During the past several weeks, we’ve all been inundated with emails and social media posts regarding the closings, cancellations, and postponements of businesses, classes, and events due to the pervasive spread of coronavirus.

If you’re a Crooked Tree Arts Center member or on our email list, you have definitely received notices informing you that we have closed our doors to the public and suspended spring classes. Since our organization is a gathering place for people of all ages, we needed to follow the governor’s closure order. Closing our doors wasn’t ideal, but amidst the slew of unknowns, it was an easy choice, participating in social distancing for the community’s safety.

An unknown — as all of you are well aware — is something that is not known. It is not within the range of one’s knowledge, experience, or understanding. Unknowns are strange, unfamiliar, and essentially unanswerable until further details are provided; unknowns are precisely what our community, state, country, and the world are facing right now. CTAC is currently facing its own unknowns that we can’t answer yet. When will programming resume? When will we reopen our doors? What is our next exhibition? Thankfully, the latter is something I can answer.

“PHOTO2020,” CTAC’s annual photography exhibition, is going to be presented as a virtual show online — a first for CTAC.

Juried by Ginger Owen-Murakami, associate professor of photography and intermedia at Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art, “PHOTO2020” includes the work of 40 artists and is presented digitally thanks to the efforts of Galleries Director Liz Erlewine and Galleries Associate Monica Stokes. CTAC is striving to keep art present in the lives of our community, and now a wider audience.

Efforts by other staff are bringing art to you as well. Education and Outreach Director Kristi Wodek and her family had been creating free art project kits for families to pick up outside CTAC’s front doors, but they are now altering their approach due to the stay-at-home order — kits are going digital. The kits, which include an educational component, directions, and a materials list, are posted on our website for easy, at-home access, requiring materials that you most likely already possess.

CTAC is also looking to the future months and seasons, planning content for summer programming, including the production of Art & Craft Trails brochures, Coffee @ Ten lectures, engaging Creation Station projects, the 60th annual Art Fair, and of course, the third annual Paint Grand Traverse in August.

Yes, our galleries are dark with doors shut, and it’s unknown when we’ll be open again, but CTAC staff is striving to bring the community engaging art experiences from a distance. We promise to keep you updated via email and social media. Thank you for your continued interest and support in CTAC and the arts amidst this time of unknowns.

Alex Dailey is the Public Relations Specialist at Crooked Tree Arts Center-Petoskey. She can be reached at alex@crookedtree.org. For more information about CTAC please visit www.crookedtree.org.

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