Meet the Board of Ontonagon Artist Collective




Hi, I'm Natisha, my friends call me Tish. I live in Ontonagon, Michigan, with my husband, daughter, dog, cat, and fish. I'm a former roller derby girl and love working on all sorts of crafts including knitting, crochet, tatting, handmade lace, resin work, wire work, beadwork, weaving, and more. I have been a crafter since childhood and learned many arts from family members. I love the outdoors and finding new ways to incorporate nature into my crafts. I am a big fan of community theater and music. You might recognize me as the Ontonagon Polar Bear in the play Alice in Yooperland!

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Vice President
People always ask me if I am a local and my response is always an emphatic Yes!

My mom's family settled here from Ireland more than 125 years ago and we, as a family, has had property up here ever since, and my dad was from Bergland. so ya I consider myself a Yooper at heart!

After many years in the hospitality industry, I pivoted and started a wedding floral and event design business called The Gilded Thistle which keeps me busy downstate in Grand Rapids.  While not a true artist in the typical sense of painting, I consider floral design an art form, but I do have an artist's soul and long to pick up a paintbrush at some point. 

My goal with belonging to the Ontonagon Artist Collective is twofold. I would love to see Ontonagon as a thriving, vibrant community again as it was in my youth and to bring people together through community events and activities.

I realize that typical industrial industry is not likely in our village but I believe we could become known as a community that has an abundance of natural beauty & friendliness, and a fabulous arts scene.Two of my mottos are "Many hands make light work" and "It takes a village" I am committed to doing whatever I can to see that the true beauty of this community shines brightly.
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Cherri was born and raised in the far north suburbs in Illinois. She vacationed with her family and an extended group of friends on the Wisconsin/Michigan UP boarder since 1999. In Spring of 2019, with her two adult daughters living happily in Chicago, she and her  husband relocated to Ontonagon.

Cherri channels her creative interests as a current member of the North Country Quilters. Cherri’s volunteer addiction includes Secretary of American Legion Riders, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Team Captain for American Cancer Society Relay for Life and, most importantly, Girl Scout member for over 20 years as a girl, leader and regional council liaison.




I grew up in Ontonagon, a copper miner’s daughter. Ontonagon was a vibrant community then.  Later, I moved to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, landing in the outdoor sports industry for nearly 40 years.

Unwittingly, I became a community organizer because someone asked me to help. First, I founded the non-profit known as Eagle Community Gardens. Next, I was recruited to start the Eagle Farmers Market. By partnering with the Town, we received free water, land to farm and a barn for our gardening tools. We received grant money and permission to operate in the town park. In no time I had a feeling of belonging!

Upon returning to the”Yoop” in 2019, I felt like a newcomer in my own hometown.  I longed to belong to my community.

What excites me about being part of the Ontonagon Artist Collective is that what we’re doing makes our community stronger. It brings artists and residents together. What started as a shared ideal to help our town has fostered a sustainable way to belong while enriching our community through the arts. We can accomplish far more through cooperation and collaboration than we can by ourselves. 

If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.  

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At Large

Chef Arlene Coco, A professional culinary instructor, was Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her frequent international travels to over 19 countries are her greatest source of gastronomic inspiration and where she learned the basics of the international cuisines, she teaches today in her cooking classes.

With a background of over three decades as a professional chef and caterer, Arlene is always researching something new and exciting every day.

Being an accomplished cookbook author, her book “Cajun Cooking, making it easy” (wordwarepress 1997) was voted one of the top 72 Cajun cooking books of all time by Book Authority. She promotes her message of creative  cooking through television appearances, food writing, recipe development and cooking classes.

Arlene is the past president of the Minneapolis St. Paul chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, Past Board member of the Arrowhead Professional Chefs Association, and a member of Women Who Really Cook. When she is not cooking, being an Ontonagon resident, she enjoys recreating on the shore of Lake Superior kayaking, biking, and hiking.