Arts and Humanities Festival (ahfest)

2017 Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival (ahfest) Celebrates ‘Water’ Throughout October

The Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities 2017 Festival (ahfest) will celebrate the theme of “Water” throughout October with over 15 different area arts and humanities groups to examine more closely what arts and humanities mean to the wider Muskegon Count community.

Events during the month range from art exhibits to theater productions to educational opportunities specifically for kids. All the events, members, and information on the festival can be found at the festival website at

The festival began in 2001 under the leadership of Richard Charles Ford, an ardent advocate for recognition of the benefits of having an active arts and humanities community in Muskegon County. Since 2001, the festival has explored a theme each year chosen by committee. The choice of theme is intended to spark creativity in the wider community and inspire us to ask questions and discuss what our lives look like in terms of that particular theme.

This year’s festival offerings cast a wide net through many disciplines in the arts and humanities:

The ahfest Film Series at the Muskegon Museum of Art

  • Manchester by the Sea (Rated R) – October 4 at 5:00 p.m.
  • The End of the Line (Unrated) – October 11 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Moonlight (Rated R) – October 18 at 5:00 p.m.
  • The Fight for Water: A Farm Worker Struggle (Unrated) – October 25 at 5:00 p.m.

Frauenthal Center

  • The International Buster Keaton Society celebrates the 100th anniversary of Buster’s debut in motion pictures with The Buster Keaton Film Festival at The Frauenthal Theater on October 7 at 8:00 p.m.
  • Don’t miss the classic silent film “Phantom of the Opera” accompanied by the mighty Barton Organ on October 21 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Lakeshore Museum Center
  • October Tours of Historic Sites are free for Muskegon residents.
  • Family Friday Fun Night: Smashing Pumpkins on October 20 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.


  • Exhibition: Harmony in Nature: Earth, Sky and Water by artists Mary Reusch and Margaret Kriegbaum at the Frauenthal Center Reception Gallery throughout the month.
  • K-12 Teacher Art Exhibition – Teachers from around Muskegon County have created artwork around the ahfest 2017 theme of Water. A Reception will be held on October 12 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Muskegon City of the Dead 2017

  • Reenactments of Muskegon historic figures buried at Muskegon’s Evergreen Cemetery – October 14 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Muskegon Civic Theater

  • My Way: a Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra – September 15-30 at the Beardley Theater.
  • Annie Jr. October 14 at 7:30 p.m and October 15 at 3:00 p.m. – part of The Penguin Project.

Muskegon Community College

  • The MCC Lecture Series: Emerging Issues on Water Globally – Oct 2 at 7:00 p.m. in Stevenson Center Room 1100
  • Art Exhibit: Water: Paintings by Sheryl Budnik and Mary Sundstrom at Overbrook Art Gallery. A reception and talk will take place on October 12 at 4:00 p.m.
  • The MCC Wind and Jazz Ensemble will perform on October 18 at 7:30 at the Frauenthal.
  • Metamorphoses – a play based on the Myths of Ovid – October 18-21 at 7:30 p.m. and October 22 at 3:00 p.m. in the Overbrook Theater.
  • The MCC Choir Concert takes place on October 22 at 3:00 p.m. at the Frauenthal.
  • The MCC Lecture Series: “Names Writ in Water: Mythology, Symbolism, and the Natural World” – October 26 at 7:00 p.m. in Stevenson Center Room 1100

Muskegon Lights

  • Autumn Lighthouse Tours – Climb the 48 foot tall Muskegon South Pierhead Light and experience the unique feeling of traveling back in time. Every Saturday 3:30 – 6:00 p.m. in October plus on Trick or Treating on Halloween from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Muskegon Museum of Art

  • The 89th Annual Regional Exhibition returns to showcase some of the best contemporary art being created by Michigan artists. Meet the artists October 12 at 5:30 p.m.
  • Points of Resonance: The Museum Project Gift blends recently acquired contemporary photography with similarly themed works from the Muskegon Museum of Art’s permanent collection – throughout the month.
  • Water Super Saturday – Fun for the whole family, October 14, 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Glass Blowing History and Process Overview on October 18 at 10:30 a.m.
  • SHIFT: by glass artist Daniel Clayman – opening reception on October 19 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Appraisal Fair on October 28 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Muskegon Writers’ Series

  • Author & Playwright Eve Ensler, known for her play The Vagina Monologues, will speak at the The Frauenthal Theater on November 1 at 7:00 p.m.

West Michigan Symphony

  • The concert season opens with the Piano Concerto in G by Ravel and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue with pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan – Sepember 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Frauenthal.
  • The Symphony presents pianist Aldo Lopez-Gavilan and his brother, violinist Ilmar Gavilan on September 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Block.
  • Neil Jacobs, American Gypsy on Saturday, October 21 at 7:30 pm at the Block.

For more information, please contact: Sheila Wahamaki, Festival Chair, at or (231) 777-0323.

Previous AH FEST Annual Festival Themes:

2016 Mystery
2015 Myth and Reality
2014 About Time
2013 Faith and Reason
2012 The Future
2011 Home
2010 Self
2009 You & Me
2008 Tradition & Change
2007 Need & Want
2006 Art & Entertainment
2005 Technology & Humanity
2004 Freedom & Privacy
2003 Work & Play
2002 Good & Evil
2001 Friendship & Community