You would not be surprised if I told you that the Dennos Museum Center is a busy place. From exhibitions and concerts to receptions, tours, rental events, and other programs, our staff works hard to create a welcoming space for our communities.
But what actually happens in a given week? And who is coming through our doors to engage with the arts?
On Oct. 27, we wrapped up our annual Holiday Art Sale. Well over 1,300 people came through our doors over the weekend to start their holiday shopping with local and regional artists. At the same time, visitors were encouraged to purchase tickets for a raffle of 45 donated works from those same artists, with the funds raised to support K-12 admissions and transportation for Dennos education programs. Each year, we raise around $2,000 to support the scholarship program that is open to all K-12 teachers.
On Monday, NMC’s Audio Tech course met at their usual time in the Milliken Auditorium and adjoining classroom. We also welcomed a brief visit from Central High School’s sculpture class. A docent volunteer led a guided tour of the museum’s sculpture collection. In addition, our Registrar Kim Hanninen gave a hands-on tour for a student with vision impairment. Don’t worry — gloves were used. Later in the evening, as on most Mondays, NMC’s Jazz Band held their weekly rehearsal in Milliken Auditorium.
On Tuesday, our docent volunteers held their bi-weekly meeting and training. We discussed at length a recent article about life and art in the Arctic region of Canada, and learned about young, contemporary Inuit artists. Multiple literature classes from Central High School visited the Explorations in Wood exhibition with their teacher as part of their study of transcendentalism and the works of Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman. Several NMC groups utilized the Milliken Auditorium throughout the day, including two audio tech classes and the NMC Concert Band.
As for Wednesday, 125 seventh grade students from West Middle School toured the galleries and the campus as part of a joint program between the museum and NMC Admissions. Throughout the course of the day, the students were engaged in discussion around the topic of “choices in life and art.” In the evening, NMC hosted an informational session about financial aid in Milliken Auditorium.
The Dennos also hosts a lot of community organizations for rental events. One such renter is the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, who hosted an event in the museum’s lobby and Milliken Auditorium on Thursday.
Friday morning, the museum served as the host site for Leadership Grand Traverse’s Arts & Culture Day. Participants in the program explored communication skills in the workplace and in the galleries. They also took a quick trip to visit our friends at Crooked Tree Art Center, Traverse City, and enjoyed a brief performance by NMC dance students in the museum’s lobby. Friday night, Milliken Auditorium was rented for a Traverse City Human Rights Commission Forum, focused on civil public discourse.
On Saturday evening, The Harmaleighs wowed the audience with their unique blend of indie rock and vocal harmonies, presented in partnership with Interlochen Center for the Arts. Many performing arts students from Interlochen were in attendance and were able to chat with the band after the show.
For everyone from local arts and educational organizations to public schools, volunteers, and general visitors, the museum is a place to gather, learn, discuss, debate, and enjoy the arts. All totaled, over a thousand people utilized the Dennos Museum Center Sunday through Saturday, and that’s just one week out of 52. With several concerts and program partnerships in the coming months, thousands more will visit. If your world seems a bit too busy at the moment, feel free to join our busy calendar sometime soon.