2018-08-09 / Front Page

‘Discover’ the big reveal

First Power of Words Project wraps up with mural reveal, celebration


In background, the Power of Words Project “Discover” mural is shown. Above, artists, including, from left, Lila MacKinnon, Casey Hinkson, Ava Curran, Carrie Lambert, Georgia Johnson, Mia Tavonatti, Tara Tavonatti, Casey Hoagland, and Ryan Gilroy celebrate during a reveal ceremony Monday. Not pictured are Sara Bagley and Sky Black. Pioneer Tribune photos In background, the Power of Words Project “Discover” mural is shown. Above, artists, including, from left, Lila MacKinnon, Casey Hinkson, Ava Curran, Carrie Lambert, Georgia Johnson, Mia Tavonatti, Tara Tavonatti, Casey Hoagland, and Ryan Gilroy celebrate during a reveal ceremony Monday. Not pictured are Sara Bagley and Sky Black. Pioneer Tribune photos MANISTIQUE – Remember the old childhood taunt, “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me”? While that’s not true – words can have a lasting negative impact – it is true that words also have the power to heal, add focus to actions, and provide hope and courage.

Mia Tavonatti, designer and lead artist of the Power of Words Project mural, knows this firsthand. Throughout her life, she has been both uplifted and brought low by the words of others. For this reason, after earning first place in the 2011 Art Prize competition, she used her winnings to start the Svelata Foundation. The word “svelata” means, in Italian, to disclose, reveal, unveil or uncover.


Above, residents and artists mingle and admire the “Discover” mural following the reveal ceremony Monday. Pioneer Tribune photo Above, residents and artists mingle and admire the “Discover” mural following the reveal ceremony Monday. Pioneer Tribune photo A grant from the Svelata Foundation, as well as one from Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development, funded Manistique’s first mural on Oak Street.

On Monday, despite heavy rains temporarily forcing people indoors, a crowd of nearly 100 gathered for the full reveal of the “Discover” mural on the side of the People’s Store. The ceremony included food, introductions by Alan Barr of Schoolcraft Tourism and Commerce and Teresa Bratton, president of the Lake Effect Community Arts board and music by Manistique Mayor Mike Perilloux.

Tavonatti was on hand to present the mural to the people of Manistique. In her presentation, she shared her life’s story, the process of the mural’s creation, and her hopes that the mural will spark Manistique’s development as a “cultural tourist destination”.

Additionally, Tavonatti discussed prominent features of the mural: the depiction of the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, Kitch-iti-kipi, Seney National Wildlife Refuge, the Lake Michigan shoreline, the Manistique boardwalk, the historic Manistique water tower, the Manistique River, and the all-encompassing rings, which represent tree rings – a nod to Manistique’s logging history.

Tavonatti noted that the mural has already been drawing motorists in off of the highway. She also thanked local businesses, organizations, and individuals for assisting with housing and providing food for the artists, as well as other supportive actions.

Tavonatti introduced her team of visiting professional artists: her sister, Tara Tavonatti; Casey Hoaglund; and Sky Black, all of whom worked with Tavonatti on previous murals.

Local artists included: Casey Hinkson, Carrie Lambert, Ryan Gilroy, and Sara Bagley. Student scholarship artists were: Georgia Johnson, Ava Curran, and Lila MacKinnon.

Visit the Power of Words Project web site at powerofwordsproject.org to become involved in selecting the word for next summer’s Manistique mural.

Visit the Svelata Foundation website at miatavonatti.com/ foundation to learn more about Tavonatti’s foundation.

Many of the visiting and local artists also have Facebook pages which include photos of their time in Manistique.

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