A new sign marks the entrance of the Ocqueoc Township Cemetery – and it’s both a work of art and the result of a concerted community effort.
In late 2017, the township board determined that a new sign was needed for the cemetery, and Jeff Foster, Ocqueoc Township board trustee, put the project in motion. An advocate for art education, he reached out to Onaway High School and presented it as an opportunity for their art students: Design a new sign for the township cemetery and win a $500 scholarship.
In April 2018, the board reviewed 17 submissions and selected a sketch by Maggie Jones, Onaway High School Class of 2019. The concept highlighted woods, wildlife, and Ocqueoc Falls, and it was everything the board was looking for.
Foster explored several different options for the production of the sign before a colleague finally pointed him in the direction of Onaway’s Industrial Arts Institute. Artist-in-residence Ann Gildner worked closely with Foster and the Ocqueoc Township board to translate Maggie’s concept from a basic drawing into a three-layer stainless steel relief with a satin and patina finish. The design blueprints were finalized in early 2020, and then Ann got down to work, adding her artistic interpretation to Maggie’s original concept.
Installation of the sign took place on the afternoon of October 27, marking the end of a project nearly two years in the making. Maggie is credited with the design on the back of the sign.
“It’s something we did as a community,” Foster said. “From the initial design right through to the production and installation, we wanted to keep it in the township as much as possible.”
The sign was made possible by a donation from a local family in commemoration of family members interred in the cemetery.