BY CYMBRE FOSTER
Special to the Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — From birding and photography to sketching and discovering more about Michigan’s history and culture, the workshops and tours at the Michigan Legacy Art Park this summer are designed to spur creativity in an outdoor setting.
The 30-acre sculpture park, located on the grounds of Crystal Mountain, was founded by internationally acclaimed artist David Barr in 1995. It encompasses art, nature and history with 45 major works of art that line more than a mile and a half of hiking trails that wind through wooded hills.
New to the line-up this year is a three-hour poetry workshop with national award-winning poet Fleda Brown, of Traverse City, July 12. The art at the Michigan Legacy Art Park will be the inspiration for the workshop, which has its roots in a 2010 collaborative exhibit by Brown and Michigan Legacy Art Park artist Bill Allen at the Dennos Museum Center.
Brown was the poet laureate of Delaware from 2001-2007.
The class cost is $85 and includes access to the Crystal Spa and lunch at the Thistle Pub and Grille at Crystal Mountain.
“It’s a deal for anyone who loves writing and art in a relaxed setting,” said Gretchen Eichberger, communications specialist for the Art Park. “They can go to the spa and have lunch before the workshop and then be refreshed and renewed and immerse themselves in the creative process.”
Other classes include a guided tour through the Art Park with artist Dewey Blocksma on Saturday and again on July 13 and July 27. Participants will wind through a labyrinth, learning about Michigan history along the way.
“We always offer golf cart tours as well for those who can’t see the park on foot,” Eichberger said.
Chris Bickes, formerly an Ansel Adams gallery staff photographer, will teach a “Photo Fun” class and artist Deborah Crandell will lead a class in outdoor sketching.
The 18th season of Summer Sounds 2013 at the Art Park also kicks off next month. Eichberger said the series typically offers a “very diverse” lineup and that this season is no exception.
Heidi Hepler and Michele Ramo Group take the stage July 5, followed by Miriam Pico and David Chown, performing original songs and jazz standards, July 12. Ruth and Max Bloomquist will perform folk, bluegrass and country July 19 and The Fauxgrass Quartet will fuse experimental sounds and traditional bluegrass July 26. The series concludes Aug. 2 with the Cuban jazz combo Tumbao Bravo.
All concerts take place on Fridays at 7 p.m. at the Park’s amphitheater. Eichberger said The Hilltop Soda Shop will sell ice cream and shuttle rides from the parking lot to the amphitheater will be offered beginning at 6:15 p.m.
“People are welcome to bring their picnic basket and a bottle of wine and just enjoy the evening,” she said.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for Art Park members. Children 17 and under get in free. Proceeds directly benefit the park.
For more information about the Summer Sounds series or to register online for workshops and tours, call the Art Park office at 378-4693 or visit michlegacyartpark.org. Registration is required for all programs at least 24 hours in advance.