Welcome!

Check out our new video of highlights from 2019! Original music is by Nathan Towne, artist in residence, recorded at the Opera House. Photos are by Tony Johnson, all rights reserved. Cover Photo: Full United States Coast Guard Band at the Opera House.

News and Upcoming Events

The Mission of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council is to promote and encourage cultural and educational activities within the Straits Area of Northern Michigan, and to provide services that stimulate and encourage participation and appreciation of the arts within all segments of the community and to showcase the historic Cheboygan Opera House.

Congratulations to Chris and Chuck Socolovitch, eloping at the Opera House!

2020-2021 Membership Drive–

We need your help!

Click to join the Cheboygan Area Arts Council and pay online HERE.


From Our Friends and Board Members

Joy, Smiles, Laughter.  This is what I see from people when they watch a performance at the Opera House.  As an usher, I am asking that you please donate to kFroeep the happiness alive in Cheboygan.

–Pam McCabe

I can’t imagine life in Cheboygan without this treasure. The Opera House was saved in the 1980s through the efforts of committed community members. Once a building is “saved,” it must continually be preserved. It is time for all of us to step forward in this difficult time to ensure the Opera House continues to be an integral part of our community. 

–Steve Brisson

I have been to, and been in, performances for over 20 years. I now have kids on stage, on the same stage in the same space, as vaudeville, ballet dancers, famous musicians and nationally known bands. This venue will come back stronger than ever, but we need to bridge the gap now. Please join us.

—Katie Mallory

Artist in Residence Nathan Towne

I’ve been lucky enough to perform in so many different venues in America, all with their own vibe and flavor. The Opera House is one of my absolute favorites. My favorite seats are the front row of the balcony. You feel like you’re practically floating over the performer. The acoustics in the auditorium are incredible. The room can make the smallest instrument sound huge and yet make the biggest band so intimate. Magic happens on that stage. I can’t wait to do another show soon.

 –Nathan Towne

Please keep us heading in our positive direction as “The Jewel of the North.” We need your financial support now and encourage you to bump up your membership donation or become a new member. Please make your donation this week to keep art alive in our area.

 –CAAC President KC Leh

We were new to the area and so impressed with the Opera House. There is a sense of pride that it brings to the community. I became a board member and am proud to represent the Opera House. Please help us continue the tradition!
–Gretchen McClymont

We are poised for reopening with some big surprises. Membership keeps the memories alive. Please join at any level before Oct. 1. To join and pay online click HERE!

With great thanks, as always!

–Kathy Johnson Executive Director

Kathy King Johnson Executive Director Cheboygan Area Arts Council

C.A.A.C Announces Hubbel and Caulkin

Art Scholarship Winners 2020-2021

Alyssa Wilcome 2020 Irene R. Hubbel Art Scholarship Winner

Cheboygan Area Arts Council congratulates two scholarship winners pursuing education in the arts. Alyssa Wilcome of Cheboygan and Mikaela Tollini of Onaway.

Alyssa Wilcome is the first ever Irene R. Hubbel scholarship winner.  Irene Hubbel (1933-2016) of Cheboygan was passionate about the arts and has a permanent seat at the Opera House. The Hubbel Scholarship is awarded to any person under 21 pursuing an education or career in the arts.

With plans to begin fall of 2020 at the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor; Wilcome has been accepted at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design. Her focus is interior design.

Wilcome’s view on art is changing.  “I have found in the last year that art is meant to be bold, attention-grabbing, and shocking- all of which are traits I try to implement into my own pieces. Looking back on the projects I have completed within my Studio Art class, there is one that stands out over others- a dark, gritty portrait of Peter Dinklage. Upon finishing this piece of art, I was able to see the importance of rough details and the need for unique character in every aspect of a developing, creative world.”

Wilcome’s high school achievements included: Honor Roll, Academic Letter, Community Service Excellence Award: and National Honor Society.

“I am very thankful for the opportunities I have been given to study art and design further at the University of Michigan due to the Irene Hubbel Scholarship. I am so excited to start my lifelong journey of creating, inspiring and learning as much as possible. Go Blue!” Wilcome says.

Mikaela Tollini 2020 Wendy Caulkins Art Scholarship Winner

Mikaela Tollini, a student of Onaway High School is the seventh winner of the Wendy Caulkins scholarship, awarded for continuing education in the arts.  Wendy Caulkins (1941-2012) served on the C.A.A.C board and was instrumental in saving the Opera House in the 1980s.

Tollini plans to attend North Central Michigan Community College, pursuing ceramics through the Fine Craft two year program.

In her arts classes, Tollini discovered a passion for ceramics. “I practiced drawing, painting with watercolor and acrylic, and ceramics. As soon as I experienced my first ceramics class, I knew it was something I could be happy doing as a career. Therefore, I am furthering my ceramic adventure into college. There are many stereotypes about pursuing art, but I believe that if it is something that truly brings me joy, I will be able to make a career out of it.”

During high school, Tollini was on Academic All Conference, Honor Roll, and served as student council class representative.

Tollini says, “I am attending North Central Michigan College for two years to start my academic journey.  I will be taking general education and as many art classes as I can. I already have two scheduled for my first semester. From there, I will be looking to transfer to a university to achieve a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. I extend my thanks to the C.A.A.C. for awarding me a scholarship and supporting my academic aspirations.”


Coast Guard Families Design Picnic

Table for Gordon Turner Park

Gordon Turner Park, just across the river and in sight of the Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, has a new addition. The Coast Guard families designed and painted the picnic table with the Coast Guard colors, insignia and a stamp of the Great Lakes that covers the table and benches.

Art Vision Cheboygan, a committee of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council sponsored The Picnic Table Project to bring color to the Park. Volunteers from across the county donated countless hours and amazing talent. Over the winter, team leader Rosalie Despain and her husband Dennis worked with the city to disassemble and move tables, then reassemble them and bring them back.

The Coast Guard table joins a variety of tables ranging from the Positivity Table to landscapes to an interactive game table complete with Jenga, chess and checkers.

Look for a few more tables to join this community collaboration. Click HERE to see the beautiful picnic tables in the park, brought to you by Art Vision Cheboygan, the public art committee of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council.

Dennis Despain, Rosalie Despain, Kira Boyd, Jeff Boyd, Kathy Johnson, Billy Mullinger, Magda Pastwikowski, Caloeb Gandy and Leah Gandy unveil the Coast Guard Table.  Photo by Tony Johnson

Click HERE to see the beautiful picnic tables in the park, brought to you by Art Vision Cheboygan, the public art committee of the Cheboygan Area Arts Council.

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