Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Art · A World of W.A.R.D.
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A World of W.A.R.D.

Kristi Kates - July 6th, 2006
If you’ve ever been in downtown Harbor Springs, you’ve probably seen the old train depot located on Bay Street, and you may have wondered about this interesting historical building.  Well, your interest is about to double, because, in addition to being on the National Register of Historic Places (with a plaque to that effect set to be installed this summer), the building also houses the impressive W.A.R.D. Art Gallery, as owned by Diane and Craig Bell.
The gallery is both named after their youngest son, Ward, and is also an acronym for “Worldwide Art Resources and Design.”  The Bells’ other two businesses, the C.R.A.I.G. Gallery in Birmingham, Michigan, and their new Ciao Bella! Garden and Home Shop in Petoskey, are named after their other son and their daughter.
The current location of the W.A.R.D. Gallery was built in 1875 by Sidney J. Osgood, and the building that houses the gallery used to be a working depot, namely the Grand Rapids and Indiana Trunk Railroad Harbor Springs Depot. 

GOOD OLD DAYS
The railroad served the resort communities of Little Traverse Bay, especially Harbor Springs, which hosts one of the deepest harbors in the Great Lakes.  In the good old days, lake steamers would ply the waters up and down the lakeshore: Harbor Springs, Wequetonsing, Harbor Point, Roaring Brook, Bay View and Petoskey, and the train would bring people Up North to the area for the summer season.  In its peak season back in the 1920s, the railroad averaged 500,000 tickets a summer - so, of course, a top-notch depot was needed to service all of this traffic.
After its use as a train depot was over, the building was utilized in various ways, including a women’s dress shop, an ice cream store and other seasonal uses. 
A quick look around at the interesting stick architecture showcases this authentic structure, which was kept mostly intact due to its historical significance to the Little Traverse Community.  
So when Diane and Craig Bell were ready to move their art gallery from its Harbor Springs Main Street location, next to American Spoon Foods, they thought the old train station would make a great, unique location for their business. They purchased the building in late 1999, restored it in 2000 with the help of Carmen Ludy, and transformed it into the art gallery it is today. 
“Diane and Carmen have a common interest in restoring old buildings,” Craig Bell explains, “so the Depot was ideal.”

FIRST PRIORITY
But for year-round use, there was a lot of work that needed to be done, starting with the heat - the only heat for the uninsulated building was a pot belly stove, so insulation was obviously the first priority.  This was no easy feat if the building was to be kept at historical status - each individual piece of bead board had to be removed, numbered and lettered (so as to be returned to its exact correct spot later) and cleaned of grimy pot belly stove smoke residue. 
The building also kept its original glass windows and cargo doors, and the paint colors were done to match what was found in historical records.  The Bells and Ludy kept the ticket and telegraph room intact, restored all of the floors in the lower rooms to their natural Butternut color, restored the baggage room floor to its original railroad red shade, and converted the baggage room itself to a third gallery with plain walls for displaying paintings, which could include some of Bell’s own works.

ARTISTIC PASSION
Diane Bell, a painter, majored in studio painting and interior design at Hillsdale College, and has taught painting to both college students and to disadvantaged youth.  An accomplished interior designer, she’s included original art in each of her major projects in the Little Traverse Bay area.
Both Diane and her husband Craig have always, as they put it, “had a passion for discovering good art.” Their first gallery was established 20 years ago, initially concentrating on Native American and Inuit antiquities, folk art, and museum-quality crafts. 
“Our passion has grown over the years,” Craig Bell says, “and, as the art market is historically cyclical, this commitment has allowed us to weather its volatile cycles.” 
Each season, the Bells bring new art to Harbor Springs, both from established and emerging artists. They are currently showcasing works of art from Chicago, Boston, New Mexico, and France as well as Michigan. The duo discover new artists by word of mouth, by inquiries through their website, or in their travels, where they always make a point to visit the local galleries. 

WHAT’S NEW
New for 2006, they will be featuring a young still life painter from Tulsa, Oklahoma;  a figurative painter from New Zealand; a geometric abstract painter from New York; and a pen and ink artist from Williamston, Michigan, among others. 
While the artworks may be commer-cially appealing, the Bells characterize their choices of art and artists as being in more “serious” styles, ranging from abstract, expressionism and contemporary realism works to photography and sculpture.  It’s a diverse collection that the Bells deliberately try to keep at a reasonable price range, so that pieces can be acquired by even the most beginning art collectors.  There are also Giclees (high quality digital print reproductions, produced one at a time, vs. long-run lithographs) available for some of the artists, which are an even more approachable way to purchase art.
The Bells and the W.A.R.D. Gallery will also be showcasing several of their artists this summer through a half-dozen or so two-person art shows, several of which will include the artist present and which may also include live music - visitors will see that the train depot and its attractive lawn space are perfect for these events, which should prove to be crowd-pleasers this summer.

W.A.R.D. Gallery is located at 111 West Bay Street in downtown Harbor Springs, telephone 231-526-4366.  Their hours are Mon.-Sat. 10 am to 6 pm, Sundays 11 am to 4 pm.  Visit them online at
 
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