Sunday, March 29, 2009

Downtown Petoskey Announces Facade Improvement Plan

We have one of Michigan's best small town downtowns in Petoskey and we want to keep it that way. Downtown Petoskey is filled with friendly stores run by local merchants delivering a variety of interesting, quality products.

Because we are an old (I suppose we prefer to say "historic") downtown some of our storefronts need remodeling or rebuilding. We want to preserve our charm and character without placing complicated restrictions on our property owners that make it harder for them to maintain their buildings. To help solve these problems, The Downtown Management Board and its Downtown Design Committee have worked hard to develop and adopt design guidelines for building facades.

To encourage compliance with these guidelines and to provide financial support to help local property owners and renters improve their buildings, Downtown Petoskey will provide facade improvement grants to support projects that comply with the facade guidelines.

If all this sounds like a great idea, it is! If it all sounds a bit complicated, it is that too so The Downtown Management Board and the Downtown Design Committee
have just announced an informational meeting to introduce the program and help local businesses and property owners find out how they can receive funds for approved renovations to the exterior of their buildings.

The meeting will be held in the Resort Room at Stafford’s Perry Hotel at 5:30 pm on Thursday, April 9, 2009. Building owners and building tenants are invited to attend and should R.S.V.P. prior to April 7, 2009, by calling Downtown Director Becky Goodman at 347-4150 or

This program grew out of the 2007 Cool Cities Blueprint for Michigan Downtowns study of Downtown Petoskey done by the nationally renowned firm of HyettPalma.

We at the Northern Michigan Artists Market salute these efforts because we love Downtown Petoskey. We urge all who are even remotely interested in making any changes to the facades of their Downtown Petoskey storefronts to attend and find out what they have to do to qualify for a facade improvement grant. And all the rest of you who love downtown Petoskey and enjoy shopping here, please join us in applauding and supporting this effort in any way you can.

By the way, here is a photo by Artist Market artist Bruce Love of our charming Downtown Petoskey facade. We love our facade and we think we have the greatest windows of any storefront in Downtown Petoskey but, who knows?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Help Yourself and Help the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra

That's right. Help yourself. Dig in. Chow down. Looking for a great place to grab a meal this summer? Try the homes of the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra's Board of Trustees. You get a meal and some first class entertainment and the opportunity to help support the Orchestra.

The Musical Feast, tour started this week at Alice and Robert Pattengale's house. On the menu was a chili dinner, a preview of the orchestra's plans served up by Conducter Matthew Hazelwood and a tasty performance of a selection from Fantastics by orchestra musicians and alto soloist Jamie Platte. Guests also savored unique hand-made collage lapel pins with a musical motif delicately prepared by Northern Michigan Artists Market co-owner and head chef Vivi Woodcock.

While you missed this stop on the gastronomic tour, future helpings of the Musical Feast will continue through the spring and summer. Just call the GLCO at 231-487-0010 or click here for more information.

Exhibition of Northern Michigan Photographer James Galbraith's Irish Collection at National Library of Ireland

James Galbraith was a close friend of the Northern Michigan Artists Market. He was an amazing photographer. We have displayed and sold his photographs. His wife Susan was a part owner of the Market and still comes by regularly to swap stories and buy Northern Michigan art.

Susie stopped by today and told us about her recent trip to Ireland. The National Library of Ireland recently acquired a large collection of Jim's photographs taken taken during his visits to Ireland in 1970, 1978 and 1997. Susie was there to attend the opening of the library's exhibition, D. James Galbraith's Ireland 1970-1977.

The exhibition displays a selection of these photographs that capture Irish daily life in rural areas and small towns and villages in Cork, Kerry and Clare. The images reveal the flavor of life in the pubs, on the streets and in the traditional Irish music scene.

This collection of photographs may be Irish but Northern Michigan claims Jim as one of its artistic treasures. He was born in 1930. He worked as a photographer for the U.S. Air force and then several Michigan newspapers. He is most famous for his portraits (like the obviously American one on the right) that are almost biographical in the insights they reveal about the character of his subjects, ordinary and famous.

Kudos to Susie. I know you were moved by a sense of a renewed partnership with Jim as you worked hard to help the National Library of Ireland preserve these wonderful photographs and stage this exhibition. I am warmed by the chance to revisit my memories of a great man and an remarkable Northern Michigan artist.

