Michigan art studio added to Register of Historic Places

Studio nominated by Debra Ball Johnson, a historical architect with State Historic Preservation Office

Interior of the Gwen Frostic Studio.
Interior of the Gwen Frostic Studio. (Facebook)

BENZONIA, Mich. – A northern Michigan art studio that is a popular tourist destination has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The studio belonged to Gwen Frostic, who made stationery and prints from linoleum block carvings. The business began in Wyandotte in suburban Detroit in the 1950s before Frostic opened a shop in Frankfort and the Presscraft Papers studio in Benzonia in Benzie County.

Frostic died in 2001. The studio now is owned by Kim and Greg Forshee, the Traverse City Record-Eagle reported.

The studio was nominated by Debra Ball Johnson, a historical architect with the State Historic Preservation Office. She recommended the studio for the National Register partly because few northern Michigan sites are associated with women.

Kim Forshee said about 2,200 linoleum blocks still are used for printing and the original Heidelberg presses are still in place.

“I was brokenhearted when it closed down, as were many, many people,” she said. “It is a special place and we consider ourselves the caretakers.”

Western Michigan University’s art school is named for Frostic, who donated millions to the university. She attended WMU but didn’t graduate.

Read more: Michigan headlines

Inside of the Gwen Frostic Studio (Facebook)