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Local Creative Highlight - Makayla Armstead, Digital Artist

Alpena, MI - March 2023

For March's local creative highlight, we are highlighting Makayla Armstead. Makayla is an outstanding digital artist and dancer local to Alpena, Michigan.

Keep reading to learn more about Makayla and what makes her so unique!


My name is Makayla Armstead and I am 19 years old. I am from Vernon, MI but moved to lovely Alpena when I was in 3rd grade and haven’t left since.

I have loved art and dance since I could remember. I have a few family members who excel in painting, but I loved to draw with paper and pencil, and I also loved making digital art. In my sophomore year of high school, I wanted to start sharing my art with others and essentially sell my artwork. I began to make digital art for many people around the area, with their choice of a photo they wanted to be drawn. I am pleased to have been able to draw the cutest of pets, lovely couples photos, and memorable family portraits. Allowing people to pick their photo, and/or wanting me to add something or someone special to the drawing makes what I do so special. I was also able to create the mural for my graduation class of 2022, which was very special.

Dance has always been an outlet for me. I have been dancing and competing at The Dance Centre in Alpena for 8 years now. I have been able to have such cool experiences as a young dancer, and I give that all to my parents, Crystal and Doug Bebout, and choreographers, Christine Giordano, Lisa LaMaree-Wilmont, and Sawyer McNamara. I have been able to dance with the Complexions Dance Academy in Detroit for a whole week and to have been taught by professionals. Just recently, I was invited to perform in Florida at Universal Studios for the Heart & Soul National Company of CRU Dance. Now as a high school graduate, my dancing is a little different than it was when I had a whole class. But I teach the best kids ever at the studio and it has made me realize just how much dance means to me. I plan to continue my dancing in the future, but I am still uncertain as to where I will be going away for school!

I would say that selling my artwork to people around the area was extremely successful and I think that it would be different if I was located somewhere other than Northeast MI. Alpena is a small town, but it is full of people who value custom-made, personal, and precious items with meaning. I love how personal everything is in this town, and I am so happy I have been able to provide that.

Both art and dance have been an outlet for me from a very young age. These two forms of art allow me to express myself when sometimes it may be too difficult to talk about such strong feelings. When I can feel that my mental state is not in the best place, I know that I can always allow myself to come to these things as an outlet.

Senior photos credit @amybrownridgephotography

The Sunset Project seeks to elevate every creative in the community regardless of subject or outlet. The ideologies and beliefs found within creative pieces are those of the artists, not necessarily The Sunset Project as an organization.

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