TRAVERSE CITY — Sometimes you have to ask questions to get the picture on the Traverse City area’s art and culture scene.
Is it time for Artcenter Traverse City to have a home of its own? Is it possible over the long term for Traverse City to become the Santa Fe of the Upper Midwest?
Those specific questions are not on Artcenter Traverse City’s online survey, but they are being discussed by some area visual artists, gallery owners and art lovers as the local arts nonprofit assesses the art and culture needs of the public and area artists in Grand Traverse, Antrim, Benzie, Kalkaska and Leelanau counties.
The survey deadline, originally set for May 31, recently was extended to June 30 to allow returning summer residents to participate, said Bob Streit, Artcenter treasurer and owner of Twisted Gallery in Elk Rapids. The survey is available at www.artcentertraversecity.com, the organization’s web site. More than 300 people have replied since it was posted in early April. Artcenter supporters originally had hoped for 1,000 responses.
The interactive survey is being conducted by ArtServe Michigan, a statewide arts advocacy support organization, with the help of a $5,000 planning grant from Rotary Charities and Northsky NonProfit Network to help determine, among other things, interest in a new center and the impact it would have on visual arts in the Traverse City area. The grant required a 25 percent match, or $1,250 from the nonprofit.
Artcenter Traverse City was founded in 1951 and has had at least three names over the last six decades, including Arts Council and Arts and Crafts Center. The art group has been homeless since 2011 when it no longer could afford its latest gallery space at All Faiths Chapel on former state hospital property.
Art classes and exhibits are its two core services today, said David Lawrence, the nonprofit’s president. Its exhibits have been located in a variety of different venues over the last two years, including the City Opera House, Mercato 630 at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons and the privately owned Art and Design Studio along Woodmere.