Cass County administrator recognized by local artist group

CASSOPOLIS — A local artist group took time Thursday to thank a local official for working to keep Cass County beautiful.

Thursday, Cass County Administrator Jeff Carmen was presented with an honorary membership from the Cass Area Artists. The framed award was painted by Cass Area Artist member Alli Farkas, depicting three historic wooded sites in Cass County: the Dowagiac Creek, Rudolphi Woods and Dr. T.K. Lawless Park.

The Cass Area Artists is a local artist group with the mission of providing guidance and navigation skills to any person wishing to enter and actively participate in the world of art, craft, or other artistic events and exhibits in the Michiana area; locating and promoting exhibition opportunities for members in the Michiana area; hosting indoor and outdoor art fairs in Cass County, Michigan for members and juried non-member artist participation and encouraging economic growth in Cass County; promoting cultural education for members and others by offering art classes for all ages and art scholarships for youth in Michiana; and enriching the artistic experience for members by enlisting guest artists to speak about and demonstrate their work.

Cass Area Artists Director William Becker said Carmen was chosen for an honorary membership award due to his ongoing support of the arts in Cass County. Carmen was instrumental in helping to get the group’s first showing and reception at Cass County Administration Building off the ground in early 2020.

“It’s wonderful to have a supporter, especially in local government, who believes in art,” Becker said. “There are many artists and art in the area that is sometimes overlooked — not intentionally but still overlooked. [Carmen] helps bring it to light.”

Carmen said he was honored to be recognized by the artist group, saying he believes in the value art can add to Cass County.

“It’s incredible,” Carmen said of the honorary membership. “Art is humanity. We are coming out of some dark times, and we need beautiful things — and we have beautiful things. We have artists who are so gifted and want to be a part of the community. That is fantastic.”

Now, the Cass Area Artists are looking forward to their next showing in Cass County Administration building. Thursday, the group agreed to host another show in August.

“It’s going to be as big and as good as the first one,” Becker said.

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