Hematite Art Park transforms community eyesore into vibrant space


ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN)– What was once was a site of two blighted homes across from Ishpeming High School has transformed into an art park to showcase student artwork.

“This is really the County Land Bank Authorities first vacant space redevelopment project that we’ve taken on in the county,” said Anne Giroux, Executive Director, Marquette County Land Bank Authority. “We’re really known for our blight elimination efforts which many times includes demolition and anytime you’re doing demolition, you end up with vacant spaces and we really wanted to prove that vacant spaces can be vibrant places.”

That’s how the land became Hematite Art Park.

“I knew that because of budget concerns they had to eliminate their art program,” said Giroux. “And so in the back of my mind when we knew we had this site right across from the school and I had heard of similar projects in Munising and other places like that I thought well that would be kind of a really neat way for the kids who have those artistic talents to express themselves and and their peers in the community can see what they’ve created.”

Students Abbi Bruhnke and Dawson Lawry put together one of the pieces in the art park.

“We did this piece of artwork for our class float,” said Bruhnke. “Our freshman class float last year and it was basically just suppose to be the main parts of our town. It makes me very proud because we worked really hard on it. We stayed up late a lot of nights and so I was excited to see that it would be included in the art park.”

The hope is to expand the art park in the future with more art panels, benches and possibly a gazebo.

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