Bonifas Arts Center: Visions of American Life

As part of the Art Bridges-Terra Foundation Initiative, The Bonifas Arts Center (Escanaba, MI) was the first venue to host the Detroit Institute of Arts’ exhibition, Visions of American Life from April 5 – May 23, 2018.

The BAC is a comprehensive arts organization with a commitment to excellent exhibits, education, performances, facilities, events and other activities. Their mission is to enhance and inspire the cultural and creative lives of the people in the Central Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Their vision is to engage every member of the regional community in some form of arts experience that inspires them. This project serves the mission and vision beautifully, by bringing incredible works from the Detroit Institute of Arts collection to the Upper Peninsula.

Just as the exhibit was curated and organized around three themes (American Spectacle, Home Life, and Public Spaces) the programs are formatted to reflect the same. They explore how artists communicate the “big idea.”  By viewing seemingly simple scenes, viewers are encouraged to learn more about the political and social climate of a specific time period, and compare it to their own through three major program groupings:

  • Lunch and Learn: hour-long gatherings at noon, designed to reach those who work.
  • The Visions Video: An original, in-gallery video element that compares the artwork from Visions of American Art to contemporary artwork by Upper Peninsula artists.
  • Self-guided and School Tours: For home-school and traditional students within the 2 county school district, college students, community service groups, and university students.


Art Bridges support included:

  • Programming & Evaluation Project – support for lunch and learn programs, the Visions Video, and all tours.

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