Monday, September 8, 2014

Public Art Plan Public Meeting Set

The Downtown Management Board (DMB) contracted with Crooked Tree Art Center to develop a proposed Public Art Plan for Downtown Petoskey.  Their proposed plan is scheduled to be submitted to the DMB in December, 2014 for approval.

Crooked Tree Art Center is in the process of developing the plan.  At the direction of the DMB they are supposed to hold public meetings to gather input.  The first meeting was held in June.  Crooked Tree Art Center has scheduled a second public meeting for Tuesday, September 23 at 5:30 in the Carnegie Building.  If you want to make any input concerning the development of the Downtown Petoskey Public Art Plan, please attend!

To announce the public meeting, Crooked Tree Art Center has issued the following press release:

The Crooked Tree Arts Center has been contracted by the Petoskey Downtown Management Board to develop a plan to manage the future of public art in the downtown district. In order to obtain a clear understanding of the concepts and concerns of the citizens of Petoskey there will be a public forum held on Tuesday, September 23 starting at 5:30 pm in the Carnegie Library Building on upper Mitchell Street adjacent to the Crooked Tree Arts Center. Everyone who is interested in the public art project is encouraged to attend.

Some of the goals set forward in the public art plan are to create a definition of public art relative to downtown Petoskey, identify opportunities for art in the public realm as a way to enhance downtown Petoskey and establish guidelines for setting up a downtown Public Art Commission that will approve future public art projects as they relate to the finished plan.

The process used to create the plan will include the formation of an oversight committee made up of appropriate city staff members, a DMB member, a member of the DMB Design Committee, a planning commission member, downtown arts advocates, and downtown cultural leaders. 
Spearheading this work on this project for CTAC is Gail DeMeyere, Visual Arts Director and Curator “I would strongly encourage people that have any interest in public art to mark their calendars and attend the public forum on September 23rd. We are not being asked to define the content or design of the public art as it pertains to the city, we are only being asked to define the guidelines for implementing the art. The content and creative component of this project will come from the citizens at this meeting and the later public art commission.”

Information gathered from the public forum will be noted in the final report due to the Downtown Management Board before the end of the year. For more information please contact Gail DeMeyere at The Crooked Tree Arts Center located in downtown Petoskey at 461 E. Mitchell Street, (231) 347-4337.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Artists Market Colored Pencil Artist E.P. Lewandowski Honored with Three International Exhibitions

Colored pencil artist extraordinaire E.P. (Irv) Lewandowski has long delighted Artists Market customers with his amazing drawings.  Over the last several years, he has built up quite a national following as well.  He has recently added several new accolades to his resume.  We take this opportunity to proudly brag on his behalf.

Pencil Art Society  --Irv is one of  just fifty-nine artists whose artwork has been selected for the Pencil Art Society International Open Juried Exhibition. Artists from eleven countries will be featured at the beautifiul Repentigny Exibition Centre in Repentgny, Quebec, August 23 - September21, 2014

I was especially delighted to hear that the juror, Richard Pedneault of the Lauier Museum chose two of my drawings.  It is quite an honor to share a venue with some of the best pencil artists in the world.  --  E.P. Lewandowski

Irv's entries Crevice Stream II and Landscape VI represent two of Lewandowski's favorite artistic subjects, waterscape and landscape studies.
The waterscape drawing (above) has been an award-winning image at several events in recent years, including Best of Show at both the Southwest National Contemporary Realism Competition and the Michigan Colored Pencil 2012 Competition. 

The landscape study (above) is a part of new series entitled Landscape Images.

International Guild of Realism --  Lewandowski's waterscape, Crevice Stream IV (below), has been selected for the 9th Annual International Guild of Realism Exhibition in Charleston, South Carolina.
The top sixty-nine artists chosen for this prestigious exhibition will be featured at the Robert Lange Studios Gallery  in November, 2014.

Colored Pencil Society of America  --  One of Irv's drawings, Streamside Cove II  (below), has been selected for the  CPSA Twenty-Second Annual International Competition and Exhibition at the Ormond Memorial Art Museum and Gardens in Ormond Beach, Florida.  Irv is also scheduled to receive special CPSA Signature status, accorded to members who achieve recognition as a successful artist in consistent international competition.

