Past Exhibits

Past Exhibits

Tossed & Found

Come explore the creative and eco-friendly world of Tossed and Found! This exhibition features stunning and unique three-dimensional artworks crafted by talented artists using only recycled, scrap, and reclaimed materials. Be amazed by the beauty and sustainability of this remarkable showcase of art!

Dominic Pangborn Uncrated: A Final Retrospective

The Ella Sharp museum is proud to feature Michigan’s own prolific and evolutionary artist Dominic Pangborn, who will host his final exhibit in the US this fall. Come view Dominic’s enigmatic and colorful pieces this fall. Evolutionary and prolific artist Dominic Pangborn is renowned nationally for his colorful and enigmatic work. Dominic is proud to call Jackson his hometown and a place that built him into the person he is today. We are honored to host Dominic’s last show in the United States before he relocates overseas.

Gear Up: The Science of Bikes

From schoolyards and mountain trails to bustling city streets, we encounter bicycles nearly every day. Since its inception in the late 19th century, the bicycle has affected how people live, work, and play. Its popularity has only grown over time, and it is as relevant today as it was 100 ago. Visitors of GEAR UP will learn how bikes work, the science and technology behind the machine as well as the history and evolution of the bike and how bikes have impacted our culture.

Pop-Up Exhibit: Pieces & Patches

Quilting is more than a process of stitching together layers or fabric, wool or cotton. It is an ancient art practiced in many different cultures throughout the world! In America, quilting gained popularity starting in the mid-1700’s and has become an important part of our history and heritage. Pieces and patches quilt guild was established in 1990 when 20 fabric artists and quilters decided to create a group that would meet to share in the desire of promoting quilting and improve our quilting abilities. The guild now boasts over 130 members.

JCAA 75th Biennial Juried Art Exhibition

The Jackson Civic Art Association will hold the 75th Biennial Juried Art Exhibition of JCAA Members’ Art at the Ella Sharp Museum. The exhibition opens June 14th and runs through August 27th.

Jackson & The Roaring 20s

The 1920s was a decade driven by prosperity, shifting social norm, and new technology. This exhibit explores some of the major individuals and events which made Jackson, Michigan roar during the 1920s. The exhibit was developed by Ella Sharp Museum as a supplement to the traveling exhibit Spirited: Prohibition in America. 

Exploration Stations

Inspired by our local community, Exploration Stations is filled with fun science-based activities connected to space, construction, the home, nature and transportation for growing explorers. Pieces of local history are also featured throughout each station for an experience all ages can enjoy.

Olivet College Student Art Alliance Exhibition

The Ella Sharp Museum is proud to feature this year’s Art Alliance Student Exhibition. Art Alliance is a unique feature of the Visual Arts Program at Olivet College in that the student members make an impact on the greater campus community as well as the Olivet community through their outreach, exhibitions, and special programs that foster the visual arts.

Encounters and Light: Paintings by Sam Knecht

The Ella Sharp Museum is proud to host a new solo exhibition of landscapes and portraits by Michigan artist Sam Knecht. Knecht is Emeritus Professor of Art, Hillsdale College, teaching 1973-2020. Additionally, he is a Signature Member of the Portrait Society of America and the Michigan Watercolor Society. His landscapes are plein air and studio creations, all in a naturalistic style. Portrait selections are non-commissioned depicting unique individuals who inspired creative interpretation.

Dinosaur Safari

Dinosaur Safari, an immersive exhibit for children and families, opens on January 14, 2023 at the Ella Sharp Museum. The nearly 2,500-square-foot exhibit features seven animatronic dinosaurs as well as hands-on stations that help children imagine themselves as paleontologists.

Fossils of Michigan and Ancient Creatures

This exhibit consists of Creatures that once lived in the ancient tropical seas that dominated the area 350 million years ago. Creatures such as trilobites, corals, crinoids, gastropods, cephalopods, bryozoans, brachiopods and even primitive placoderm fish. This exhibit showcases commonly found Devonian through Pennsylvanian fossils of the Michigan Basin which includes Northern Indiana, Southern Ontario, Northern Ohio, Eastern Illinois and Wisconsin.

Precious Moments in Time
A pop-up exhibit featuring the art of Jerome Washington

Known to many as Mr. Washington the sketch artist, Jerome Washington has dedicated decades of his life to the community of Albion, Michigan through the vehicle of art. Drawing is not just a hobby for Mr. Washington it is his life’s passion!

