a song, I want the listener to have a moment of bliss or even a pang of sadness. The emotions that are evoked by great music vary for every person. A song may remind you of your first kiss or it could bring back memories of a loved one who is no longer with you. Either way, it is a cherished memory. The best part? As a performer, I choose the songs that speak to me and I can fill with my emotions.

The Group Therapy Band

Julie Swanson, Muskegon
Gold and Silver Smith
The best self-expression happens when I surprise myself. When I am making a piece of art, I forget about time and what others might read into my work, and I just play. That’s when the best stuff happens. (Oooh! Shiny!!) Julie is co-owner of Gemworks, a jewelry and gift store. Find her at Gemworks.

Susan Harrison Wolffis, Muskegon

From the time I was a kid, I’ve been blessed with an overwhelming sense of wonder. The smallest details in life delight me; they draw me in. And fascinate me.

I don’t believe there is any such thing as an ordinary moment. Every thing, every being, every sight, every experience, every story is extraordinary. I hope my writing reflects that – and reminds us to never take any thing for granted.

Susan Harrison Wolffis
Professional Writing & Editing
Services. 231-744-0580

Toni Trucks, Manistee / Los Angeles
In a word I think my Art expresses my EMPATHY. As a working actor I am asked to portray a wide array of people from many different walks of life. In order to do this, I must have the ready ability to put myself at glance in someone else’s shoes. See the world from their seat so that I may accurately portray their experience. This goes beyond compassion. I must feel the full range of what they are experiencing from rage to elation. Working as an actor I am beautifully reminded in my daily life to pause and give each human a little more room for their story to matter, for the way they see the world to make sense. EMPATHY is key for my ART as I continue to portray the many people that make up our heartbreaking yet wonderfully rapturous world.

Toni Trucks grew up in Manistee and is a Los Angeles based actor. Her work spans both stage and screen. Credits include FRANKLIN AND BASH, GRIMM, THE MENTALIST, NCIS: NEW ORLEANS and many more. Follow Toni on instagram and twitter with @tonitrucks

Louise Hopson, Muskegon
Visual artist
As we change and grow, re-focus and re-direct our energies, we reinvent ourselves. My artwork is an extension of myself. It changes and metamorphosizes as do I.

In my work, I explore themes of joy, celebration, romance, empowerment, environment and self awareness and I play with color and pattern, order and disarray, rough edges and soft lines. Repetition creates a visual rhythm in my work. I strive to create multi-faceted artworks that venture beyond the decorative and delve into the realm of symbolism and personal significance.

Louise is owner of Art Cats Gallery in Muskegon. Find her at Art Cats Galleryon Facebook

Maripat Allen, Manistee
For me writing a play is a chance to create a world, people it, and see what happens. I like that I don’t have to be constrained by reality. At times it feels like the characters take on lives of their own, doing and saying what they want with little direction from me. That feels more like dreaming than linear, rational thinking. I don’t fully understand it, but that’s what I like about it.

One of Maripat’s plays took First Place in 2014 from the Community Theatre Association of Michigan. Find Maripat on Facebook and mpallen323@gmail.com

Stephen Schmidt, Muskegon
Writer, actor
My art allows me to be vulnerable. A life without taking risks in order to become one’s authentic self, is a life not fully lived. It is a life without passion. Whether it is creating characters for a novel or bringing a character to life on the stage, it’s really all about allowing one’s genuine authenticity to emerge and to shine. I have great gratitude for the Arts!

Comes the Phoenix is Stephen’s first novel. You can reach him at www.stephenschmidt.com and also on Facebook.

Catherine Swiatek, Muskegon
Painting, drawing, metal arts, clay and
mixed media…

In the past my Illustration background dominated my thinking of expression to 2D but in recent years being limited to ‘using whatever was around me’ I found myself more at ease and happier in this expression. My art currently shifts like my moods. Creating art should never be limited to one media. I create realistic paintings one week, then shift to body jewelry, or drawing the figure or to clay work, then to abstract paintings and then settling temporarily into an abstract mixed media technique on paper. : Red Lotus Gallery, 356 W. Western Ave., Muskegon, MI, 49440

Ruth Bloomquist, Muskegon
Songwriter, singer, musician
I write this from the South of France. My art, my songs, reveal little truths about me, I am a hopeless romantic, I see the good first, dancing is joy, I am worthy to be loved. I didn’t always know that. We all have insecurities, ALL of us. And finally, I am not alone.

Find Ruth on the Max and RuthBloomquist Facebook page.

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