The exhibition is in Dublin and runs through June 2, 2009, so there is still time to make your plans and go see it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Michigan Memory: George Kell Dies at 86

I don't remember George Kell, the Detroit Tiger third baseman. He played in Detroit from 1946 to 1952. I was born in Detroit in 1950. I don't remember George Kell of the Boston Red Sox where he played with Ted Williams. But I do remember well George Kell, the Detroit Tiger radio and television broadcaster.

When I was nine years old and growing up in suburban Detroit George Kell teamed up with another Detroit sports broadcasting legend of my youth, Van Patrick, on TV and radio for the Tigers. I remember him better from my earlier teen years when he worked with legendary Tiger broadcaster Ernie Harwell and then later when as an adult I listened to him work with Tiger legend Al Kaline.

These memories do not belong to me alone. I share them with generations of fans from all over Michigan. We all miss you.

George Kell died in his sleep today at his home in Swifton, Arkansas. He was 86.

Huzzah! A Festival for the Petoskey Stone

As artists (and art fans) we are deeply indebted to the little pieces of the natural world. They provide us with not only the inspiration for our work but usually the very materials with which we produce our creations.

Bits of glass, clay dust, the little chips of all sorts of things that become paint, flakes of teas and other plants that become dyes and thousands of other little shards of nature transform themselves, sometimes with a little assistance from us, into our artistic creations.

As a Northern Michigan artist and owner of a gallery of Northern Michigan art, I was thinking about one of those particular little bits that we are particularly fond of up here, the petoskey stone. The petoskey is our state stone and is only found here in the shoreline areas of the Northwest corner on Michigan's Lower Peninsula. As illustrated in the photos adorning this post*, the petoskey stone has found its way into a fair amount of our regional artistic product.

And what thanks do we give to this humble fossil for all it has done for us? What recognition? What accolades? What festivals? Roaming around the Internet today I found at least one answer – the Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival. You may not have heard of this august (May, actually) event. I admit that I had not before today. But that is clearly our loss.

The annual festival takes place this year on Saturday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Antrim County's Barnes Park in Eastport, Michigan, on the eastern shores of Grand Traverse Bay just north of Torch Lake. (You no longer have any excuse to miss it.)

The Petoskey Stone Festival features a stone skipping contest (of course), a myriad of booths provided by vendors of petoskey stones and related paraphernalia (also mandatory), expert presentations on the art of finding, polishing and otherwise transforming petoskey stones, children's games, magic tricks, face painting (indispensable), food, music and, to top it all off, a petoskey stone hunt on the Grand Traverse Bay Beach. (Dedicated Michigan festival followers may be chagrined to learn that I could find no suggestion of a Miss Petoskey Stone Pagent anywhere on the website.)

The Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival looks like it will be a lot of fun. I have put it on my calendar and hope to be able to attend. After all, it is important to pause every once in a while and hoist an elephant ear to some of those tiny, natural bits and chunks that are so essential to our artistic activity and appreciation, particularly to that little fossil that is so dear to us all, our state stone, the petoskey.

By the way, for the few who do not know, petoskey stones are composed of fossilized skeletons of colony corals that formerly lived in the warm sea waters (a somewhat strange concept as I write this looking over a frozen Little Traverse Bay) that at one time covered all of what is now Michigan during ancient Devonian time, some 350 million years ago.

* The artworks pictured here are the creations of Northern Michigan Artists Market artists Steve Webster, Terry Thoma and Susan and Jeff Lange.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Win a $1000 Downtown Petoskey Gift Certificate and PARK FREE for a Year

Downtown Petoskey announced today a Treasure Downtown Contest. The contest is designed to promote the organization's new Downtown Treasure Certificates that shoppers will be able to redeem in stores all over Downtown Petoskey, including the Northern Michigan Artists Market.

The winner of the contest, which runs from now until June 1, 2009, will receive a $1,000 Downtown Treasure Certificate and a parking pass good for one year.

To enter, shoppers must accumulate sales receipts totaling $500 from stores in Downtown Petoskey dated March 1, 2009, to June 1, 2009. Entrants place the receipts in special envelopes available at stores in the downtown and at the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce downtown office and then turn them in at the chamber office.

The winner will be announced at the Downtown Petoskey Spring Open House, June 5, 2009. Entrants need not be present to win.

The Downtown Treasure Certificate program will be launched at he Spring Open House.

These new Downtown gift certificates have no connection at all with the former Certificheck program run by the Chamber of Commerce. That program was administered by an out-of-state company that had financial problems this winter and stopped honoring the checks. The Petoskey Chamber, like many other local chambers throughout Michigan that had offered the Certificheck program, has since agreed to honor the checks if redeemed through Chamber member merchants.

