And The Story Begins…

Artist Statement

2021 Make A Splash With Trash


Back in January, Kerry Hagy contacted us about the possibility of creating two temporary installments with beach trash from a grant she was submitting in cooperation with the Michigan Maritime Museum. We of course were intrigued about this idea and gave our curious nod of approval. As collaborative artists who work primarily with recycling materials, this seemed like a perfect marriage of combining our passion for repurposing, beautification, and public art.


But the story began way before all this…


After grant approval in June and meeting on location with Kerry and Maritime Museum Education Director Ashley Deming, we began sketching out ideas, brainstorming designs, concepts and engineering techniques. This began our beach trash evolution journey that would open our eyes to places and people of South Haven that were hidden in plain sight all along.



But the story really began before all this…


As a point of reference our Cheeky Chic-y Studio work is totally material driven. We primarily use paper-based packaging to create functional and beautiful pieces, and we were operating on this philosophy when starting the Make A Splash With Trash public art project. However, soon our direction changed as our eyes were quickly opened to the seriousness of the issue to which we were assigned. Instead of attempting to just create something aesthetically pleasing, the message and education component of these projects became a top priority. Art is all about problem solving.


But this was not the beginning of our story….


Early on, we had an indication of size and scale for each site, but our imagery was in constant flux until we actually began collecting beach trash. The collection process led us along the north beach to a cozy vintage cottage, the Kal-Haven tra


il, garbage cans, city dumpsters, the cemetery, and the department of public works. Along the way we also met friendly South Haven residents, energetic work staff, summer visitors, and helpful people who listened to our beach trash mission story. We soon developed a new perspective when we found ourselves inside dumpsters poking around for colorful beach toys while trying to avoid the illusive local racoon family and the smell of dead fish. Unfortunately these things were unavoidable.


But our story had another beginning….


We agreed that a simple image of S.O.S. for the South Haven Center For The Arts piece would present pedestrians and motorists with a quick visual distress call signal, thus triggering more interest and pondering, “What’s this all about? Using the bright beach trash toys for the letters, and creating fish heads from cut and reassembled water bottles provided the base of materials needed for the border.


For Fish Over Troubled Water at the Michigan Maritime Museum site, we devised a woven construction employing found beach materials such as a tent, colorful inflatables, drop cloth, lawn chair fabric, beer cans, and flip flops onto a fish shaped wire support. Underneath the 8’ fish, the symbolic, round water base was designed with 600+ bottle caps and beer can tops and bottoms, each screwed onto a round wooden base that was first covered with a beach umbrella.


But the story actually began like this……


The question of how and why all of this trash ended up along the beaches of South Haven is the question we would like to address with these two pieces. So for us the story really begins when YOU and I — as consumers — walk into our local grocery store, shopping center, or big box store and make our purchasing choices. If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by all the incredible assortment of convenient products, some stacked up to near ceiling height, and wondered what happens to all this packaging and stuff then maybe you are on the same page with us.


Everyone makes consuming choices everyday, probably without thinking about where the leftover products will end up. We all breathe a collective sigh of relief when we neatly bag up our trash, tightly close the garbage can lid, and watch someone else pick it up and drive it away to its new location. Now some of that trash has f


ound its new home, at the beach of South Haven Michigan and undeniably we’ve ALL contributed to this at one time or another.


In our evaluation, it is our goal that in viewing Call For Help and Fish Over Troubled Water the observer might not just see colorful and fun public art displays, but also understand the impact we all make upon our environment every time we shop.

Maybe next time ask yourself, “Do I really need to buy this case of bottled water?”


Thanks to the South Haven Center For The Arts and The Michigan Maritime Museum for this artistic and environmental stewardship opportunity.




Jeff & Theresa Heaton

Cheeky Chic-y Studio

Thank you so much! This project has been made possible through a grant from Greater Area South Haven Community Foundation, and by operational support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts. Thank you to the Maritime Museum for this wonderful collaboration!

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Updated: Jul 17

The South Haven Center for the Arts is extremely fortunate to have very supportive and loyal members. It is our pleasure to showcase some of these amazing members on our website. We begin with Diane Lynne Cheeseman who has been a member since 1971 - 50 years!


Lynne grew up in Michigan, spending time in Grand Ledge and St. Ignace, then Kalamazoo and Lansing. Her father was the Chief Photographer for the construction of the Mackinac Bridge and her mother was a teacher. Lynne remembers her first (and worst?) art class as a child in St. Ignace where paint-by-numbers was a favorite of her under qualified teacher. She attended Michigan State University in 1959 and took an art design class. Her love of painting was born. By 1968 she held BFA, MA and MFA degrees. The MFA is the highest degree for practicing artists for teaching purposes.




Photo of Lynne Cheeseman in her studio, holding an original painting.


