44° 37' 11'' N 86° 13' 42'' W

Surf Club

2022, 2023Mary Welcome

Pilot Artist, Navigator, Beach Bum



I had the pleasure of the first sleepover at Sawbill Surf Club, in the early days of dreaming it into being, one beach afternoon at a time. Sarah and I dragged the mattress from my truck bed into the sun room, learning the way the light moves through the house. The days were langourous and saturated, paced in beautyquesting, riding the curves of River Road with an elbow out the window. We used our Benzie County library cards to read every local history book available and made the mistake of just one more Elbertarita at the Cabbage Shed. Time folded the geography like a swan in ways both crucial and wistful, making way for new memories in a place that hums with past lives. I still have not found a petosky stone. 


I returned to Sawbill with ferocious intention in early July, where Kelly and I both stepped into a quick clip of Getting Things Done. From an agency work retreat to  residency visioning sessions, we mapped out a summer’s worth of enterprise while keeping the work weeks to a minimum. The sun room now houses a round table for ideation and jam sessions, the kitchen table often crowded with plans and purpose. We brought home tablecloths, paintings, maps, linens, and local books. We drank 300 cans of bubble water and always left a drink out for the spirits of past residents wandering through the kitchen. I slept upstairs in the ghost room. 

Mary Welcome is a multidisciplinary cultural worker.  As an artist-organizer, her projects are rooted in community engagement and the development of intersectional programming to address equity, cultural advocacy, inclusivity, visibility, and imagination. She brings a nuanced perspective to the contemporary field, as an organizer working in service to small towns, as a cultural producer across American geographies, and as a facilitator of place-based arts programming.

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