Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

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.


“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.”


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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