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CCCAC holds annual Party With the Arts exhibition

(Jon Jaehnig/For the Gazette) The annual Shaft exhibition at the Copper Country Community Arts Center features art inspired by the area’s mining history.

HANCOCK — Area artists and art enthusiasts met for the “nearly annual” Party With the Arts and Shaft exhibition at the Copper Country Community Arts Center Friday evening. Party with the Arts is a membership drive and social event while the Shaft is an annual competition in which local artists submit pieces based on the Copper Country’s mining heritage.

“We’ve been doing the Shaft exhibit since we opened 27 years ago and we’ve only missed two in all those years,” said CCCAC Director Cynthia Cote. “We knew we wanted to engage the community, so the art center wouldn’t seem like some hoity-toity place that was only for people that have lots of money.” 

This year there are 39 total Shaft submissions by 16 adult artists and 13 youth artists. Media include paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, and digital media. Guests at Party with the Arts voted for their favorite at the event but voting is open to the public until the exhibition closes on Dec. 6. The piece with the most votes wins a cash prize with funds raised by the entry fees.

“I couldn’t give the award,” said Cote. “Even for me to pick my favorite is really difficult.”

Cote is particularly excited about the youth turnout this year, driven by the new art teacher at Jeffers High School who encouraged her students to submit pieces. Over half of this year’s youth submissions come from her students, though at least three of the youth artists are under the age of 10.

(Jon Jaehnig/For the Gazette) The launch of the Shaft Exhibition was marked this year by the Party with the Arts, a membership drive including food and live music.

“I’m a big fan of kid’s art anyway, so these entrees are really inspiring for me,” said Cote.

Cote also said that she hopes that having their art in a gallery with adult pieces will be inspirational to the young artists.

The children’s art is also of interest to adult artist Tammy Toj Gajewski, one of the artists in consideration for this year’s winner.

“(The Shaft) is such a wide subject that can mean anything to anyone at different times,” said Gajewski. “The best example is the kids and how they see it … your view changes as you grow older.”

The Party with the Arts launches the Shaft exhibition but it is also a social event. Board members made desserts and had a cake made while Nutini’s Supper Club provided pizzas. Local musician Bob Hiltunen led a three-piece band.

“It’s a nice, social time,” said attendee Judy Foster. “I think, with the music, maybe more people come out.”

To see this year’s Shaft exhibition and vote for your favorite piece, visit the Kerredge Gallery in the CCCAC located on 126 Quincy St. Inn Hancock. The gallery is open to the public 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Editor’s note: Jon Jaehnig and Cynthia Cote are both members of the Hancock Business and Professionals Association.

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