Glass Artists Donate Art to Raise Support for Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Alpena, Mich. — When 45th Parallel Glass Works and Gallery owners Peggy and Augie Matuzak heard the Friends of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (TBNMS), a local non-profit, was trying to raise matching funds for a grant to the City of Alpena to create a waterfront park along the Thunder Bay River, they decided to donate a one-of-a-kind piece of art glass that Peggy created. Peggy’s design for the glass piece was inspired by a contest the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary held a few years ago.

“The glass piece itself was created by cutting all the objects out in glass and then fused in our kiln for nine hours, then another nine hours to cool. Next all the details were added, and fired and cooled again,” Peggy Matuzak explained.

In Matuzak’s whimsical style, she artistically captures several of the sanctuary’s most prominent features. The Lady Michigan glass-bottom boat, Middle Island Lighthouse, the Monohansett shipwreck, a scuba diver, and Great Lakes fish are offset in brilliant shades of Lake Huron blue. The captivating art glass is, like all works of art, best viewed in person to fully appreciate Matuzak’s creativity. It is currently on display in the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center Sanctuary Store, but not for long!

“Visitors to northeast Michigan, love Lady Michigan cruises and the shipwreck museum at NOAA’s Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. As local art gallery owners, tourists are important to our success. We know from our customers how the Lady Michigan and shipwreck museum draw people to the area,” Peggy added.

“Peggy and I had fun coming up with ideas for the sanctuary art glass. We hope it will serve as a call to action this Giving Tuesday for people to support the Friends of Thunder Bay and all they do for community education and economic development,” added Augie Matuzak.

Following through on the Matuzak’s intentions that the art work be used to support the Friend’s fundraising efforts, Friends board of directors is making it a focal point for this year’s Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019. Supporters who donate $25 or more on Giving Tuesday will have a chance to win the 21.5” x 16.5” art glass. It is valued at $325 and comes with a wrought iron stand.

“The Friends board and sanctuary team deeply appreciate Peggy and Augie Matuzak’s thoughtfulness, creativity, and generosity. We hope the community will enthusiastically join us in supporting their intentions this Giving Tuesday,” said Friends Board President Chuck Wiesen.

The Friends of TBNMS is participating in the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan’s 24 hours of online giving as part of the largest day of giving in the world. Giving Tuesday is always the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year. Supporters can visit www.cfnem.org/givingtuesday from 12:00 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. this December 3rd and donate to a variety of nonprofits.

“Giving Tuesday is the Friends most important fundraising day of the year,” said Wiesen. “The Matuzaks’ timing for this gift is incredible,” he added. “The Friends just spent nearly $35,000 to rebuild an engine on the Lady Michigan, which also took a chunk out of ticket sales this season resulting in the loss of much need operational revenue.

“If you or your business benefit from the nearly 100,000 tourists who travel to Alpena to take a cruise on the Lady Michigan, now is an important time to step up and make a donation to the Friends,” said Wiesen.

Recognizing the importance of the Lady Michigan as a key economic driver for the community, as well as a dynamic education tool for area teachers and students, the Friends of TBNMS took on the responsibility of operating the glass-bottom boat two years ago. The boat is leased from a private company that was no longer able to manage the day-to-day operations onsite in Alpena.

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To make a donation to the Friends of TBNMS on Giving Tuesday, December 3, 2019, go online to www.cfnem.org/givingtuesday, or visit www.thunderbayfriends.org any time between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. If you prefer, you can also mail or drop off a check to Friends of TBNMS at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 West Fletcher Street, Alpena, MI 49707. If your donation is $25 or more, you will automatically be given a chance to win the very special art glass created by local artist Peggy Matuzak, 45 North Art Gallery is located in Downtown Alpena, 121 N. Second Street, Alpena, MI 49707, phone: (989) 370-3314.

For more information, contact Katie Wolf, phone: 989-884-6210 or kwolf@thunderbayfriends.org. The Friends of TBNMS is a nonprofit 501(c)3 dedicated to supporting the sanctuary’s community outreach, education, research, and economic development initiatives. All donations to the Friends are reinvested in the community.