Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Jordan River Arts Council
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Jordan River Arts Council

Carina Hume - October 27th, 2008
By showcasing creative art exhibits, live theater and hands-on art projects in the schools for the past 20 years, Jordan River Arts Council’s mission is simple – to bring the arts to Antrim and southern Charlevoix counties.
Housed in a brick, 1900s-built former Carnegie Library, with two galleries, original leaded windows and restored wood interior, the arts council’s Jordan River Art Center anchors the north end of East Jordan’s Main Street.
After celebrating its longevity with a late-summer, 20-year anniversary exhibit and member picnic, JRAC continues to focus on its future.

IT TAKES VOLUNTEERS
Formed in 1988, with Fran Pletz as its first president, the council quickly attained 115 members and gathered a volunteer board. Artist Pat Tinney designed JRAC’s lady slipper logo, which remains its logo to this day.
“I came in shortly after it was founded,” says Howard Ellis, a former president (three times) of JRAC and membership coordinator for the last seven years. “I was not a founding member because I had to work that night,” he says with a laugh.
Today, council memberships are close to 300 and provide a good portion of the council’s funding, as well as art education grants.
“With 292 members we do quite well membership-wise,” says Ellis. “People are very kind and generous. We really don’t go out and advertise – it’s almost by word of mouth.”
The diverse board consists of artists, lawyers and other professionals. “Everyone’s volunteer,” says Ellis. “We have really good working members. we really have to all pitch in.”

PROMOTING ART’S FUTURE
Educational grants provide funding to introduce art in area schools by offering workshops and classes and display exhibits in the galleries.
“Last spring our teachers went into all the schools with felting equipment and then all the kids got to do what is called needle-felting; and those are on display now. And we do go into the schools a lot with various projects and have school kids come to the arts center, too.”
JRAC also provides scholarship opportunities for serious art students.
“Every May we have a wonderful scholarship show,” explains Ellis. “We invite all kids in our area to participate with the criteria that they’re going to art school. At the end of the first semester they send us grades and we give money for the next semester.”
JRAC Denominations of $1,500, $1,000 and $750. 12 high schools are invited each year, and most have students who participate.
“We can’t do it without the teachers,” admits Ellis. “They’re very cooperative.”

YOU’RE INVITED!
If you’re in East Jordan in the next few weeks, be sure to grab a seat for JRAC’s current exhibit, “An Invitation to the Table.” Curated by artist, Nancy Carey, the show runs through November 14.
“You pretend you’re inviting a real person or an imaginary person to dinner and then you create a place setting that goes with that person’s background or personality,” explains Ellis. “One woman has a vast Elvis collection, so she’s inviting Elvis. People are pretty inventive, so that should be fun.”
Paintings from this summer’s 2008 Artist Gathering are also on display.
And mark your calendar for JRAC’s one-day Members’ Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair, November 8, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at East Jordan High School. Nearly 50 artist booths are committed already – with hopes for a few more. Many artists come from all over the state.
“We serve a marvelous gourmet lunch,” says Ellis, who works on the kitchen crew as well as overseeing the entire arts and crafts fair.
“It’s just before hunting season opens,” continues Ellis, “and we usually do pretty well. The community’s very supportive, even though there are many other art shows all around us.”
Closer to the holidays JRAC offers a members’ sale with a kid’s section of affordable gifts. Cooks will enjoy a copy of “Flavors and Visions,” a 250-page book for sale.
“It’s art and a cookbook,” says Ellis. “A lot of our artists were willing to let us have pictures and to give us recipes. It’s been a great money-raiser for us – $25 and well worth it.”

ON A MISSION
With six to eight varied art shows per year – from metal works to motorcycles to fiber art – and opportunities for art education, JRAC is clearly filling a need in its community. The council prides itself on making art accessible to all.
“It’s a very friendly place,” says Ellis, “very unpretentious. We do have a great variety of work…and we put a show together with some sort of theme.”
But JRAC’s small-town success definitely depends on those who give their time.
“Twenty years of volunteers being willing to give as much time and effort to keep an organization going,says something about our community and our artists that I think is very important,” concludes Ellis, “because without them, we could not do this.”

Visit Jordan River Arts Council at 301 Main Street in East Jordan. The council is open from 1-4 p.m. daily. Call 231-536-3385 or visit www.jordanriverarts.com for more information.


 
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