A new mural celebrates midsummer in Houghton

What's happening: Artists Julie Benda and Kristi Dammann are painting a mural, called "Midsummer," on a parking structure on a popular walkway in downtown Houghton. "Midsummer" celebrates "the ecology, life and season of the Keweenaw's midsummer." The artists were available to meet and answer questions on Tuesday, August 8. The mural is expected to be completed this month.

Funding: The city of Houghton paid for the mural with money from the Vault Hotel, a boutique hotel in downtown Houghton, and a $4,000 Destination Development Award from Visit Keweenaw. The Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts coordinated the artist application and review process.

Location: The city parking deck at the corner of Isle Royale and Shelden Avenue, across from the Vault Hotel. 

About the artists: Benda, a U.P. native, is a writer, illustrator and visual artist with a practice in print, sculpture and public art. Dammann, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, specializes in creating abstract and colorful murals.

What they're saying: “We’re proud to support this community partnership and the thoughtful work by the visiting artists,” said Brad Barnett, Visit Keweenaw executive director. “The mural celebrates the Keweenaw’s unique ecology and converts a concrete space to a vibrant piece of art. We’re hopeful this collaboration serves as a model for future placemaking investments in our area."

About Destination Development Awards: The awards are used to make investments in community infrastructure to improve a destination's ability to attract visitors and enhance their experiences. Local government units and nonprofit organizations in Houghton and Keweenaw County can apply for the Destination Development Awards. In 2023, Visit Keweenaw awarded $45,000 to area projects. Destination Development projects are encouraged to be completed by September of the year of the award.
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