Artists in Excellence

A cross-district program that provides unique arts-based extracurricular experiences for students from Negaunee, Marquette, and Ishpeming High Schools. Artists in Excellence (AIE) is administered by the Office of Arts and Culture and created in partnership with local art teachers: Jake Fether, Alex Trotter, and Kimberly Shefchik. AIE provides a much-needed extra-curricular opportunity for upperclassmen who are currently enrolled in visual art and have demonstrated a high level of commitment to their artistic studies. 

AIE strives to present the students with opportunities to: 

  • Develop positive relationships with other students across districts
  • Foster leadership and self-confidence
  • Explore the Marquette area’s cultural offerings through unique experiences
  • Discover creative careers and personal potential in the arts
  • Identify and lead a community art project 
  • Install the City’s Annual High School Art Show this spring
  • Advocate for their school’s arts program and AIE 

Students will meet three times per month for field trips and interactive experiences off the beaten path. They will experience creative careers available locally in arts education, business, marketing, design, public art, placemaking, tech arts, and others as well as interact with local individuals and organizations who have contributed to the community through the arts. In addition, the group will identify and lead a community art project and install the City’s Annual High School Art Show this spring. Collectively they will advocate for their school’s arts program and AIE through presentations to classmates and incoming freshman.   

“While not all the students participating plan on pursuing careers in the arts, all fifteen understand the value of the arts and how it applies to their community and ongoing education but also to their health and wellness.” said Morin. 

An important component of the program is learning the value of partnerships and community. All three teachers identified the need for some kind of extracurricular arts program but did not have the time and resources to do it alone. According to Tiina Morin, City Arts and Culture Manager, “the arts do not recognize municipal boundaries and that by partnering with our neighboring communities, we are stronger. Since this is the first year, we asked students to design the program’s logo. They discussed how high schools always seem to be in competition with one another, and that they are often identified by where they live and go to school. It was important for them not to use school colors or symbols in the logo, and that they be seen as one”.  

Sponsored by UPHP

AIE is generously funded by the Upper Peninsula Health Plan This partnership aligns with UPHP’s mission to enhance community well-being and nurture youth creativity, contributing to a healthier and more vibrant Upper Peninsula.

The Office of Arts and Culture serves to encourage, develop, and facilitate an enriched environment of artistic creative and cultural activity in the City of Marquette by advocating for the value of local arts, culture heritage and the creative economy.

2023 Art Week Magazine AIE Article