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 · Features · Northern Michigan ArtPrize?
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Northern Michigan ArtPrize?

New event in the works to ‘create a major buzz’ for local art

Rick Coates - October 14th, 2013  

Paul LaPorte is known as the Art Guy; every Monday he appears on the Ron Jolly Radio Show (weekdays 7 am -10 am on WTCM Newstalk 580 AM) at 8:30 am. Last week during the show, LaPorte pointed out that with Frankfort artist Ann Loveless winning ArtPrize and the $200,000 cash prize, that all eyes were on the Northern Michigan art community.

“I really believe that this is the kind of story that a New York or Paris radio station expected to be covering about an artist or art competition in their backyard,” said La- Porte. “Certainly this is huge for Ann, but it is equally important for the art community here in Northern Michigan. We find ourselves in the center of the biggest art competition in the world with the spotlight on us and the question is, now what?

LaPorte, who was recently named president of the Artcenter in Traverse City, is among other art-lovers in Northern Michigan who hope to create their own version of ArtPrize. While ArtPrize takes place just down the expressway in Grand Rapids each fall, several in the region’s arts community believe there is an opportunity to create something up north.

MAJOR BUZZ

“Certainly there is this huge spotlight on our region right now but in time that will go away unless we act,” said LaPorte. “While we don’t want to duplicate ArtPrize, we feel that we have all the pieces to put together an art event that will create a major buzz for our region. We have a group from the area working on some ideas.”

In the works is a new regional arts organization. On October 1, representatives from 18 arts organizations in Northwest Michigan gathered at Crystal Mountain to form the Northwest Michigan Arts Coalition.

“A person who prefers to remain anonymous approached us and other arts organizations in Northern Michigan last year and pointed out that one of the missing pieces to our region is a collaborated effort to promote all of the world class artists we have in the region,” said LaPorte. “He pointed out that the wineries, golf courses, restaurants and others are collaborating to promote the region why isn’t the art community?”

LaPorte says the idea took off. “We at the Artcenter talked about it, agreed and reached out to the other art centers in Northern Michigan from Mackinac Island to Manistee. What we found was everyone agreed,” said LaPorte. “Our first meeting (a small steering committee began planning last fall) on October 1 was very energizing. A lot was accomplished and I am confident that moving forward Northern Michigan will be getting the attention it deserves to be recognized as a world class arts destination.”

Gallery owner and Artcenter board member Bob Striet, who participated in the October 1 gathering, agrees.

“There’s no reason to go to Santa Fe or Carmel or New York to find good art.” said Streit, owner of The Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids. “Here in northwest Michigan, we are blessed with great natural beauty and hundreds of talented artists and great arts organizations.”

PLANNING A PLAN

More than 40 art leaders participated in the study session. According to LaPorte, several ideas were developed and the next step is the steering committee will meet in the coming months.

“We expect over the course of the next year that this new arts organization will be formed,” said LaPorte. “We expect to have some sort of major event and a plan in place to market our area as an arts destination.”

But up first for LaPorte is finding a home for the Artcenter Traverse City. Founded in 1951 the 400 members, the organization was established to provide opportunities in the areas of arts education, exhibits, shows, art fairs, and other cultural events. But for the past couple of years the Artcenter has found itself essentially homeless.

“After we lost our location at the former All Faiths Chapel (at the Grand Traverse Commons) we have been without a place to host monthly exhibitions, art classes, lectures and other events,” said LaPorte. “Fortunately, we have several people who feel that Traverse City needs to have the Artcenter and that it is a vital component to the culture of our community. We are working on a couple of options and hope to have a major announcement soon.”

Anyone interested in being a part of the new Northwest Michigan Arts Coalition or assisting in helping the Artcenter Traverse City is encouraged to contact Paul LaPorte at artcentertraversecity.com or 231-941-9488.

 
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