This theme exhibit, The Pieces Fall Together, is based on a copper mining country scene of the Quincy Smelting Works located on the waterfront of the Portage Canal in Hancock, MI. The hills behind the mining buildings are covered with trees, which were in full spectrum of fall colors.
The Center Piece of the Exhibit, 4′ High by 6′ Wide, created with puzzle pieces, each one painted by a member of Chelsea Painters, then each piece was attached to the canvas to produce the completed painting. (click on the image below to enlarge, you will distinctly see the puzzle pieces.
This exhibit lived in the gallery of the Riverside Arts Center, Ypsilanti, MI, Sept 6-29, 2012. Each member also created two additional art pieces inspired by the copper mining theme. Making this an interactive exhibit, ten artwork images were turned into puzzles and placed on small tables around the gallery. Visitors could sit down and put together puzzles of the paintings hanging on a wall across from them.
A Bit of History
The Quincy Mining Company built the Quincy Smelting Works on the banks of the Portage Canal in 1898. Quincy constructed the smelter to refine and ship its own copper, as well as to accept custom work from neighboring mining operations.
Quincy closed the smelter in 1971. Although the site decayed over the years, the smelter remained a unique and special place. In 1978, the Historic American Engineering Record documented the smelter complex in its study of the Quincy Mining Company.
In 2007, at the urging of U.S. Senator Carl Levin, a group of interested parties began working together to save the crumbling smelter.
In 2014, the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission acquired the smelter from Franklin Township. With the help of the Quincy Mine Hoist Association and the Quincy Smelter Association, the site is now open for guided tours Monday through Saturday, late June through mid-October. As the only remaining industrial site of its type left in the world, the Quincy Smelter provides an exceptional opportunity to learn about the machinery, processes, and workers that made Michigan’s copper industry so important to our nation.