LELAND — The Old Art Building will reveal its shiny, new solar roof at an especially appropriate time: the day after the summer solstice.
Leelanau Community Cultural Center Executive Director Becky Ross said center officials wanted to host a June 22 Summer Solstice Celebration to draw attention to the new installation, which they hope helps save energy and reduce waste.
“This is an unplugging,” she said. “It’s a public celebration of that. Leland is a place where people choose to be and appreciate being because of the environment.”
The event offers a close-up look at the solar panels Peninsula Solar recently affixed to the center's Old Art Building roof, a project that was funded through a $60,000 grant from All Points North Foundation.
It also highlights the summer solstice — the longest period of daylight each year — with solar fun and education for the whole family, including sun-themed crafts, sun gazing and a scavenger hunt for sun facts in Leland.
Leelanau Books Manager Paula Alflen leads a story time portion of the celebration. Alflen said she plans to don a costume and read children's books like “The Sun Shines Everywhere” and “The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal.” She'll also guide kids in a sing-along and creating a solar craft.
“We will be bringing the sun to life by wonderful stories,” she said. “It’s about making it real to the kids so they think about the sun and its role in our universe and solar system.”
Northern Michigan singer-songwriter and environmentalist Seth Bernard kicks off his year as the 2019 Ann Hall Visiting Artist with an evening concert on the Old Art Building lawn.
Bernard, who also teaches songwriting workshops at the building next week, recently earned an Environmentalist of the Year Award from the Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council. He was recognized for his work with the Clean Water Campaign for Michigan, a program of his relatively new nonprofit Title Track. The organization aims to highlight clean water and other environmental issues through storytelling and musical events across the state.
“This is the first time in 14 years we’ve had a musician, so that’s exciting,” Ross said. “Come to the concert — it’s going to be fun.”
Celebration attendees can learn about solar energy and environmental topics from several organizations, including Groundwork Center for Resilient Communities, Northport Energy and Title Track. Additionally, Leland Public School eighth-graders present a solar energy exposition. Ross said the students assisted with the solar panel roof and are learning about the technology in their classes.
Free activities take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Old Art Building, followed by the concert on the lawn — or inside in the case of rain — at 7:30 p.m. Concertgoers should bring chairs and blankets. Beer, wine and cider are available to purchase.
“We all need a little bit of outdoors and sun right now,” Ross said, adding that the Summer Solstice Celebration concludes with a bonfire as it gets dark.
Concert tickets are $10 at oldartbuilding.com, or call 231-256-2131.