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FY24 Mingrant Arts Project for Veterans
FY24 Arts in Education grant in partnership with Alcona Schools
FY24 Equipment grants (pottery wheels) for Alcona Schools 
FY24 HARC POD to send board member to NCECA
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I have always envisioned starting an artist residency and participating in the development of an intentional community. When this property was given to me, it wasn’t clear how those lifelong ideas would unfold until I was invited to join the board of Inspiration Alcona — a local 501c3 arts organization dedicated to making our northeastern area of Michigan an arts destination.


My first role was helping to launch the Farm to Fork initiative in Alcona County, in 2017. That was so much fun! It fit seamlessly with my lifetime dedication to healthy, local food choices. It also fit with my experience as a private chef in Los Angeles, known for my awareness of quality ingredients, farm-to-table eating, and the imperative to support local farmers.

Around then, my part-time hobby with clay blossomed into a passion. I expanded the existing art studio to include a kiln room and began my relationship with ceramic art from a non-traditional perspective. Solitude is important for me; contemplating the liminal spaces suggested by living next to one of the world’s largest inland seas is like being submerged in deep waters of consciousness where everything is possible.

My life has evolved from a fast-paced LA vibe to a more introspective meditation on how to be of service to my community. When the world erupted in early 2020, it felt time to offer this oasis of calm to those who might not have ready access to a muse such as this. Inspiration Alcona contributed to my confidence in making the residency a reality. Together, we want to help community flourish.


Entering the art world as a septuagenarian proved challenging. Through attending workshops, residencies, and exhibiting my work in galleries and public venues, I began to build a community that continues to foster my career as an artist. Accessing these opportunities was not always easy; there was hesitation on the part of others and sometimes rejection, though most importantly these experiences were all learning opportunities. The hurdles overcome and those I still face have highlighted the importance of supporting one another, especially artists entering the art world through unconventional paths and new doorways.


Here you will find a comfortable cottage and a stunning landscape, a refuge for the exploration of creative talent. The Huron Artist Residency is an intuitive retreat shaped by my devotion to the creative flow; it is meant to be gifted as a unique opportunity for others to go inward and find the best of who they are, to be inspired in the making of their world.

Helen Hierta


For more information on Helen Hierta please visit Instagram @helenhiertaceramics

Our Board:

Helen Hierta, Chair of the Board


Sharon Messer

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Sharon’s introduction to HARC is a story of everyone knows someone in a small town. When a local quilting friend gave Sharon’s name as someone who had accounting experience to a friend who ran a local nonprofit, who would have guessed that the friend was also Sharon’s neighbor, Helen.


She joins our board with lots of experience solving problems and working with numbers. For many years she ran a small childcare business, managed cashiers at a retail nursery, as well as handled admissions & accounts receivable for a nursing home. Sharon’s work as the activities director for a senior apartment building led her to later join their finance department honing her accounting skills.

Since retiring to northeast Michigan from the hustle and bustle of Metro Detroit, she has been enjoying long walks on the beach, more time for quilting, traveling with family, and gardening - if she can figure out how to get plants to grow in sand.

Sharon is excited to join HARC in its current projects and in their vision of their future endeavors.

Erin Treacy

Erin is a fine artist and arts administrator, in recent years splitting her time between Brooklyn, New York and Michigan. As an arts administrator, she has served as the Fulbright Program Advisor and Faculty Committee Chair at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) for over a decade— helping hundreds of alumni to complete the rigorous application process for international cultural exchange projects; seventeen of whom were awarded the Fulbright grant to complete their community engaged artistic endeavors in thirteen different countries. In addition, she has taught Professional Practices courses for fine artists at MICA. 

Throughout the years Erin Treacy has also worked independently as a consultant, advisor, and grant writer for many arts organizations including Queens Council on the Arts, New York, MI+RO Dance Company, Pennsylvania, and Attenborough/Naftel Arts, Maryland. Erin has served on national juries granting financial support and space to underrepresented artists and presented on all of these topics at colleges and arts organizations. 

Currently, she serves as a Program Operations Associate for Open Society Foundations - focused on humanitarian and democracy grants within Eastern Europe and Central Asia and teaches at Rutgers University- Arts Online division. As an artist in 2023, she was awarded residencies at the Golden Foundation for the Arts and Weir Farm National Historic Park, as well as exhibited at Basin Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

Hether Bearinger

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Hether is an experienced curator and fine art consultant, from over 15 years directing fine art galleries in Santa Fe, New Mexico, later owning Canyon Fine Art in the Canyon Road arts district.  Previous to the business of fine art sale, Hether was creative director and designer for twelve years of her signature jewelry line crafted using heritage Native American techniques.  


Through her work as a curator and gallerist representing many artists to clients, and experience as a working artist herself, she has an extensive background in marketing, client development, and arts communication.   She earned her BA in Political Science and post-graduation got her start in multi-media communications while working in radio production and museum exhibit design, with a focus on spirituality.


Hether currently works as Client Development Director and is a healing practitioner.

A special thank you to these organizations for their ongoing support:
Inspiration Alcona Logo
Farm to Fork Alcona Logo
Rovin Ceramics Logo
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