The theme of this year’s 17 th annual Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival
(AhFest) is “Us and Them,” and will include theater, art exhibits, music, films, and
several lectures on campus as well as downtown Muskegon.
Among the first events on campus are a lecture on “Mindfulness: Practice and
Benefits” on Oct. 5, and the theater production of Avenue Q: The Musical Oct. 12-15 in
Overbook Theater. The current exhibit in the Overbrook Art Gallery titled “Us and
Them” continues through Oct. 28.
“Throughout October, the festival brings awareness of the arts and humanities to
the people of our community through activities that honor the efforts of artists, historians,
and cultural groups working to make the arts and humanities a part of everyday life,” said
Tom Harryman, chair of the MCC arts and humanities department. “Various arts,
humanities and community groups will collaborate to celebrate, acknowledge and
examine the world of ideas as they are expressed in the arts and humanities. The Festival
brings awareness of the arts and humanities to the people of our community through
activities that honor the efforts of artists, historians, and cultural groups working to make
the arts and humanities a part of everyday life.”
The festival began 15 years ago to celebrate, acknowledge, and examine into the
world of ideas as they are expressed in the arts and humanities. Each year ideas tied to a
certain theme are explored through literature, theater, music, discussion panels, art
exhibits, films and many other events throughout the month of October.”
Past themes have included Myth and Reality (2015), About Time, Faith and
Reason, The Future, Home, and Self.
* Sept. 26-Oct. 28: “Us and Them: Works by Deborah Rockman.” Public
reception and artist’s talk on Tuesday, Oct. 18.
* Oct. 1-Dec. 11: “Studio Brew: the Colors of Beer,” Muskegon Museum of Art.
* Nov. 7-Dec. 2: “Works by Ken Foster and Lisa Medendorp.” Public reception
and artists’ talk on Wednesday, Nov. 16.
Overbrook Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, with
special weekend and evening hours during performances in the adjacent Overbrook
* Oct. 12-16: Avenue Q. Thursday through Saturday performances. A puppet-
filled musical comedy following a group of 20-somethings seeking their purpose in life.
The musical is described as an adult Sesame Street, recommended for mature audiences
due to “language, content, and puppet nudity,” according the Sheila Wahamaki, director.
* Nov. 30-Dec. 3: Once Upon a Time: More Stories of the Season. Seasonal
stories selected, written, and performed by MCC students.
* Sept. 30: Heroes and Villains, West Michigan Symphony, Frauenthal Theater,
* Oct. 2: Rockin’ Road to Dublin, Irish music and dance, Frauenthal Theater,
* Oct. 19: Wind and Jazz Ensemble concert, Overbrook Theater.
* Oct. 23: “Fall into Jazz,” West Michigan Concert Winds, with guest artists the
Lakeshore Big Band. Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts.
* Oct. 29: Michigan Community College Choral Festival. MCC Singers &
Collegiates, United Methodist Church of Kalamazoo.
* Nov. 13: Muskegon Area Honors Orchestra & Muskegon Shoreline Symphony.
Dogwood Center for the Performing Arts, Fremont.
* Nov. 20: “Kids at the Block,” West Michigan Concert Winds, The Block,
* Dec. 4: MCC Holiday Music Concert, Orchard View High School, Muskegon.
* Oct. 5: “Mindfulness: Practice and Benefits,” with Dat Pham, 1100 Stevenson
* Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26: Films based on Dennis Lehane novels. Muskegon Museum of
* Oct. 27: Dennis Lehane: Mystery and Crime Fiction Writer, Frauenthal Theater,
* Nov. 17: “Indian Children in American History,” Matthew Fletcher, director,
Indigenous Law and Policy Center, 1100 Stevenson Building, MCC.
* Oct. 8 & 9: “Muskegon City of the Dead,” Oct. 8, Evergreen Cemetery,
Muskegon. Reenactments of Muskegon historic figures buried in Evergreen Cemetery.
* Oct. 8: Muster Keaton Film Festival, Frauenthal Theater.
A complete list of AhFest precentations is available at the organization’s website,
The AhFest website notes, “AhFest 2016 examines the myriad of factors that
turns ‘brother’ instantly into ‘other’–race, gender, sexual orientation, religion,
socioeconomic status, nationality–and whatever else otherwise divides us.”
AhFest will examine the walls, visible and invisible, people build to keep the
other out, as well as the “Trojan Horses of our deeper humanity that infiltrate our
collective failings under cover of night, and sometimes in blazing daylight… That we are
so easily divided is one of the things that binds us–or, to paraphrase the words put into
the mouth of a politically astute possum in a South Georgia swamp by the great
cartoonist, Walt Kelly: ‘We have met the enemy–and the enemy is us.’ ”