History of Artists North

Artists North in the 1960’s

The area surrounding the Center has been home to famous artists since the mid 1800’s including two time Pulitzer Prize winner Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling, a¬†nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist,¬†who influenced a nation on conservation, pollution and extinction of wildlife. The late Norman Brumm, from Brumm Studios also made Norwood his home along with many others.

Today, Ray and Tammi Bier have moved forward on a vision they have had for many years, inspired by the original group of Michigan artisans who established the name Artists North. Artists North gets it’s namesake from this group who organized the first collaborative art group in the 1960’s. With a deep rooted history, the Center hopes to build on the established tradition through a mission that supports Michigan artists and build awareness of these world class artisans.

Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling

The Norwood area surrounding the Bier homestead has an interesting history and is the birthplace for famous artist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling. Born in 1876, he became one of the most known men of his era. A nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist, he was famous for his witty commentary on the many different subjects that concerned the nation. Ding was an avid hunter and became concerned with pollution and extinction of wildlife. As an early pioneer for wildlife conservation, he worked this theme into his cartoons and influenced a nation. He was honored with two Pulitzer Prize awards, one in 1924 the other in 1942.

Darling initiated the first Federal Duck Stamp Program, which uses the proceeds from the sale of duck hunting stamps to purchase wetlands for waterfowl habitat. In fact he drew the first Duck Stamp. Darling also designed the Blue Goose logo, the national symbol of the refuge system. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, scientist and chief editor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1932-52, wrote of the emblem, “Wherever you meet this sign, respect it. It means that the land behind the sign has been dedicated by the American people to preserving, for themselves and their children, as much of our native wildlife as can be retained along with our modern civilization.”