top of page

Former Board Members

With the help of many!

We cannot make this organization work without help from some very special people. Thank you to all who serve to make our community a more lovely place.

Ontonagon Artist Collective

Founding Board Member
Arlene Coco Buscombe
2022 - 2023

Chef Arlene Coco, A professional culinary instructor, was Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her frequent international travels to over 19 countries are her greatest source of gastronomic inspiration and where she learned the basics of the international cuisines, she teaches today in her cooking classes.

With a background of over three decades as a professional chef and caterer, Arlene is always researching something new and exciting every day.

Being an accomplished cookbook author, her book “Cajun Cooking, making it easy” (wordwarepress 1997) was voted one of the top 72 Cajun cooking books of all time by Book Authority. She promotes her message of creative  cooking through television appearances, food writing, recipe development and cooking classes.

Arlene is the past president of the Minneapolis St. Paul chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier, Past Board member of the Arrowhead Professional Chefs Association, and a member of Women Who Really Cook. When she is not cooking, being an Ontonagon resident, she enjoys recreating on the shore of Lake Superior kayaking, biking, and hiking.


Founding Board Member
Gladdie Funke
2022 - 2024

I grew up in Ontonagon, a copper miner’s daughter. Ontonagon was a vibrant community then. Later, I moved to the Colorado Rocky Mountains, landing in the outdoor sports industry for nearly 40 years.

Unwittingly, I became a community organizer because someone asked me to help. First, I founded the non-profit known as Eagle Community Gardens. Next, I was recruited to start the Eagle Farmers Market. By partnering with the Town, we received free water, land to farm and a barn for our gardening tools. We received grant money and permission to operate in the town park. In no time I had a feeling of belonging!

Upon returning to the”Yoop” in 2019, I felt like a newcomer in my own hometown.  I longed to belong to my community.

What excites me about being part of the Ontonagon Artist Collective is that what we’re doing makes our community stronger. It brings artists and residents together. What started as a shared ideal to help our town has fostered a sustainable way to belong while enriching our community through the arts. We can accomplish far more through cooperation and collaboration than we can by ourselves. 

If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it. 

Board Member
Jill Whiteman
2023 - 2024

Jill is a native of the western upper peninsula and a resident of Ontonagon. She attended college in Marquette at NMU where she earned her degree in surgical technology.  Jill maintained a lengthy medical career as surgical technician while she raised her family.

Jill returned to Ontonagon to join her parents Guinevere and Richard in the succession of their family owned and operated business. Jill brings a fresh look and a keen eye to marketing and elevating her customers otherworldly experience when they walk through the doors of Gitche Gumee Landing, a gift shop filled with beautiful creations made by nature. Geology has been an interest and imbedded in her life influenced by her father.

Jill started cooking as a youngster, and advanced to watercolors, chalk and photography as she got older. She enjoys expressing her creativity in various mediums and sharing her vast culinary knowledge with her customers and friends. She earned a degree in culinary arts from NMU.

Jill has two daughters, Josie is in the NMU art design program and Morgan who works at a daycare and is a mother of two, Bearen and Layla.  Jill has two “bonus children” with her partner Ryan, Heather and Julia.

Jill’s hobbies, in her off time, include anything outdoors, rock hunting, foraging and she is an avid beach comber.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

bottom of page