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.

Current Exhibitions
Christine Lenzen (b. 1984 Minneapolis, MN) received her BFA from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and her MFA from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Lenzen is currently an Associate Professor of Photography at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI. She was recently shortlisted for a Lucie Foundation Fine Art Scholarship, listed in the Top 200 for Photolucida’s Critical Mass, and received honorable mention for the Julia Margaret Cameron Award for Women Photographers. She has exhibited with the Texas Photographic Society, Houston, TX; Blue Spiral 1 Gallery, Asheville, NC; Southeast Center for Photography, Greenville, SC; The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO; and Rayko Photo Center, San Francisco, CA.

Artist Statement: The ongoing series Forever a Wilderness was born from my desire to create a visual mythos of the Great Lakes’ north woods culture – particularly for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Often left off maps of the United States, the Upper Peninsula stretches across almost the entire southern shore of Lake Superior and contains almost a third of the land mass in Michigan, but with only three percent of its population. While the Upper Peninsula is geographically in the Midwest, the culture and landscape here is markedly different than the traits that are typically associated with the rest of middle America: instead of mile after mile of flat farmland, we have 8.8 million acres of forest; instead of a tornado season, we have blizzards and effectively seven months of winter; instead of a claim to the world’s largest ball of twine, we have Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake.

The Upper Peninsula is isolated and remote – the first Governor of Michigan once described the area as a “sterile region… destined by soil and climate to remain forever a wilderness.”  The residents of the U.P. (colloquially called Yoopers) might be described as walking contradictions as they tend toward hearty individualism - nonconformist and self-reliant - but are also fiercely supportive of their communities with an incredibly strong sense of regional pride. It is the sparsity of population combined with the severity of our winters that elicit these characteristics of Yooper culture. Similar to how place can become intrinsically important to understanding the psychologies of characters in great literature, these photographs echo the sensibilities of this region and its people. While this work is perhaps an ode to my love affair with the Upper Peninsula, it is also a portrait of what much of rural America embodies: pride in our wilderness, commitment to our communities, and the ability to endure through tough times.

The exhibition of her work can be viewed in the Besse Gallery from December 18, 2019- February 20, 2020 with reception and Artist Talk, Thursday February 13 at 2 PM. Refreshments will be served. 

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.

Current Exhibitions

The Hartwig Gallery is proudly featuring Female Artists from our Collection through February 20.

Bay West Gallery

The Bay College West Gallery is located in the Upper Commons. For more information contact Email%20Kristine%20Granger or call 906-217-4252.