Kudos Irv for your recent honors and thanks for remembering all of us here at home in Michigan and at the Northern Michigan Artists  Market!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Tradition of Thanks in Downtown Petoskey

Thanksgiving comes one month before Christmas. This gives us the opportunity and a little reminder to practice giving thanks before the season of getting stuff begins. It also usually comes a little while before Chanukah for the same reason. Of course, this year Chanukah comes a bit early and starts on Thanksgiving so we might want to start practicing giving thanks a little sooner – like today.

I am thankful for all the traditions of Thanksgiving. I grew up in metro Detroit so Thanksgiving tradition meant the big Hudsons Thanksgiving Day Parade (a frozen treat I later got to share with my kids), going to the Lions game with Dad and having lots of turkey and cranberry sauce with my family. 
I have been blessed to live in Petoskey for quite a while now and I look forward to a new set of traditions. There is still a wonderful family dinner. (Vivi makes the cranberry sauce.) I spend some time thinking about my mom and dad and I still get to go to a fantastic holiday parade. Up here, the parade takes place on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It is called the Stafford’s Downtown Petoskey Holiday Parade It starts at 10 am and it winds through our streets and our Downtown It ends at the Perry Hotel.

The Petoskey parade features the Petoskey High School Marching Band along with floats and stuff from many of our favorite local business and community groups. It could feature your group if you click here for an application.

I seem to remember that as a kid I looked forward to some rather large and happy elf showing up at the end of the parade and getting a key to the hearts of the children of Detroit from the mayor.
Fortunately the Petoskey parade is on a different day so that same elf can make it here at the end of our parade as well. Back then, we could go have a chat with Santa up on the twelfth floor of the Downtown Hudsons on Woodward Avenue. Now we can just stop by the Perry Hotel a few blocks away and thank him for all the wonderful things he will be bringing us in a month or so.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Petoskey Now A Trail Town -- It's A Big Deal

Perhaps you don't know anything about the North Country Scenic Trail. Perhaps you are not even aware that it passes right through the middle of our town. Now is a great time for that to change because our favorite Northern Michigan burg just became a Trail Town in December and there is a party to celebrate on June 1.

First things first. For those who don't know, the North Country National Scenic Trail is a B I G trail 4,600 miles big, er, long. It runs through the northern tier of states, Michigan, Minnesota,North Dakota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. (I picked alphabetical order rather than geographical because it puts us first!)

When completed the trail will be the longest continuous hiking trail in the United States.

Building and maintaining a trail that big is a B I G project. While the North Country Trail is a part of the National Park Service, most of the work and funding comes from private sources. Much of the coordination of these efforts is provided by the North Country Trail Association.

And that brings us to Petoskey's brand new designation as a North Country Trail Trail Town, and that is a really B I G deal. What is a Trail Town? The Trail association says:

A Trail Town is a community through which the North Country Trail passes that supports hikers with services, promotes the Trail to its citizens and embraces the Trail as a resource to be protected and celebrated. Trail Towns are built on a relationship between a town, the Trail and its volunteers.

Petoskey is an ideal selection for a Trail Town. We have many active volunteers to take care of and promote the trail. We have beautiful woods, rivers and Little Traverse Bay to see and enjoy. Plus we have a wonderful town for hikers to explore with great places to eat and shop, including [blush] our own Northern Michigan Artists Market. Check out the wonderful article on Petoskey on the Trail Town website.

And one more big thing. Petoskey will have a B I G party to celebrate the trail, Petoskey's designation as a Trail Town and the American Hiking Society's National Trails Day 2013. The party takes place on June 1 at the picnic shelter at the north end of the recently enhanced Bear River corridor [near Lake Street]. Festivities will include, exhibits, presentations,children's events (coordinated by the Petoskey District Library's outstanding musician and entertainment all-star, Ron Fowler, and, of course, food. in the For more details, see the AHS website or the B I G story in the Petoskey News Review.

