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 · Jerry Gates
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Jerry Gates

Rick Coates - November 8th, 2007
Artist Jerry Gates grew up in Bay City, where he drew on his passion for art by having the opportunity to take four years of art classes while in high school. As he prepares for an exhibition and an artist’s reception November 15th at Gallery Fifty that will include more than 80 works he has created over the past 20 years, he reflects on the state of art in the schools and the community.

“I was fortunate to be in school at a time when taking art classes and music classes was encouraged and valued,” said Gates. “In general, today we don’t look upon visual artists with the same esteem other countries do. I think this has somewhat to do with the dummying down of our appreciation for art.”
Gates isn’t angry and he doesn’t want to appear too cynical, yet his observations over the years have led him to believe that to a certain extent, the arts are headed in the wrong direction.
“Visual art takes concentration by the participant, unlike going to a concert or listening to pop music; no thought is really required for those things,” said Gates. “Most people today are unwilling to stand in front of a painting and spend the necessary time appreciating it and understanding what the artist has captured. This appreciation for art is not being taught like it used to be when I was growing up.”
He chuckles at the attention that pop musicians and actors on the big screen are given by society while many other great artists practically go unnoticed. However, he feels fortunate to be working as an artist in Northern Michigan, an area that he feels is one of the pockets in the country that does have an “appreciation and willingness to celebrate its artists.”

Gates began his career as an art teacher in Elk Rapids, where he lived until he returned to college to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts.
“I went to Central Michigan where I became the first person who graduated from their new MFA program,” said Gates. “After graduating, I took a position at CMU as an assistant professor of art.”
Frustrated with departmental politics, he left CMU after a couple of years and returned to Northern Michigan. He took a counseling position with the Northwest Michigan Council of Governments. Yet he still painted when he was not working.
“I never stopped my art,” said Gates. “Art chooses the person, a person doesn’t choose art.”
His work, primarily landscapes, became quite popular with collectors and gallery owners. His name is always mentioned in the same sentence with the region’s other top artists. Gates is happy to see what he calls the “silent progression” towards the region becoming a cultural destination, but he would like to see even more being done to foster this.
“Cultural tourism has proved itself elsewhere, in areas that are not as desirable as Northern Michigan,” said Gates. “People like Bob Strait at the Twisted Fish in Elk Rapids and Christie Minervini at Gallery Fifty get it - there are others as well - but the process has been slow. It is frustrating to see that the arts council here has virtually disappeared. Hopefully the business community will figure out the importance of art to economic development.”
Gates doesn’t mean businesses asking artists to display their work for free on their walls either.
“I quit doing that a long time ago. ‘People would say to me, ‘it is good exposure for you,’ - my response to them was that it’s free decoration for you,” said Gates. “I don’t paint for commercial purposes, I paint to express and create. I like selling my work, but I don’t paint a piece from the perspective of making it commercial enough to sell.”

He also does not want to be labeled.
“Sure my landscapes are identifiable, but I don’t want to be known solely as a landscape artist,” said Gates. “Recently I have been exploring neo-industrial constructions for my inspirations. I will exhibit several of those.”
“Not unlike the Romantics of the 18th Century, I have attempted to capture both the beauty and the sublime,” said Gates. “Something fleeting, but still in stasis, something inwardly understood in a universal sense. It is this collective consciousness that I try to tap, a soul-tweaking if you will.”
Gates explains that he likes “getting beneath the surface” with his works.
“Someone once said ‘art is a lie that enables us to see the truth,’ I believe that when one unearths what is beneath their own aesthetic, they become enlightened to the infinite possibilities of the creative endeavor,” said Gates. “It has been my goal to represent this philosophy by testing my curiosity in different media and subject matter. This has helped me to codify my own existence as silent observer, participant and explorer.”
Gates isn’t planning on getting completely away from his landscapes, though.
“I get out in the woods a lot and down rivers and streams where people don’t often get, to draw inspiration,” said Gates. “I try to paint places that will remain untouched by man.”

In 1995, Gates returned to teaching, taking a position as an adjunct professor of art at Northwestern Michigan College where he won the Adjunct Professor of the year award in 2003. He retired in 2005, and has devoted his time fully to his art since.
“I like to challenge myself,” said Gates. “Why shouldn’t an artist experiment? This isn’t supposed to be safe; to be an artist, you have to be willing to explore.”

One may “explore” the works of Jerry Gates during the months of November and December at Gallery Fifty, located in the Mercato level of Building 50 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. A reception with the artist will take place on November 15 from 6 to 9 p.m. For a sampling of Gates’ work online, visit www.galleryfifty.com.

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