MOSA Horizon Exhibition

The Ella Sharp Museum is thrilled to be the premier location for this amazing new traveling exhibition from the Museum of Special Art (MOSA). The Horizon Exhibition features an eclectic collection of realistic, modern and abstract works from 18 different artists from across the U.S., Spain, and Canada. This exhibition is one that will truly leave you inspired as our community celebrates the artistic gifts and talents of artists with differing abilities. The Ella Sharp Museum is dedicated to embracing and sharing artwork from all individuals. This exhibition is an example of inclusivity of work from a variety of artists of all ages with various experiences and abilities.

How People Make Things Inspired by the Mister Rogers’ Factory Tours

Discover how familiar childhood objects are made along with how people, ideas, and technology transform raw materials into finished products. How People Make Things places visitors on the “factory floor” to create objects with real tools while learning about the manufacturing process. Locally presented by Alro Steel and supported by the Charles Aymond Fund, the exhibit is hands-on amazing! 

Small Wonders: Insects in Focus

In the air, water, and even under foot, insects inhabit every domain of our daily lives, performing essential functions that balance our fragile ecosystem on earth. By using cutting-edge technology and custom methods, artist Bob Sober created Small Wonders: Insects in Focus, an exhibition of breathtaking beauty that allows viewers to see this hidden world like they’ve never seen it before. Small Wonders aims to inspire, in an artistic way, our natural curiosity to understand the form, function, and diversity of nature

Art a’ Loan 2021

The Ella Sharp Museum’s annual Art à Loan program celebrates and shares the talents of K-12 student artists throughout Jackson County. At the end of each school year, dedicated area art teachers select student artwork to be professionally framed, exhibited at the Ella Sharp Museum, then rented and displayed in local businesses. In 2021, to further showcase student talent within Jackson County, we’ve partnered with the Jackson District Library’s “Young Poets” Program. Winners from Art à Loan were thematically paired with winners from Young Poets and will be featured in a special exhibition at the Ella Sharp Museum, October 6–31, 2021, then will be on view throughout the community until fall 2022.

Bringing the Village to Life: The YPOP Story

What started as a way to introduce art to youth has become a community outreach movement.

Bringing the Village to Life shares the story of Jackson’s Diane Washington and the YPOP (Young People of Purpose) organization.

Save our Youth Presents: Cultural Women’s Exhibit

Save Our Youth is so honored and excited to share a beautiful tribute and  memorial of cultural Women in history.

Free Admission

For All the World To See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Right

For All the World To See examines the role that visual culture played in shaping and transforming the struggle for racial equality in America from the late 1940s to the mid-1970s. Through a compelling assortment of photographs, television clips, art posters, and other historic artifacts, For All the World to See traces how images and media disseminated to the American public transformed the modern civil rights movement and jolted Americans, both black and white, out of a state of denial or complacency.

Celebrating Black History from the Collection of Thomas Burke

Objects from the collection of Thomas Burke and Jackson Save Our Youth highlight important themes and events in the ongoing U.S. Civil Rights movement. The collections remembers the ancestral roots and the successes of the modern Civil Rights movement, the impacts they have made, and love for the African American culture.

Jackson District Library presents Art & Voice of MLK 2022

Featured pieces include submissions from the community that honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr and were inspired by his sermons or speeches.

Holiday Celebrations

Holidays are celebrated around the world during November and December with special rituals and festivities. This free exhibition will include displays and hands-on activities about Hanukkah, Los Posadas, Christmas, Kwanza, and New Year’s Eve.

JCAA Biennial Show

The 2021 Jackson Civic Art Association Biennial Exhibit features JCAA member artwork that represents a variety of skill level, technique, and artistic medium. The Biennial Art Exhibit was organized by Ella Sharp Museum in partnership with the Jackson Civic Art Association.

Barns: Preserving Agricultural Heritage

Through artwork, historical preservation, and multi-generational farmers, Barns is an exhibition that highlights the unique beauty and history of our lands agricultural icons.

Frida Kahlo’s Garden

Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) is considered one of the most significant artists of the twentieth century. Her body of work, consisting of some 250 paintings and drawings, is at once intensely personal and universal in scope, and relies heavily on the natural world.

The exhibition “Frida Kahlo’s Garden”, presented by Ella Sharp Museum in partnership with Jackson School of the Arts, transports visitors to Kahlo’s garden to experience her world of inspiration as she did.

