Friends of Art was established in 1921 as an independent non-profit organization to promote the study of art and to support the Muskegon Museum of Art. The Friends of Art group offers an on-going guest lecture program and occasional visits to off-site cultural institutions.

Meetings and programs typically take place on the third Wednesday morning of the months of October, November, March, April and May.

Evening lecture opportunities are offered through the ArtSmarts series in fall and spring.

Membership dues are used for morning programs and operational expenses. Donations are used to purchase gifts for the museum, most especially works of art. The Friends of Art organization provides a monetary award for the annual Michigan Contemporary Art Exhibition, support for the Festival of Trees and the annual Gala, and various physical improvements.

A Muskegon Museum of Art membership is prerequisite to joining the Friends of Art. Basic membership in Friends of Art is $25, with benevolent memberships above that level.

2019 Spring ArtSmarts Lecture Series

Celebrating Contemporary Women Artists

Wednesdays, May 8, 15, 22
7:00 pm, doors open at 6:30 pm
Series: $45 per person/$30 per person (Friends of Art member)
Per lecture at the door: $15
Registration forms are available in the MMA Store. Call 231.720.2580. Please remit checks for advance payment by May 1.

Contemporary Women Artists
Wednesday, May 8, 7:00 pm
Speaker: Suzanne Eberle, Ph.D.

Eberle will discuss how and why contemporary art has been broadened and deeply enriched by women artists. She is a professor at Kendall College of Art & Design and a member of the Sculpture Advisory Committee at the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The Bennett Collection
Wednesday, May 15, 7:00 pm
Speakers: Steven Alan Bennett and Dr. Elaine Melotti Schmidt
Steven Bennett, avid art collector and founder of The Bennett Prize, will discuss his collecting and provide insight into the goals of founding the Prize. Bennett and Schmidt are art collectors who specialize in realist paintings of women by women artists.

The Bennett Prize
Wednesday, May 22, 7:00 pm
Speaker: Art Martin
Art Martin, MMA Director of Collections and Exhibitions, will discuss the organization of the exhibition Rising Voices: The Bennett Prize for Women Figurative Realists, including insights into the jurying process. He will also provide a critique of the works in the show, discussing their visual and thematic components.

2019 Spring Friends of Art Morning Programs

Friends of Art morning programs are free and open to the public. Paid admission is required for gallery entrance.

D Major is Sky Blue: The Blended Senses of Synethesia
Wednesday, March 20, 10:30 am
Speaker: Katherine Bourdon
Synesthesia, a common trait among artists and musicians, is a neurological phenomenon in which the sensory pathways become crossed or joined. Sound may be “seen” as colors, or taste felt as shapes. Synesthesia affected the artwork of Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee, and the music of Leonard Bernstein, Duke Ellington, and Billy Joel, to name a few. Discover the minds of synesthetes and how they experience their worlds. Kate Bourdon is an artist, MMA docent, and music teacher who taught vocal music in Michigan public and private schools for over 30 years. She now pursues her passion as an artist while teaching piano and flute privately. Her award-winning artwork has exhibited throughout West Michigan and is represented in private collections in the Midwest and Canada.

Grand Valley State University Art Gallery: The First 20 Years – 1998-2018
Wednesday, April 17, 10:30 am
Speaker: Henry Matthews
The GVSU Art Gallery was formed in 1998 with 700 existing works of art. It now boasts a collection of 17,000 works of art, which are dispersed throughout 130 buildings on six campuses. GVSU also has six changing exhibition venues. Henry Matthews, Director of Galleries and Collections at GVSU, and his team of manage the growth, care, and interpretation of the collection; organize exhibitions; and present related programming. Learn how the Art Gallery connects its work to the mission of the university. Matthews is a former Curator of the Muskegon Museum of Art and served as Director of the MMA from 1994 to 1998. He joined GVSU to create a permanent art collection complemented by a rich exhibition and education program.

Art and the Journey
Wednesday, May 15, 10:30 am
Speaker: Lori Eslick
When looking at art, you can be transported to those moments that an artist has while creating: the art of mindfulness, really. Lori will share insights into some of her creative moments and hopes to encourage others to pursue their creative gifts. Lori McElrath Eslick is an artist and art educator. Her art career began at the Hallmark Company, where she designed and created greeting cards from 1981 to 1987. Her award-winning work is represented in institutions and corporations around the country and her illustrations have appeared in national magazines. She has also authored and illustrated more than fifteen children’s books.