You must have art, to paraphase a saying.
Traverse City has long known this, but it is refreshing to take stock of what we have and also see a growing interest for more public art.
Art comes in many forms — sculpture, gardens, paintings, writing, music, theater, dance, and architecture that blends with the natural environment and well-preserved historical buildings adapted to modern uses.
Over the past week two things have happened to underline the crucial role the arts can play in building community and creating a unique sense of place.
The first was the Legacy Award presented last weekend to Traverse City architect Robert and Jane Holdeman for their belief in and long support of the arts to creating healthy, vibrant, rich communities.
The award was the fourth presented by the Michigan Legacy Art Park to honor people who have made a positive impact on Michigan arts, culture, environment or history — an important blend for every community.
Bob Holdeman designed many of Traverse City's important and beautiful buildings over the last four decades.
Jane Holdeman was instrumental in the creation of Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District's Artruck, which for a decade took art and art appreciation lessons to many villages in TBA's five-county service area.
"People need to see original art," Jane said.
The second art happening is a growing synergy in Traverse City to bring original local art into public places.
For example, the city already has approved a mobile of car hoods painted and redesigned by a handful of local artists in the Larry C. Hardy Parking Deck stair towers. They were donated by the Bill Marsh auto dealership to Goodwill's Reinvention Convention programs, which showcases art made from recycled goods.
The hanging art installation will cost city taxpayers nothing, but will add an interesting and original splash of color and imagery to the parking garage. The Downtown Traverse City Association, a local merchant group, will pay to install and maintain the giant mobiles.
The project shows what happens when diverse local groups think art and create a community project.
The DTCA also is evaluating a public art proposal from Melissa Johnson, owner of Blackbird Arts. She developed the idea as a way to connect children and teenagers with artists and writers. Students from Greenspire School, a public charter school, created the first bench with help from area artist Glenn Wolff and writer Jerry Dennis. If approved, individual merchants will sponsor up to 20 additional benches for placement around town.
Creativity should never be taken for granted. It grows and inspires with appreciation, enjoyment and gratitude.