FRANKFORT — Poetry meets history at ARTifactory, a new literary series launched by two Benzie County cultural hubs.

Oliver Art Center in Frankfort and Benzie Area Historical Society & Museum in Benzonia collaborate to bring out the inner poet of all ages. ARTiFactory offers writers opportunity to see their poetry published and read their work at a public event.

The creative alliance begins with a poetry writing workshop and museum tour on March 18. The collaboration happens in two parts: First a workshop at the Oliver Art Center from 9:30 — 11 a.m. and a tour at the Benzie Historical Society from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. where prospective poets choose an item or items to write about.

Museum exhibits capture time through displays of Victorian household artifacts, military, car ferry and early tourism relics. Museum Executive Director Barb Mort said the county’s artifacts can awaken powerful memories compelling workshop attendees to bring them to life in word.

Poems will deadline on March 28, and culminate in a reading and reception at the Oliver Art Center on April 22 from 4-6 p.m.

The cultural fusion strives to echo the spirit of both Benzie nonprofits.

“There’s something special about poetry that evokes emotions,” said Oliver Art Center Executive Director Tamara Hoffbauer. “If taken into the physical, a poem can evoke the same response.”

ARTifactory coordinator and workshop instructor Steve Veatch said the program is modeled after a similar, long-running collaborative program between Kalamazoo Valley Museum and Friends of Poetry.

Veatch, based in Interlochen, is a member of Michigan Writers and Castle Rock Writers in Colorado. His work has appeared in multiple publications.

“Through the power of poetry, we will explore history and find meaning as we uncover new personal and universal truths,” he said.

ARTifactory’s debut event is open to students and adults, new and experienced writers.

“We encourage all ages and skill levels,” Mort said. “Whether you’ve never written before or just want to be around creative people.”

Following the poetry writing workshop, poets will tour the museum to select an artifact to serve as their inspiration.

Poets have until March 28 to complete their poem. The original poems will be assembled and published as a keepsake book presented to all writers. Writers also receive a National Poetry Month poster.

On April 22, the Oliver Center hosts the free ARTifactory exhibit launch at the center, a reception and poetry reading.

The Museum later hosts the exhibit.

ARTifactory kicks off kicks off Oliver Art Center’s renewed focus on literary art forms building on the area’s strong legacy in the art genre.

“The region has a rich writing history going all the way back to Hemingway,” Hoffbauer said.

The Center’s future plans include offering additional writing classes and workshops, author discussion programs and possibly opportunities in intersecting art and writing.

ARTifactory fees are $25 for adults. There is no charge for students younger than 18. For more information and to register, go to or call 231-352-4151.

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