Spirited: Prohibition in America

During the era of Prohibition, Americans no longer could manufacture, sell, or transport intoxicating beverages from 1920 until 1933. Spirited: Prohibition in America, a new exhibition opening November 10, 2020 . This exhibit explores this tumultuous time in American history, when flappers and suffragists, bootleggers and temperance lobbyists, and legends, such as Al Capone and Carry Nation, took sides in this battle against the bottle.


I Matter confronts negative stereotypes and statistics and their impact on young African-American males. Creator of Linked Films & Photos, James Garner Jr. was inspired by his son Kobe, a 7 year old boy who has already experience racial slurs and discrimination. Being part of the conversation for equality in 2020, Garner wants to inspire his son, as well as other African-American males to stand against institutional racism.

ADAPT: COVID-19 Experiences

Through artwork, objects, video, and written material, Adapt reflects on perspectives of the Jackson community as it navigates the Covid-19 era. Artists were encouraged to respond to the theme, use found materials, and create during the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order, March 24 – May 31, 2020.

50 Years: Jackson & Space

This exhibit details the history of the Hurst Planetarium, the life of its primary benefactor, and Jackson’s unique contributions to space exploration. The Exhibition includes a flight suit from Jackson’s very own astronaut, Al Worden, artifacts from private collectors and more!

My Sky

My Sky is an exhibit about the universe. But it is also about each of us, and how the sky above impacts our lives here on Earth. The sky is, after all, universal. My Sky invites children and adults to explore the Sun, the Moon and the stars together in an immersive, inviting environment. Families are encouraged to “look up” not only when they visit the exhibit, but also in their everyday lives. And My Sky gives families the chance to practice science skills like observing, communicating, noticing patterns, predicting, imagining and more — science skills that are fundamental to astronomy, and skills that scientists and engineers use every day.

Things Come Apart

Within every object, tool or device that we use there are dozens of components which work together to represent the creativity, passion and highest levels of achievement of their time. When it comes to the objects we use every day, the sum really is greater than the parts. “Things Come Apart” features captivating photographs of deconstructed devices, fascinating videos and encased disassembled objects that display the effects imagination has on technology and the evolution of design. “Things Come Apart” is an exhibition organized by Todd McLellan and the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES).

Living Wilderness

For 28 years, Walter and Myrna Berlet provided beautiful wildlife films to classrooms, television stations, and private presentations worldwide, connecting children and adults to The Living Wilderness. Experience their story in an exhibit featuring original objects, photographs, documents and film.

Third Coast Conversations

Each of us has a story to share about water. Whether it’s fishing in your hometown, learning to swim in one of the Great Lakes, or something much more personal, sacred, or functional, we have collected stories to form an exhibit about our community’s relationship with water. Ella Sharp Museum is one of 18 organizations in the state to receive a “Third Coast Conversations” grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, helping to foster conversation about how the people of Michigan connect with water.

Homage Level 1

Side Quests: Paintings by Timothy Gaewsky

Timothy Gaewsky was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where he currently lives and works. He earned an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BFA from The Cleveland Institute of Art. He has exhibited in many U.S. cities, including New York, Seattle, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Miami, Minneapolis, Cleveland, as well as exhibited internationally in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. His upcoming solo exhibition at the Ella Sharp Museum (Jackson, MI) opens in March 2019. His work has appeared in art and literary publications such as DIALOGIST (Vol. IV, Issue I, 2017) and Eclipse Literary Magazine (2015). He was also awarded an Individual Excellence Award grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 2015.

Petticoat Patriots

Exhibition panels loaned from Michigan Women Forward #HERStory (formerly the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame), supplemented with items from the Ella Sharp Museum’s collection. The Center created Petticoat Patriots: How Michigan Women Won the Right to Vote in 2010 to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. The exhibit explores the history of women’s suffrage in Michigan and features the stories of more than 20 Michigan women who became leading suffragists.

Image as Idea

The exhibition features a diverse body of work representing the artist’s career-long interest in color and composition. Prokos approaches these themes through experimentation with subject matter and technique. Konstantin Prokos was born in 1937 in Escanaba, MI. After attending Midwestern Broadcasting School in Chicago, he worked his way through college in various jobs including broadcasting and social work for the State of Michigan. He attended the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, and Central Michigan University, where he received his MA in English. He taught at the University of Kentucky-Hazard Community College for three years, then moved on to C.S. Mott Community College in Flint, retiring in 1995. He has maintained a painting studio in Jackson since 1996. Prokos has shown his work throughout the state and region, including Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Evanston, Illinois.