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Besser Museum getting ready for Season of Light celebration

November 11, 2011
The Alpena News

Once again, the Season of Light is descending on the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan.

Volunteers and staff at the museum have spent the last couple of weeks getting ready for the holidays and for the upcoming unveiling of the exhibit. The exhibit officially opens Nov. 21, with the annual Season of Light Gala set for Nov. 19.

"This year's Season of Light Christmas Magic exhibit is a real treat thanks to the help of several volunteers from the community," said Chris Witulski, newly appointed interim director at the museum.

Article Photos

News Photo by Diane Speer
Matt Klimczak, left, and Randy Shultz, right, position an old-fashioned Santa in a sleigh as part of the lavish Christmas exhibit in Wilson Gallery at the Besser Museum.

The Season of Light exhibit is being sponsored in part by Alpena Power Company.

Members of the Northeast Michigan Art Guild Margie McConnell, Diane Kilroy and Dotti Lance donated several hours painting a Northern Lights mural for the exhibit, which will serve as the backdrop for Diane Sharp's Christmas village. Betsy Willis not only painted a mural, but she and her son, Kevin, worked to digitally enhance photos Betsy took of an appearance of the Aurora Borealis in Alpena some years ago.

Besser Museum Founder Society members volunteered in setting the Trees of Nations exhibit and adding a touch of Christmas to the Avenue of Shops. Museum Board Member and President of the Founder Society, Barb Beem, with the help of member Pat Melville, decorated the Santa tree in the Wilson Gallery with Barb's private Santa ornament collection, many of which she painted herself.

Wilson Gallery also will display works done by Ella White Elementary School students from teachers Mary Quinn and Jenny Marceau's classrooms, along with other private Santa collections from several museum members. Using these elements, Exhibit Manager Randy Shultz worked his magic to transform the Wilson Gallery into Santa's castle.

Museum visitors will enjoy the holiday shopping experience to be had in this year's Museum Christmas Boutique. Marketing Coordinator Amanda Dozier contacted several area artists to fill the gift shop with unique gift ideas ranging from handmade ornaments, jewelry, candles, paintings, maple syrup and more.

As the museum's biggest annual fundraiser, the Season of Lights Gala will take place Nov. 19 from 6-9 p.m. Tickets, on sale now at the museum, are $40 each and include heavy hors d'oeuvres, drinks, and entertainment by members of the Alpena Symphony Orchestra and a magical performance by Ron Lemke.

Door prizes have been donated by Thunder Bay Golf Resort, Alpena Furniture, Donovan's Wellness Spa, The Courtyard Restaurant, Thunder Bay Theatre, Stoney Acres Winery, North Country Candy and Gifts, Pizza Hut and Garant's Office Supply. While at the gala, museum guests can choose to make a special $10 donation for a chance to win a ladies Wittnauer Swiss stainless-steel, 36-diamond watch donated from Bolenz Jewelry and valued at $795.

Guests can also participate in the Christmas Magic Raffle. Raffle items include original pottery by Sam Machulis, turkey feather painting by Erich Carlson, a Love Links bracelet donated by The Market Place Alpena, and four one-day park hopper passes to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney in Florida.

Raffle tickets will be sold the evening of the event for $2 each or six for $10. There will also be a Holiday Wreath Raffle with wreaths donated by Lasting Expressions, Flowerland Design, Thunder Bay Basket Guild, Barb Beem and DeLynn Medina.

"We are so grateful to all the local businesses and museum volunteers that are partnering with the museum to create a magical experience for our patrons," said Witulski. "The financial support received from members of our community enables Besser Museum to serve our community's citizens, students and visitors through our exciting collections, dynamic exhibits and educational programs."

For more information, contact the museum at 356-2202.



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