Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Art · Murphy‘s Law
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Murphy‘s Law

Rick Coates - July 26th, 2007
As artist Charles Murphy puts the final brush strokes on his latest work, “Dockside July,” he sits back and reflects on his 30 years of life and work in the Traverse City area.
Murphy is an artist of international acclaim and his work will be celebrated in a 30th anniversary exhibition titled “Full Circle” at the Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids. A collection of Murphy’s works will be exhibited starting July 27 with an artist reception from 6 to 8 p.m. and the show continuing through August 19.
“We are calling it ‘Full Circle’ because when I came here I started in Elk Rapids,” said Murphy. “I opened a gallery here 30 years ago and I was the only gallery in town at the time. Now the community has five galleries.”
Murphy grew up in southern Minnesota and starting drawing with a ballpoint pen at an early age, “as long as I can remember.” His first inspiration was his grandfather who was fluent with the pencil and would entertain at social gatherings by drawing caricatures.
Murphy’s parents encouraged his artistic talents throughout his childhood and in 1974 he graduated from Minnesota State University with a BFA in studio art. After graduation he moved east to Cape Cod to start a life as an artist.
“As a child I grew up around and spent a lot of time in ‘dockside communities’ so I have always felt a strong pull and inspiration to communities with lakes. There is this 45th Parallel thing as well some sort of magnetic force that keeps those of us raised near it wanting to live along it,” said Murphy. “Growing up Minnesota, there was this pride thing of being the land of 10,000 lakes, we even have it on our license plates. Then I come to Michigan and find out there are 11,000 lakes.”
While living in Cape Cod, Murphy read about some art fairs in Michigan and decided to seek a couple out. One of those was at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City.
“We didn’t have a rural art scene in Minnesota. The metro areas had a small scene and there were just a couple of true art fairs in the state. Then I get this brochure and see Michigan has 300 art fairs and said to myself, ‘I have to check this out.’ I felt an immediate connection when I arrived,” said Murphy. “There were so many working artists in the area, and I knew it was important to be in a support network. The artists here immediately welcomed me in. It is something that this area has been very good at. It is why Northern Michigan is becoming a destination for cultural tourists.”
Murphy opened his gallery in Elk Rapids in 1977. He also displayed his early works in Traverse City at a gallery on Union Street where he sold his first piece locally.
“I remember getting a call from the gallery and they were so excited because Barbara Dennos had just been in and bought one of my pieces,” said Murphy. “My response was ‘who?’ as I didn’t know the Dennos family.”
Murphy is now quite familiar with the Dennos family, as is the area arts community. Barbara Dennos and her husband have been major contributors to the Northern Michigan arts and cultural community, including the Michael and Barbara Dennos Museum  
“Sure I remember. I was immediately attracted to his work,” says Barb Dennos. “In fact I ended up buying the complete collection. It was four paintings in all. It was the Robe Series. I own seven paintings in all from Charles Murphy and I wished I owned more, but I don’t have the wall space. His work is too good to put in a closet -- it belongs where it can be seen daily. Charles is also genuine person who is committed to helping the arts region in the area.” 
While his works adorn the homes and offices of art aficionados around Northern Michigan, Murphy has also established an international following. He has sold pieces in at least a half dozen countries and all 50 states, thanks to a Chicago based art dealer who marketed Murphy’s works to corporate and institutional clients worldwide. Companies ranging from Kraft, General Motors, Mead Corporation and John Hancock have scooped up Murphy originals over the years. His works have also been popular with private collectors.
“Charles is a people’s artist,” said Bob Streit, owner of Twisted Fish Gallery. “When we opened this gallery four years ago he was one of 12 artists in the region we wanted. I believe he is the one artist in the area that understands the big picture. He makes himself accessible to the public, people like having that connection to the artist. They want to know something about the person whose work is hanging in their home. He also understands the business of art better than most and that keeps his pieces increasing in value. As for his work, the fact that he is willing to take chances and expand his scope keeps people interested. He has the unique ability to go in several directions at the same time.”
So, does Murphy ever get “painters block”?
“Rarely,” chuckles Murphy. “I have ongoing series, so if I do get stuck, I turn to another project and often that helps give inspiration to what I had been currently working on.”
Murphy primarily works in watercolors, but started with oils years ago and recently he has been increasing the number of oil paintings. His most recent work, “Dockside July,” (see photo) will be on exhibit at Twisted Fish and is part of his ongoing “Dockside Series.”
“I have always been attracted to the sounds, smells and views of lakeside communities,” said Murphy. “Dockside July is a fictional lakeside community, a collection of several communities I have visited over the years. I am drawn to this region because of the water; even my studio is on water.”
The other attraction to the area is the number of artists. That number keeps growing and Murphy thinks it’s great.
“It is so important to have that support network to discuss issues with your colleagues,” said Murphy. “We are small business owners with the same challenges other entrepreneurs are faced with, so having other artists to share ideas with is important.”
Murphy sees another important aspect to the growing art community: economic benefits.
“If you look at communities around this country that have struggled, their economic renaissance started when artists, galleries and coffee shops took over vacated warehouse districts and made their communities desirable again to investors,” said Murphy. “Then artists and galleries had to move on because they couldn’t afford the rent. Cultural tourism is another important aspect and something tourism leaders have been slow to respond to. There is a real opportunity to attract visitors to this region with all that we have to offer culturally. We know they are coming from miles away already because myself and gallery owners asked and so many visitors are from out of state. Last year I was at Twisted Fish painting and every visitor to the gallery was from out of state.”
Bob Streit says those insights by Murphy coupled with his ongoing support of the local artists puts him in a league of his own.
“Charles is right on when he talks about the economic importance of an established arts community. He is correct that the business community needs to do a better job recognizing that,” said Streit. “He also is such an inspiration to others. Despite his stature in the art world he is very supportive of other artists. He attends their openings and is so good natured and his commitment to the area has attracted other artists of world acclaim.”
Streit points out that while many artists always seem to be “too busy,” Murphy isn’t. “He is always willing to give of his time to galleries and fellow artists. He is either painting, at a gallery or giving a workshop.”
“I do work every day,” said Murphy. “I enjoy giving workshops or being the guest artist at art centers. When I am not doing that, I am a student myself, reading and studying the latest.”
As with all small businesses, Murphy is approached often for donations of his art.
“I limit my donations to a few areas that include education, the arts and medicine,” he said. “I also limit the number of pieces donated each year primarily because to many pieces in the marketplace at auction would deflate the value and hurt the charities ability to capture.”
Catch up with Charles Murphy and offer him congratulations on his 30th anniversary at the Twisted Fish Gallery (10443 S. Bayshore Drive in Elk Rapids) for a reception July 27 from 6 to 8 p.m. There will be an anniversary luncheon on August 11 at which Murphy will speak about his work. For info, call the Twisted Fish Gallery at 231-264-0123.
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