Arts and Humanities Festival (ahfest)

2019 ahFest Celebrates “Hope” in October

The 2019 Muskegon Area Arts and Humanities Festival (ahFest) will celebrate the theme of “Hope” throughout October. The events are part of the National Arts and Humanities Month and include art exhibits, films, lectures, music and theater.

Ahfest LogoThe Festival brings awareness of the arts and humanities to the community through activities that honor the efforts of artists, historians, and cultural groups working to make the arts and humanities a part of everyday life.

In 2001, ahFest began 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 then, 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.

Click here for a complete list of the 2019 ahFest activities

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

Why Hope?

Hope, the theme for this year’s ahFest, is a concept which you will see explored when visiting our 14 community members, listed below. From Foley Schuler’s essay on HOPE, “It is, the poet tells us, a thing with feathers. For something that “dies last”—and “springs eternal”—it is often exceedingly hard to find. Yet, there it is, in the most surprising places. Utter darkness and despair is where it is usually born. To live, it needs to be needed. When Pandora opened the infamous forbidden box that now bears her name, she unwittingly unleashed a multitude of harmful spirits upon humankind. They scattered far and wide, searching for souls to torment, inflicting plagues, disease and illness on the world—sowing the seeds of greed, envy, hatred, mistrust, sorrow, anger, revenge, lust, and all manner of despair along the way. Yet it was waiting patiently in there as well–a healing spirit named Hope. It lies at the heart of all human aspirations. Indeed, it is the lifeblood of any revolution, of all striving for human and civil rights—and just what gets us out of bed in the morning…and through the day, not to mention the long night.”

Previous ahFest Annual Themes

2018 Truth
2017 Water
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

2019 ahFest Members

  • ACWL Nuveen
  • Art Cats Gallery
  • Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp
  • Hackley Public Library
  • Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts
  • Harbor Unitarian Universalist Congregation
  • Muskegon Area Intermediate School District
  • Muskegon Civic Theatre
  • Muskegon Community College
  • Muskegon Museum of Art
  • Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy- Muskegon Lights
  • The Playhouse at White Lake
  • Visit Muskegon
  • West Michigan Symphony