St. Joe’s Box Factory Celebrates MAAC Winners on June 19th

A truly grass roots art competition featuring 162 works of art on all three levels of the building will celebrate the work of 90 regional artists on Saturday, June 19th from 5:30 until 8pm at The Box Factory for the Arts as they issue awards to winners of the Michiana Annual Art Competition at The Box.

The public is invited on June 19th at the Box Factory for the Arts, located at 1101 Broad Street in St. Joseph, for an open house and reception, featuring those amazing works of art along with live music on the stage, free desserts, and a cash bar.

Cash awards to winning artists will be presented at 7 pm, and I have the privilege of delivering those as the guest emcee. The Best of Show award, sponsored by the Southwest Michigan Tourist Council, will be presented to Mary Amadour of Goshen, Indiana. Category awards have been provided by the John Devries Insurance Agency, Krasl Art Center, B.E.R. Refrigeration Heating Cooling Plumbing, Foster Swift Collins and Smith Attorneys, MailMax, Caffe Tosi, and an Anonymous Friend of the Arts.

Those receiving category awards include:

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  • Zech Ray of Berrien Springs (Watercolor)
  • Laurel Kuehl of Portage, Michigan (Pastel)
  • Doug LaFerle of St. Joseph (Sculpture)
  • Kei Constantinov of Michigan City (Oil/Acrylic)
  • Becky Rotter of Sodus (Ceramics)
  • Pamela DeMaris of Benton Harbor (Photography)
  • Judy Hallisy of Saugatuck (Miscellanea)

Musicians scheduled to perform throughout the reception include Abbie Thomas, Patti Shaffner, and Doug Harsch.

Abbie Thomas is a singer-songwriter with a rhythm and blues/jazz flair. Influenced by The Beatles, Karen Carpenter and others, she mixes pop melodies with honest, life-inspired lyrics. She released her first single, “Those 3 Words” in 2020 and is scheduled to release her first album “Who I Am” this month. The Box Factory audience will help launch the career of this new-to-the-scene musician.

South Bend native Doug Harsch will bring his “Rockin American Folk” to The Box stage for the first time. The singer-songwriter has performed throughout the Michiana area and beyond for the past seven years. His fun and hand-clapping, foot-stomping songs are sure to bring much needed joy and grit as we return to life after the pandemic.

Patti Shaffner is a 30-year veteran of stage performance and theater direction. She is equally at home with jazz, folk, blues, and musical theater. She has opened for the legendary Michael Smith, Dan Navarro and Special Consensus Bluegrass Band. Her songs appeal to a wide range of audiences and musical tastes.

Sponsors for the reception include Waterfront Framing and Design, Holmstrom Law Office, Capture Studios, Biggby Coffee, Martin’s Supermarket, Red Coach Donuts, Kilwins, Sandra Kay’s Bakery, and the Liquor Cabinet.

For more on this event, you can visit the Box Factory online at or follow along on Facebook.