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 · Del Michel‘s Abstract World
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Del Michel‘s Abstract World

Rick Coates - April 28th, 2008
This weekend, Gallery Fifty will open its three-month exhibition titled “The Ways of Seeing: The Abstract Art of Jennifer Gardiner Lam, Delbert Michel and Debra Lanning.” The exhibition will kick off Saturday, May 3 with an artists’ reception from 6-9 p.m. in the Mercato (lower level) of Building 50 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
Artist Delbert Michel, who spent 39 years as a professor of art at Hope College in Holland, took time to answer a few questions and offer his reflections and observations on the world of art. Michel moved to Northern Michigan in 2003 and opened up a working studio/gallery in downtown Traverse City. While he doesn’t keep gallery hours, people do track him down in his somewhat hard-to-find studio located in the alley near Jack’s Market and The House of Doggs.
Several of his works have been purchased by collectors and have found their way into private, corporate, university and art museum collections throughout the United States.

NE: When did you take an interest in art?
Delbert Michel: At a very young age I started drawing. My first hero was the illustrator Norman Rockwell. I took an interest in fine arts when I went to college. Prior to that I had little exposure to art as I grew up in a small town in Indiana -- I had not visited any galleries or art museums. At college I was drawn in by the work of a faculty member. Before I knew it, I was studying art history and various forms such as abstraction. Originally I went off to college to pursue a career as a commercial artist because I was unaware of other art professions.

NE: What inspired you to pursue a career as an art professor?
Michel: To me, teaching art is an extension of being an artist. You have to define yourself: are you a teacher/artist or artist/teacher? I think it is important to identify yourself as the latter because you are consumed by the whole idea of art and you want to share that passion. For me, teaching was also a way to make a living. Being an artist is a tough living. Sometimes I am not even sure it is good for some to try and make a living as an artist because you end up making art for someone else, instead of what inspires you. I do take on commissions, but because my work is abstract and spontaneous, there is no way I can predict what it is going to look like. The size of the work is the only specification I am
willing to accept from the purchaser.

NE: What are some of the things that inspire your work?
Michel: Everything. I tend to pick up on the culture, the landscape, the music and the atmosphere of the place I am visiting. Then I reflect on how it all connects. A lot of my current work was inspired by a trip to Peru last June. I was taken in by the culture, the music and the colorful garments and how it all flowed together.

NE: What drew you into abstract art?
Michel: There has always been a lot of built-in prejudice against abstract art work. During a short period of time in the ‘70’s I tried realism. What I learned from that was I was more interested in the abstract aspects of those works, so I got out of realism as quickly as I got into it. As an artist, you are on a journey of constant exploration and that exploration has led me to create abstracts.

NE: Does it upset you when someone says; I like your work, but it won’t go with my couch or carpet’?
Michel: (chuckling) I understand where they are coming from. No, it doesn’t upset me. Here is why I am just pleased they have made a visual connection to the work. I believe strongly that the creative part of art is not just from the artist but also comes from the observer. The observer has to bring in their own experiences and make a connection with the work of art, and when that happens they make a connection with the artist.

NE: What is your assessment of the art scene in Northern Michigan?
Michel: First, there are a lot of talented artists who live here but are not local artists. They like the culture and the atmosphere here but their works are world class and often they are afforded the
opportunity to exhibit all over the country. Overall, I think there is strong support for the arts here and we are fortunate to have Interlochen, Dennos Museum and numerous galleries and community art centers.
What frustrates me is I feel the visual arts here have lagged behind other art forms in the region, notably music. I think the work that is here is at times taken for granted because it is perceived as local, and that should not be the case. Also, I feel that we need to do more to promote Northern Michigan as a cultural destination. We have it all here, from the wineries to the galleries to the great restaurants.

NE: What are your observations from an art educator’s standpoint as to the challenges faced for students today?
Michel: The biggest pressure young artists feel is the pressure to immediately make a mark in the art world. I call it self-conscious-avant-guardism. You do something simply because you know that will distinguish you from everyone else. I believe, as an artist, the development of your mark comes in a very natural way and not forced.
To view more of Delbert Michel’s works check out delbertmichel.com. For additional information about “The Ways of Seeing: The Abstract Art of Jennifer Gardiner Lam, Delbert Michel and Debra Lanning” exhibition at Gallery Fifty visit galleryfifty.com. The artist reception will take place May 3 from 6 to 9 pm and the works will remain on exhibit through the end of July.

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