Michigan’s Muse: The Beauty of Leelanau County Inspires Resilient Art Communities | news


Editor’s note: This article was published in the June 2021 issue of Grand Traverse Scene magazine. Get a free copy at local hotels, visitor centers, chambers of commerce or the Record-Eagle building on Front Street. click Here to read GT Scene fully online.

Gentle sand dunes meet turquoise water. Vineyards create pleasant pastoral patterns. Farmhouses and fish huts. Breathtaking sunsets. The Leelanau peninsula is a feast for the eyes. Unsurprisingly, it also inspires and nourishes its art communities. There are a number of outdoor events on the summer calendar aimed at both artists and art lovers. See a professional painting in real time, attend a summer morning art fair, or try your creative hand to capture the many moods of Leelanau. Let Leelanau be your muse.

North harbor

The Northport Arts Association (NAA) will host a variety of art exhibitions throughout 2021.

According to NAA Arts Administrator Tara Stoffel, Arts of Our Members will serve as a “thank you” to NAA members from May 28 to June 12.

“We allow each member of our membership to submit up to three works of art free of charge, and then we organize it,” said Stoffel.

She said the exhibit will be on view both in the Village Arts Building at 301 Mill Street in Northport and online on the NAA website – nordportartsassociation.org.

From July 9th to 11th, the Gene Rantz Art Show shows paintings by the landscape and nature painter Gene Rantz.

“He has years of experience and it’s actually an exhibition for which he organizes and rents the building,” said Stoffel, referring to the Village Arts Building.

From July 27 to August 3, the Village Arts Building and the NAA website will host an exhibition of paintings from the Plein Air Paint Out 2021, an annual event that sees a number of painters in Northport work on their easels.

“Plein-air painting literally means painting outdoors,” says Stoffel. “We actually get artists from all over the country, mostly all over the state, who come out and find different places to paint – beaches, nature, different landscapes, even cityscapes … and then we invite the community to come and see the pieces . “

A corresponding wet paint sale will also take place on July 23 and July 24 from 6 pm to 8 pm.

The Starry Night Exhibit will be on view in both the Village Arts Building and on the NAA website August 13-29, following an opening reception on August 12th from 6pm to 8pm at the Willowbrook Mill at 201 Mill St. in Northport.

“The Starry Night Gala will be something unique that we have never done before,” said Stoffel. “You’re going to have a really nice evening with dinner and a tour of some of the artwork that will be available before the exhibition can see … It’s like the premiere of the Starry Night pieces.”

The Northport Photo Exhibit will be on view in both the Village Arts Building and on the NAA website September 5-19, following an opening reception on September 4 from 6pm to 8pm at the Village Arts Building.

“It’s a really great exhibition that has been going on with the organization for a while, which is organized by some people who are really into photography,” said Stoffel. “They do a wonderful job – like last year, we had a wide variety of sizes and matting options for people who wanted to buy photographs online. So they really took this niche and expanded it in a way that, in my opinion, we could not have created without the help of photographers. “

Stoffel said the exhibition usually features photographs from a variety of genres, including nature, wildlife, and urban landscapes.

A Village Art Building Anniversary Exhibition will be hosted in both the Village Arts Building and on the NAA website October 15-24, with an opening reception on October 15 from 6pm to 8pm.

“The anniversary exhibition will be similar to our Arts of Our Members show,” said Stoffel. “We invite our members again to submit and exhibit their work free of charge. And if the current climate demands it, we are happy to make a potluck for the members. “

For the exhibits that do not currently have times listed, the times will be selected by Stoffel as the dates approach, with information available on the NAA website. However, she said that noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays is generally a safe bet as each event has the potential to have a clearly specific time.

Glen Arbor

The Glen Arbor Arts Center (GAAC) has “tons” of art exhibitions and events planned for 2021, many of them outdoors, according to Sarah Bearup-Neal, GAAC gallery manager.

Beginning in May, Bearup-Neal said that GAAC will showcase its exhibitor’s work at the GAAC Outdoor Gallery 2021-22, which can be viewed free of charge 24/7. She said the annual exhibition features five paintings by a single artist reproduced on 5 by 5 foot aluminum panels and installed on the west and south exterior walls of GAAC.

