Petoskey, meet Detroit. Detroit, Petoskey. That’s the basic idea behind Detroit @ CTAC, a new conceptual multi-media exhibition that aims to “celebrate in a positive way the excellence being achieved in the arts in the Motor City” by “bringing The D North.”
FINDING A WAY
Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Gail De- Meyere and Cindy McSurely are the ladies behind the project.
“As the curator at CTAC, it is my job to be on the lookout for intriguing art experiences,” said DeMeyere, who was born in Detroit and raised in its suburbs. “It became increasingly disturbing to me to hear about all of the turmoil and blight [in Detroit], because I had different experiences of positive and creative things happening there.”
DeMeyere said she had been aware of a strong and vibrant art culture in the city for some time, as she still has family downstate, and she wanted to find a way to tell people in Northern Michigan about it.
“There are amazing people with amazing talent that are being swept under the layers of negative press that Detroit is experiencing,” she said.
McSurely is equally supportive of this undervalued artistic scene.
“I do not wish to offend or lighten any of the challenges that the city of Detroit currently faces,” she said. “But I have been visiting the city over the course of this past year, and I have become a huge fan. I find myself a little defensive whenever I read something focusing on the negative.”
The installation of Detroit @ CTAC has already begun, DeMeyere said, the galleries “exploding” with major works of art.
“There are the realist works of painter Stephen Magsig, the eloquent sculptures of Lois Teicher, the vibrant abstract works of Gilda Snowden, and the whimsical hanging sculptures of Mary Fortuna,” she said.
Twenty different artists will be exhibiting, all working in very different styles, all telling part of the story of their city.
And that’s only the beginning.
The pre-launch for Detroit @ CTAC was held in Detroit a couple of weekends ago, an
appreciation party for all the artists, speakers, filmmakers, and organizations who will be joining CTAC Up North this summer.
“It was our way to give our out-of-town guests a sneak peek,” McSurely said.
And there’s a lot to peek at. In addition to the visual art, there will be 13 lectures, five films, two major concerts, and several other special events throughout the summer.
For opening weekend, the documentary “Louder Than Love – The Grande Ballroom Story” will be screened, with director Tony D’Annunzio on site for questions.
A celebration with Blissfest Music Organization, Jennifer Westwood and Friends will perform at CTAC, and an afterglow party will follow.
The Detroit Circus will be performing during CTAC’s D’Art for Art July 16 and 17; Detroit fashion will be represented with a Creative Industry Runway and Trunk Show in August; and August will also bring a concert from Motor City Horns and Thornetta Davis.
Even the Man in the City Sculpture Project, 40 sculptures on rooftops in Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is making its way north.
“There will be 20 locations added throughout Northern Michigan, on display through fall of 2015,” McSurely said. Look for them soon!”
BUILDING A BRIDGE
The goal, DeMeyere said, is to help foster a more complete understanding of the working environment in Detroit to Northern Michigan, and to build a bridge between the two communities.
“Artists thrive on the sharing of ideas and communicating of concepts,” she said. “This show’s intent is not just to elevate the artists of Detroit, but to bring their knowledge and intellect to Petoskey to elevate the artists and community here as well.”
Bridging the communities is the idea that the arts scene in both places is “vibrant,” McSurely said.
“I think what Detroit and Northern Michigan have in common is a vibrant arts scene,” she said. “All of this passion and energy for the arts is very reflective of the arts statewide.”
The mission of Detroit @ CTAC coincides with the mission of the Detroit arts scene itself, too, which currently has think tanks, entrepreneurs, and visionaries working to revitalize and redefine the struggling city.
“That is the Detroit I know,” De Meyere said. “The creators there are energized with the Detroit spirit that blends pride with determination. The creation of great art is derived from great emotion – in Detroit, you have both.”
Detroit @ CTAC runs June 5 through Sept. 6. For a full schedule of events and more, visit crookedtree.org/detroit-at-ctac.