2012-07-28 / Top News

Paint the Finish Helps Children, Adults Express Their Creativity

By Matt Mikus


Stephanie McManus works on painting a square for the Mackinac Island Paint the Finish fundraiser. A painting by artist Mary Bea McWatters was recreated so others can participate in painting fine art. Squares were sold at $20, and all money raised will go to support art and music programs at Mackinac Island Public School. Stephanie McManus works on painting a square for the Mackinac Island Paint the Finish fundraiser. A painting by artist Mary Bea McWatters was recreated so others can participate in painting fine art. Squares were sold at $20, and all money raised will go to support art and music programs at Mackinac Island Public School. Children and adults expressed their creativity when they collaborated to paint the finish line of the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac Monday, July 23, at Windermere Point.

Children had a chance to paint or color a sailboat passing Round Island Lighthouse, design nature prints, build and paint miniature sailboats, and build kites in the shape of birds. There were also games, like racing miniature sailboats, a penny pickup, and a beanbag toss. Heather May, the music and arts teacher at Mackinac Island Public School, offered music lessons on kazoos.

While the children played, adults had the opportunity to bring out their inner artist by purchasing a square and painting it to match an original painting by artist Mary Bea McWatters. Each square cost $20, and Island artist Bill Murcko offered painters guidance. Mr. Murcko, who often teaches painting workshops through the Mackinac Arts Council, fell right in to the instructor role, offering compliments on techniques, and the occasional friendly critique.


Riley Parrish pays close attention to the details placed by her paintbrush as she paints in a square of the painting. She wanted to paint a square with a lot of detail to contribute to one of the most important elements of the painting, the Round Island Lighthouse. Riley Parrish pays close attention to the details placed by her paintbrush as she paints in a square of the painting. She wanted to paint a square with a lot of detail to contribute to one of the most important elements of the painting, the Round Island Lighthouse. “I enjoy watching the creative process come alive within people,” Mr. Murcko said. “That’s as much fun to me as paintings themselves.”

Volunteers at the event sported new T-shirts, with the slogan “Art Rocks” on the back. Arts council director Andrejka Hir- schegger said finding volunteers was easy.


Wyatt Morse (left) and Chuck Pereny watch as Wyatt’s recently created sailboat races on the water. Children enjoyed building and painting their own sailboats at Paint The Finish sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club, Mackinac Island Community Foundation, and the Mackinac Arts Council. Wyatt Morse (left) and Chuck Pereny watch as Wyatt’s recently created sailboat races on the water. Children enjoyed building and painting their own sailboats at Paint The Finish sponsored by the Chicago Yacht Club, Mackinac Island Community Foundation, and the Mackinac Arts Council. “It went really well,” she said. “Heather May helped get the word out for volunteers, since the event also supports the school. And a lot of other volunteers we got from our Music in the Park series and the Workshop events.”

Event proceeds go to music and art programs at the Mackinac Island school.

While the children were eager to join in the art activities, adults were apprehensive about painting on the canvas, some worried that their skills wouldn’t match those of the original. But those who did participate enjoyed the experience.


At right: Joe Mosca works on painting the roof of the lighthouse, paying close attention to the details. “I should have picked an easier square,” he said to his wife, laughing. “I didn’t think this would be that hard.” At right: Joe Mosca works on painting the roof of the lighthouse, paying close attention to the details. “I should have picked an easier square,” he said to his wife, laughing. “I didn’t think this would be that hard.” Joe Mosca of Canton, who works as an airline pilot, relived childhood memories while painting in his square that featured clouds and the roof of the lighthouse. He heard about the event from friends who live on Mackinac Island.

“I haven’t had a chance to paint since I was a kid,” Mr. Mosca said, “and it’s a nice way to participate and support the community.”

Stephanie McManus, a resident of Mackinac Island, also purchased a square to paint.

“It was really fun,” she said. “I’ve never painted in my life. It just goes to show that everyone can be an artist to some degree.”


Heather May teaches a lesson on playing kazoos and performing music, while (from left) Trevor Pereny, Leon Sehoyan, Ava Sehoyan, and Dominic Morse (not pictured) play on the kazoo. Heather May teaches a lesson on playing kazoos and performing music, while (from left) Trevor Pereny, Leon Sehoyan, Ava Sehoyan, and Dominic Morse (not pictured) play on the kazoo. Riley Parrish, who lives in Grosse Point and stays on Mackinac

Island in the summer, took on a daunting challenge by choosing a square with shoreline rocks, a fence, and the Round Island Lighthouse. She doesn’t consider herself a painter, but enjoys other forms of art, like drawing and photography.

“I really wanted to do the rocks,” Riley said, “and I wanted to be a part of the most important part of the painting, with the lighthouse.”

“It’s interesting, because you see all these children who are so uninhibited,” Mr. Murcko said. “They just dive right in, but the parents aren’t quite willing to try it out.”

Hosted by the Mackinac Arts Council, and supported by the Chicago Yacht Club and the Mackinac Island Community Foundation, the event offered a family friendly event to the yacht races. It also offered the Arts Council a chance to raise awareness of its new membership drives and fundraising opportunities.

While a number of squares remain in the painting, the arts council will have the painting be available at all the other Mackinac Arts Council events until Jammin’ For the Arts Thursday, August 9, when the completed painting will be raffled off to one of the participants. Those who cannot attend an event, but wish to paint or purchase a square for an artist to paint, may contact the Mackinac Arts Council at info@mackinacartscouncil.org or call (906) 984-4124.

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