And while you are at it, don't forget to actually get out there and explore Petoskey's own segment of the trail. It follows a part of the Little Traverse Wheelway recreation trail, runs through the Bear River corridor [shown in this photograph, Bear Creek Park Bridge, by Northern Michigan Artists Market artist Dawn Thompson and explores North Central Michigan College's natural area.

So you see, it really is a B I G deal that Petoskey is a Trail Town on the North Country Scenic trail. We know our town is a special place. Now even more people will discover and explore the area we know and love -- and we can get out there and join them!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Petoskey Public Art Plan Update

NEWS FLASH -- At Tuesday night's meeting the Petoskey Downtown Management Board rejected my Public Art Plan proposal. They intend to go ahead and develop a plan but prefer a consultant driven process with public input being collected by the consultant. I favor a process driven by public input and community participation with a consultant providing assistance.

DMB members expressed concerns about open public input, stating they were worried (1)the public would be disappointed if the proposals they made were not ultimately adopted and (2) members of the public would become bored and disinterested after working for an extended time on a committee to develop a plan.

To see media coverage of the meeting, click here for the Petoskey News Review article and here for the Interlochen Public Radio story.

Watch this space for further developments.

Last month I made a proposal to Petoskey's Downtown Management Board (DMB)to gather public input and support and develop a public art plan for Downtown Petoskey. The proposal and its background are discussed here in a previous blog post.

Interlochen Public Radio has been covering the issue and its latest report is linked here.

At its April meeting the DMB discussed the proposal. Several concerns were raised. The primary reservation was that some members were concerned about my proposal's focus on gathering public input and generating public support. The proposal calls for public meetings and the creation of a working group to collect and develop suggestions for creating a plan that particularly suits Downtown Petoskey. It provides for the possible hiring of an expert later in the process to help formulate the plan based on community input and the work of the citizens work group. The draft plan would then be brought back to the public for comment before completion and then submitted to the DMB for approval.

Some DMB members though it might be better to skip the initial public input process and begin by hiring an expert to develop a plan and bring it directly to the DMB. The DMB decided to consider the proposal further, along with some other alternatives at its May meeting.

In the meantime I have given the DMB a short statement of my extensive community leadership and project development experience. No one else has come forward with any proposal for how to proceed.

The May meeting is set for tonight, May 21st at 7:00 pm at City Hall and is open to the public. A copy of the agenda and the member's packet are available here.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Petoskey's Downtown Trolly will be Truckin' Again

The Downtown Trolly got a test last summer. Evidently it passed and it is graduating to become a permanent attraction and means of transportation in Petoskey this summer starting on Friday, June 14.

Last summer during the experiment, the trolly ran various routes and a very informal schedule. That all changes this summer. The trolley will run on a regular, published schedule on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays through August. If it turns out to be the success everyone anticipates, look for it to continue gracing our streets into the fall.


The Trolly will leave the Stafford's Perry Hotel at a quarter past the hour. It will follow its route to the waterfront, Magnus Park, Bay View,and through Downtown. It will stop at Bay View, the Marina, the Gazebo on Lake Street, the Crooked Tree Arts Center and Magnus Park. The route and stops will be displayed on posters around Downtown and on the Downtown shopping map.


Now for the best part. Your ride on the Downtown Petoskey Trolly is totally free! The cost is covered by the Downtown Management Board and by advertisements on the trolly paid for by various Downtown businesses, including the Northern Michigan Artists Market.

Our Downtown Trolly was the idea last year of Craig Bell, owner of Ciao Bella! Garden and Home Gallery. He researched successful downtown trollys in other resort towns around the country and made a spectacular presentation to the Downtown Management Board which approved the concept and conducted last year's test. Thank you Craig!

When you visit Petoskey this summer, please enjoy riding the trolly, either as a beautiful tour of our area or as a convenient and scenic way of traveling between Downtown, the Marina, Magnus Park and Bay View. This summer, the Petoskey Downtown Trolley's bell rings for you!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Our Tree Update

A week or so ago, I posted a story about the new tree the City of Petoskey planted in front of our art gallery. I thanked the City and Mother Nature (for the gentle rain that started soon after the City planted the tree).

Now I am pleased to report that our new tree is starting to bud so the City and Ma Nature seem to be doing a good job so far.

Just thought you might like to know.