After her marriage to George Cheeseman, she moved to South Haven in 1969 where her husband worked at the Palisades Nuclear Plant. They bought one of the only 3 houses for sale at that time and have made it their home with a garage studio ever since. She and George have two adult daughters, Andrea and Marcy, who graduated from the SH public schools.


In April of 1971, Lynne wanted to meet other area artists and joined what was then known as The South Haven Art Association. The President at that time was the late Steve French. She has served on the Board several times and was a member of the committee that wrote the original By-Laws and also our Statement of Purpose.


Lynne is both formally-trained and self-taught. She has attended classes throughout the years and has incorporated new techniques and inspiration into her own unique style. She is a watercolorist who now primarily uses acrylics like watercolors - lots of water and many layers of colors. The application of up to 15 layers of color can require several days to complete. She describes her style as abstract and emotional with Lake Michigan frequently providing inspiration. Form and composition are important factors in her work and she has won many state and midwest awards for her efforts.


When asked what advice she would give to aspiring artists of any age, she replied "Don't give up too soon". She also suggested that, when inspired, work on several things at one time so there are always pieces to work on while others are drying. She said "I might have 6 or 7 pieces going at one time". Aside from her artwork, Lynne also enjoys reading, exercising and gardening.


If you have an interest in Lynne's work or just want to offer congratulations on her 50 years of membership, she may be reached via email at dlcheeseman@gmail.com.


Do you know of someone else who merits special recognition either as a long-time member or who has made significant contributions of time and energy to us? Please send his/her name to Kerry at kerryh.shca@gmail.com We have wonderful members/volunteers at every level and recognizing them here is a great way to say "Thank you!"


To learn more about the history of the South Haven Center for the Arts, view our history posts on our blog.




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Updated: Aug 26

This summer the South Haven Center for the Arts is collaborating with the Michigan Maritime Museum for the third annual Make a Splash with Trash event. The Maritime Museum conceived of the event, which centers around a community beach clean-up for families to focus our community and visitors on the stewardship of our public beaches and water ways. The Center's role in this collaboration for the last two years has been leading an art-making workshop using the materials from the beach cleanup to make an art piece. We are very excited to have received a grant from the Greater Area South Haven Community Foundation for this year's collaboration. With this grant, the South Haven Center for the Arts will collaborate with Lawrence, Michigan artists Jeffrey and Theresa Heaton. The Heaton’s will create two art installations, one on the South Haven Center for the Art’s campus and one the Michigan Maritime Museum’s campus and will engage families in an art making event planned for Friday, August 27, 2021 on the Maritime Museum’s campus.


The Heaton's Collecting South Haven's Beach Trash

The Heaton’s make amazing relief and three-dimensional pieces from materials redirected from

waste streams. Examples of their work are intricately woven pieces made from dog and cat

food bags and geometric designs made from cat food cans and toilet paper rolls. You can see some of their work on the Cheeky Chic-y Studio facebook page and @cheeky_chicy_studio on instagram. The Heaton's have kicked off the project by exploring South Haven's beaches and river ways, chasing down the beach combing machine, and finding where all the beach trash gets dumped. When visiting the dumpster at the cemetery where the beach trash is deposited, Theresa and Jeffrey met Mary, who told them all about the patterns of refuse left on the beach. Below are photos of the Heaton's adventures and notable pieces of beach trash which they are planning to use in their final sculptures.

How can you help with this project?


Now that the artists have started to identify what type of waste is left on the beaches, they need more! Theresa and Jeffrey Heaton will be making two installations which will be on display for the month of August one on the Michigan Maritime Museum campus and one on the east side of the South Haven Center for the Arts. These installations will highlight the trash that is left on our beaches and in our water ways. You can help the Heaton's by cleaning up the beach and collecting trash! If you can help, and need a bucket and gloves - let us know, we can provide that for you. Below is a list of the types of waste that the Heaton's are collecting for this project. We ask that you safely collect all other waste and throw it in the garbage. The Heaton's plan to start building their two sculptures after July 6. A great time to help collect them collect would be Monday, July 5. We will have receptacles at the art center that week to donate your findings.


Beach Trash to collect and donate to the South Haven Center for the Arts

  • colorful abandoned beach items like beach buckets, toys, shovels, goggles, and flip flops

  • plastic bottles

  • large colorful items like the spring float above or kites


August 27, 2021 Save the Date

Make a Splash with Trash


Join us at the the Michigan Maritime Museum on the morning of August 27 lead by the Maritime Museum who will host the beach trash clean up, and the Heaton’s with assist families in making art from the trash they collect on the beach.



Thank you so much!

This project has been made possible through a grant from Greater Area South Haven Community Foundation, and by operational support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Culture and the National Endowment for the Arts. Theresa and Jeffrey's day on the beach in South Haven was made possible by art center members Diana Densmore and David Stelzmuller who generously shared a nights stay on the beach with artists so they could wake up early in the morning and catch the beach comber and this beautiful rainbow. Finally, thank you to the Maritime Museum for this wonderful collaboration.

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