From May 3 to August 31, Bearup-Neal said a small display of watercolors will be held at the GAAC Lobby Gallery to celebrate the late Amy L. Clark-Carels’ work.

From May 28th to August 19th, Food Is Art / Art Is Food will be on view in the Main GAAC Gallery.

“Visual artists have found food to be a rich, inspiring subject over time,” said Bearup-Neal.

“Food Is Art / Art Is Food takes a broader look at the topic. This juried exhibition of 2-D and 3-D works examines food as a metaphor, as a design element, as an artistic material and how we nourish and nourish body, mind and soul. “

This summer, GAAC’s 6ft Apart Art Series features three pop-up exhibitions on June 26, July 24, and September 11, with rainy dates the following day for each date.

Bearup-Neal said each pop-up exhibit features the work of eight visual artists demonstrating what they are doing and creating works related to the GAAC.

“The Artist Pop-Ups will take place in the GAAC and transform the front yard, the grove and the parking lot into open-air exhibition spaces,” said Bearup-Neal. “It was developed in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Practices like social distancing are incorporated into 6ft Apart Art events and offer a safe alternative to traditional indoor art activities. “

In addition, Bearup-Neal said each pop-up exhibition will be accompanied by free live music on the porch by GAAC, with the instrumental jazz group Glenn Wolff Trio on June 26; Acoustic jazz and contemporary artists Luke Wolanski and Dalton Sala on July 24; and acoustic and contemporary music by Glenn Wolff and Windy Ridge on September 11th.

From July 24th to August 27th, Bearup-Neal said the GAAC Clothesline Exhibit was an open air display of small works.

“This year’s theme, Wild Friends, challenges artists of all abilities to create an unframed painting, drawing, photo or collage on a single 5” by 7 “sheet of paper on the theme,” said Bearup-Neal. “Each work is put in a sealed plastic envelope and pinned to a clothesline in front of the GAAC building.”

From August 27 to October 28, the jury exhibition Everyday Objects by Bearup-Neal answers the question: “What happens when an artist gets her hands on an ordinary everyday object and starts to reinvent it?”

According to Bearup-Neal, all exhibitions and events are held at the GAAC at 6031 S. Lake St. in Glen Arbor.

“The GAAC moves art in the open air,” said Bearup-Neal.


Several art exhibitions are planned for this summer at the Old Art Building (OAB) in Leland, according to Executive Director Becky Ross.

From June 24-27, the art of the garden will be showcased at the OAB with paintings by members of the Leland Garden Club.

“They have a garden tour this weekend and we are having painters paint their version of their garden,” said Ross. “And all of these works of art are for sale.”

On July 10th, the Artist Market will present up to 65 different artists and artisans in the front yard of the OAB, including painters, potters, jewelers, weavers and sign makers.

“There’s a little bit of everything,” said Ross. “It’s an artists’ market. And everyone has their own tent and sells everything they want to sell that day. It’s very popular. “

From July 23-28, Ross said the OAB Art Leelanau’s annual exhibit features art by typically 90-100 different artists from the Leelanau Peninsula.

The OAB is located at 111 S. Main St. in Leland.

In Leland, too, the Mainstreet Gallery is open seasonally, mainly from May to October, according to curator / manager Cece Chatfield.

She said the Main Street Gallery displays art in the form of painting, sculpture, woodturning, metal sculpture, driftwood sculpture, bait, glass, and ceramics.

“We specialize in regional landscapes,” said Chatfield, adding that most of the artists are from Michigan, particularly Grand Traverse County and the Leelanau Peninsula. “We try to interpret the beauty of nature around here as broadly as possible. I would say nature-based art is the broad category. There are lots of landscapes, flowers and creatures – things like that. “

If the COVID-19 restrictions allow, the Main Street Gallery will showcase artists on site at the gallery, hold demonstrations, workshops, artist talks or just hang out on a weekly basis this summer, according to Chatfield.

“We’re on the river in Leland so we have a beautiful setting and a lot of our artists like to hang out in the back yard and put up their easels,” said Chatfield.

From May to October, the Main Street Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Main Street Gallery is located at 307 S. Main St. in Leland. ■

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