Since its inception in 1951, the Artcenter Traverse City (ACTC) has played a crucial role in supporting the visual arts in the region.
But as with any non-profit organization focused on the arts, the challenges are many.
“I think the purpose and the need for the Artcenter has always been there. I think the challenge in recent years has been focusing on the vision,” said Paul LaPorte, vice-president of the Artcenter board.
“I believe that we have a dedicated group that clearly understands that vision and is committed to seeing it succeed.”
EVENTS AND EXHIBITS
A big part of that vision is organizing events that promote awareness of the visual arts to the community. This weekend they will launch a major exhibition titled “Art and The Garden,” a collaboration between Artcenter Traverse City and the Botanical Garden Society along with the Historic Barns Park.
“Art and The Garden” will feature several events. There will be an opening reception Friday, June 8, in the new 630 Mercato space on the north end of Building 50 on the grounds of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The reception will take place from 6-8 p.m. The all-media exhibition is based on a garden theme and will be a juried show.
On Saturday, June 9, the ArtCenter Traverse City is donating three pieces of sculpture by John Goss to the new Botanic Garden at the Historic Barns Park at the Grand Traverse Commons. The sculptures are a gift from Charlotte and Robert Streit of Twisted Fish Gallery. The instillation and ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. and is open to the public.
“We have witnessed a unique energy that demonstrates that art is very much alive in our community and gardeners, like artists, share a passion for what they are doing. Lawrence, president of Artcenter Traverse City. “This is a very exciting collaboration between three organizations who have a shared sense of community. We expect the Artcenter to be involved in further such collaborations in the future.”
A PERMANENT HOME
Since losing its former space (the All Faiths Chapel on the grounds of the old State Hospital), the ACTC has had to get creative to find exhibit space as well as space for classes.
“We are an arts organization without a physical location, but we are working to change that,” said LaPorte. “The focus in downtown Traverse City the past several years has been on the Opera House and the State Theatre, and rightfully so.
“But now we must look at having the ACTC downtown. Look what similar organizations in Petoskey, Frankfort, Leland and Glen Arbor have meant to those communities. We haven’t set a timeframe yet, but the discussion is out there.”
In the meantime the ACTC continues to forge partnerships in the community for exhibit and classroom space.
“These partnerships will prove valuable in the long-term as well,” said LaPorte. “Even once we get our own facility downtown we will be active in the community with visual arts events.”
LaPorte also hinted that the ACTC is looking at playing a major role in developing a tourism initiative around the arts of the region.
“We have world-class artists here, with world class wines, beers and restaurants,” said LaPorte. “The challenge is letting the world know we are here.
“I travel the world and tell people about Traverse City and invite some of the people I meet to come and visit and see for themselves. Those who do are shocked they can’t believe all that we have to offer and they are equally impressed with the art they see in the local galleries created by artists who live right here.”
While those are all goals for the future, the vision right now for the ACTC is the Art and the Garden exhibit.
Here is an overview of events in the coming weeks:
All-Media Show: This show, based on a garden theme, will hang in the new 630 Mercato space on the north end of Building 50 on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons. An opening reception with recognition and announcement of prizes is June 8, 6-8 p.m. at the site of the show. The public is welcome. Art and the Garden is a juried art show.
Installation of Public Art: On Saturday, June 9, the public is welcome to witness the installation of a donated sculpture in the new Botanic Garden, near the barns. The Garden Sculpture Dedication is at 3:00 p.m.
Lecture and Tea: On June 16, join nationally-known artist Karen Klein at Dennos Museum for a lecture and tea: “Still Life Drawings of the Natural World.”
Plein Aire Painting: On Saturday, June 16, all adult artists are invited to join a day of painting outside with a wine reception, art sale, and presentation of cash awards at the end of the day.
Kids’ Day: Saturday, June 23, is a special “Kids’ Day” that will feature music, a play based on a children’s book, and kids’ art projects and other free fun events. Kids’ Day runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Historic Barns Park tent.
For further details on these and other events during the month-long Art and the Garden exhibition and celebration, go to artcentertraversecity.com.