Showcasing student and community artwork

Blurred paintings on an art gallery wall

Besse Center Gallery

The Besse Center South Gallery is located at the entrance to the Learning Resource Center. This gallery houses the college's permanent art collection, as well as exhibits of local and national artists. Each semester a student exhibit features a wide variety of drawing, painting, ceramics, photography and mixed media.

Winter 2021 Student Art Exhibit

Laura Tirapelli Art Evolution

Laura Tirapelli
Art Evolution
Purchase Prize Award

Cheyenne La March Stop Asking

Cheyenne La March
Stop Asking
Digital Photograph
Purchase Prize Award

Bay College is pleased to present the award winners for our Winter 2021 Student Art Exhibition. Each year, Bay College hosts a gallery showing of the current students’ work. This semester the work from the courses; Painting I, Digital Photo I and Visual Structures are represented in the Besse gallery.

Fall 2020 Student Art Exhibit

Mariah Sullivan - Still Life

The Fall 2020 Student Art Exhibit represents a culmination of a semester of work for Art and Design students. A variety of media was used to produce their compelling works and they're learning to create unified compositions that effectively communicate their ideas and expertise. This is a juried art show in which one artwork per area will be selected to be part of Bay College’s permanent art collection.

Carol Phillips

Painting of woman with a dog on her lap

Secret Identity

Bay College announces the exhibition, Secret Identity, artwork by Carol Phillips. Please join us via zoom on Wednesday, January 24 at 10 AM for the Artist’s Talk. Join the event via Zoom.

Carol Phillips began her art education at the University of Idaho where she studied liberal arts. She continued her studies at the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and Humanities, a studio school specifically for clay located in Sun Valley, Idaho. She later finished her BFA with an emphasis in ceramics at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington where she lived for 15 years working as a chef and later working with commercial photographers as a food stylist. In 2002 Ms. Phillips moved with her husband to Marquette, Michigan. At Northern Michigan University in Marquette she earned a certification in art education and now teaches art at Powell Township School in Big Bay, MI, a small school of 40 students, grades K-8. She is the curator of visual art for the city of Marquette’s gallery venues and is the director of a nonprofit organization for the art enrichment of rural children, Liberty Children’s Art Project.

Although beginning her studio art practice in clay she now primarily works as an oil painter using various surfaces including clay.

I began my work as an artist in the area of ceramics with wheel thrown and hand-built forms, both functional and nonfunctional. These organic forms with their continuous line have found their way into my paintings and despite an occasional effort to expel them, are stubbornly dominate.

Concerning color, the saturated hues found in my work are influenced by a love of folk art, outsider art and the use of color in early 21st century functional ceramics such as Fiesta Ware and the ceramic work of Russel Wright. I recall from a young age being very disappointed when my paint-by–number sets had only one brilliant color to be applied to a tiny area amidst masses of brown and gray. In this way, vivid color has always been my preference.
In this recent series entitled ‘Secret Identity,’ I’m experimenting with that narrative in the classic genre of portraiture and human expression. In these visual biographies of women I know, who all live in the same small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I’m looking for a glimpse of not so obvious traits, searching out clues about their personality that isn’t always apparent.

The exhibition of her work can be viewed in the Besse Gallery from January 11- February 24, 2021.

Hartwig Gallery

The Bay College Hartwig Art Gallery opened in January, 2000, in conjunction with the new art wing, which houses the college’s art studios for ceramics, painting, and drawing. Gallery shows feature the best artists from the upper Midwest region, and change throughout the year. At the end of each semester the Art Students Show displays award-winning art students’ work--the best of these are awarded purchase prizes and become part of Bay’s permanent Art Collection.

Catherine Benda

Pair of white knit gloves

Domestic Alterations

Bay College announces the exhibition, Domestic Alterations, artwork by Catherine Benda in The Hartwig Gallery – room 200F, on Main Campus in Escanaba. Her work will be on view from August 30-October 20, 2021. Please join us for the Artist Talk and Reception at 2:00 pm ET on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.

Catherine Benda grew up in Detroit, Michigan and has a BFA in painting and drawing from Central Michigan University. She currently resides in Marquette Michigan. Her paintings and collaborative art projects have been on display regionally and nationally. Most recently, in 2019, Catherine was awarded the Bruce and Allie Kotila Award at the 32nd Northern National Exhibit.

I am drawn to cultural objects of my mother’s and grandmother’s generation as well as those items that define femininity, womanhood and coming of age in the 60’s.

These domestic objects, accessories and notions framed the roles, expectations and behaviors of the women of the time.  They went hand and hand so to speak.  They were laden with subtext and rules.  They contained messages and values. All of which relegated women to a subservient role in society.

Domestic Alterations looks at the intricacies, techniques and materials present in women’s handiwork and everyday objects.  How do words paired with images alter our thoughts and provide us with a backdrop to change the narrative?  These objects when juxtaposed with language, cultural expectations and contemporary ideas provide the viewer with an opportunity to revisit each item in a new way.

I have used both women’s handiwork and notions from my youth to present Domestic Alterations.  I would like to add that I see this as a collaborative project.  The women’s needlework used in these pieces was made long ago.  The complexities of the handiwork and details in the clothing and adornments are exquisite.  They reveal a level of artistic ability which is incomparable.  Unfortunately, throughout history this was viewed by society as a lesser art form.  I thank them all for their perfect finish, attention to detail and suburb technique.  It is with great respect that I have incorporated their work into my own.

Bay West Gallery

The Bay College West Gallery is located in the Upper Commons.

Current Exhibits

There are currently no exhibits on display at the Bay West Gallery due to COVID-19.