The community lost a shining light in the world of theater in January when Mike Mickelson, voice-over extraordinaire, storyteller, actor and all around funnyman died. In honor of his life and commitment to his theater family, his wife, Angie, requested that donations be made to A Center for the Arts (AC4TA) in lieu of flowers. Those donations were the start of the Mike Mickelson Memorial Fund for youth actors.
The Mickelson family moved to Fergus Falls in 2017 and one of the first things Mike did was approach AC4TA to find out how to get involved.
“He loved being a part of the AC4TA family,” shared Angie. “I am honored that Michael (Burgraff) is using those donations for a children’s scholarship. I know Mike is singing a happy tune just knowing he’s still part of the troupe.”
The Mickelsons have two daughters who both enjoyed participating in “Shrek the Musical” and who took part in online classes last summer. Recently, Mike was involved in the virtual theater and radio readers productions that have taken place during the pandemic. He was an angel in “It’s a Wonderful Life” and read Edgar Alan Poe for Halloween. During the holiday season he shared family stories and read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.”
Michael Burgraff, executive director of AC4TA, shared that video equipment donated by Mike has been, is, and will be used in conjunction with the video equipment they purchased for their virtual theater events.
“Mike will be around with us for quite some time,” Burgraff said with a smile.
The Mike Mickelson Memorial Fund will be used to assist youth actors with AC4TA-related expenses.
“We wanted to do something. He had moved to town and become such a part of the center. It only made sense that with some of the donations that came in, and considering his love for his daughters and other youth, that we start a youth actor scholarship fund in his name,” Burgraff said. Summer theater fees and show admission are two things that area youth can request scholarships for.
“This fund is going to generate a lot of possibilities for youth who might not have been able to participate or who do participate and need a little extra. We want to make sure everyone can be involved.”
To donate to the Mike Mickelson Memorial Fund, checks can be mailed to AC4TA at 124 W. Lincoln Ave.,, Fergus Falls, MN 56537 or donations can be made online at fergusarts.org. Include a note stating “MM Scholarship” to ensure funds are appropriately allocated.