2018-05-31 / Outdoors

Northport students combine art, science aboard Inland Seas

By Eric Carlson
Of The Enterprise staff

NORTHPORT PUBLIC School art students and their teacher Jenny Evans, lower right, display the artworks they created during their first-of-its kind cruise in Suttons Bay aboard the school-ship Inland Seas last week.NORTHPORT PUBLIC School art students and their teacher Jenny Evans, lower right, display the artworks they created during their first-of-its kind cruise in Suttons Bay aboard the school-ship Inland Seas last week.
Inland Seas Education Association (ISEA) last week conducted its first-ever “student art cruise” amid its school-ship outings devoted mostly to science.

The special outing was the brainchild of Northport Public School art teacher Jenny Evans and Jeanie Williams, ISEA’s lead scientist and education coordinator.

“We’ve been planning to bring our passion for art and science together for the past two years,” Evans said. “It was such a magical day.”

Twenty Northport eighth through twelfth-grade art students participated in the three-and-a-half-hour cruise aboard the schooner Inland Seas last Wednesday, May 23. Each of the students was issued a nautical chart on which they sketched images of the 62-foot-long school-ship.


SETTING SAIL on Suttons Bay, an Inland Seas Education Association ship returns from a voyage on the water. Students participating in Inland Seas’ programs capture data used as a part of research collection about the health of our waters in Suttons Bay, Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan. SETTING SAIL on Suttons Bay, an Inland Seas Education Association ship returns from a voyage on the water. Students participating in Inland Seas’ programs capture data used as a part of research collection about the health of our waters in Suttons Bay, Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan. “We had some group projects, too,” said Northport senior Austin Huck. “One of the coolest things we did was create art using the motion of the school-ship itself — with a pendulum that painted patterns on fabric.”

Northport sophomore Hayden Gregg said he really enjoyed creating artwork on the cruise, but also benefited from ISEA’s usual focus on science.

“We got to look at plankton we collected through a microscope and drew pictures of that, too,” Gregg said. “I’d never done that before.”

SUTTONS BAY Art Festival board member Tom Woodruff, standing, a well-known Northport-based artist, oversees Northport Public School art students creating art below-decks aboard the school-ship Inland Seas during its cruise last week. Photo: Jenny EvansSUTTONS BAY Art Festival board member Tom Woodruff, standing, a well-known Northport-based artist, oversees Northport Public School art students creating art below-decks aboard the school-ship Inland Seas during its cruise last week. Photo: Jenny Evans
Eighth grader Lillian Brown had been aboard Inland Seas before, as had many of her schoolmates.

“The last time we came here it was all science,” Brown said, “but this time we combined art and science — and it was a completely different experience.”

The special cruise was sponsored by the Suttons Bay Art Festival, according to Lisa Sitkins, ISEA marketing and fund development consultant.

“Sponsoring a cruise on the school-ship was a little outside our usual mission,” said Suttons Bay Art Festival board member Donna Popke. “But when we heard what was being proposed — combining art with science aboard the Inland Seas – the art festival board was only too happy to donate $1,200 to underwrite this effort.”


VOLUNTEER CREWMEMBERS aboard the schooner Inland Seas prepare to dock the schoolship at its berth in Suttons Bay following a first-ever “art cruise” for local students. VOLUNTEER CREWMEMBERS aboard the schooner Inland Seas prepare to dock the schoolship at its berth in Suttons Bay following a first-ever “art cruise” for local students. “The trip was all on scholarship,” Evans said. “We were so lucky and fortunate to have been the recipients of it.”

Students also benefited from the participation of guest artist Tom Woodruff, a Northport resident best known for his children’s book illustrations and art workshops focusing on Great Lakes subjects. Woodruff is also a member of the Suttons Bay Art Festival board of directors.

Every fall and spring, hundreds of students from all over Michigan and the Midwest visit the Inland Seas Education Center in Suttons Bay and venture out onto the bay aboard the schoolship Inland Seas to learn about Great Lakes ecology, history and culture.

Founded in 1989, the non-profit organization is dedicated to educating people of all ages and fostering stewardship of the Great Lakes.

Return to top