The Downtown Treasure Certificate program, unlike the Certifichecks, will be run locally by the Petoskey Downtown Management Board and all the funds will be kept here.

The contest sounds like it will be a lot of fun and the Downtown Treasure Certificates should be a real convenience for all people who shop in our friendly and unique downtown shops.

More good news -- Downtown Petoskey will run a second similar contest later this year from September 1 through December 1 with the winner being announced at the Holiday Open House.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Karrie Knecht Meets the Press!

Good media fortune continues to smile on our Northern Michigan Artists Market artists. This week again the artsy column in the local weekly, The Graphic, has chosen to feature one of our own. The well deserved honor goes to Northern Michigan Artists Market artist Karrie Knecht
As Lindsey Manthei's artsy interview aptly demonstrates, Karrie is one of those artists who excels in and enjoys several diverse media. Her repertoire includes watercolor, collage, fabric bags (including her recent yoga mat bags), and her famous Karrie Kats, lovable soft feline sculptures with an infinite variety of personalities.
Congratulations Karrie and thank-you artsy.
For our part, the Northern Michigan Artists Market is delighted to have been able to show Karrie's work almost since we first opened our doors five and a half years ago and to continue to make her newest creations available in our Downtown Petoskey store and online.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

artsy Strikes Again!

It seems like I just wrote a post for this blog about artsy, the weekly column about Petoskey area artists in The Graphic, carrying an interview with a Northern Michigan Artists Market artist. Well, Aebra Coe has done it again. This week her artsy offering is Artist Market painter Sandy Selden.

As the interview points out, Sandy paints Northern Michigan art. The precise criteria that define that alleged genre have always been somewhat elusive to me (see my earlier post here on that subject). However, I agree that if there is someone whose art fits that classification, it is Sandy Selden. Her scenery and even her abstract work, just feels like Northern Michigan.

Whatever you choose to call it, we love Sandy's paintings, we love Sandy, we love having her as a part of the Artists Market family and we loved reading her artsy interview.

Read the interview yourself in the March 12, 2009 issue of The Graphic or on The Graphic's website. Then stop by the Northern Michigan Artists Market to see Sandy's artwork in person. Of course, if you are not lucky enough to be in Petoskey in March, you can always check out Sandy's paintings on our website and soak up a little Northern Michigan from wherever you happen to be.

[By the way, thanks Aebra and keep those great interviews of Northern Michigan artists coming!]

Artists Market Announces Support for SEE-North and Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra

The Northern Michigan Artists Market is joining forces with two outstanding local community organizations -- NorthWings of SEE-North and the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra -- and we are giving you a chance to help them out too.

NorthWings of SEE-North provides safety, care and a home for injured and imprinted raptors (prey birds like owls and hawks) as well as conducting excellent educational programs offering first hand experiences with and information about raptors.

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, made up of retired professionals, community leaders, doctors, community college professors, talented amateurs and accomplished student musicians, performs concerts throughout the Northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Both of these organizations make an amazing contribution to Northern Michigan and they deserve support from all of us.

SEE-North had to give up their Downtown Petoskey location on Pennsylvania Park a year or so ago and have been reorganizing their finances and services. They now have a great facility in the woods on the grounds of Boyne Highlands where their very special birds now have a new home and are anxious for you to go visit them. For the last year or so, the Artists Market has helped continue the presence of the birds in Downtown by inviting them to mingle with the public in our store during community events such as the Open house and, recently, Wonder Weekend.

We have a particular affection for SEE-North because one of our best friends, Northern Michigan Artists Market artist Joanne Cromley, (pictured here with one of the SEE-North owls at the Artists Market for last year's Wonder Weekend) who makes the exquisite woven tapestries hanging in our store, has worked for the last year or so guiding them through their reorganization. Congratulations to Joanne and everyone at SEE-North for the beautiful new phoenix (er, raptor) that is arising from the traces of the past.

This week, the Artists Market started selling NorthWings of SEE-North t-shirts (in a full range of sizes for kids and grown ups). The shirt sales raise much needed money to support the birds and the organizations educational activities. While you are at the Market, you can make a contribution or sign up for a NorthWings of SEE-North membership. They are currently revising their website and I will add a link here when they get it done. UPDATE: You can now visit the new (and beautiful) SEE-North website.

The Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra has developed an ambitious concert schedule filled with fine chamber music over the last several years. Bob Pattingale, the orchestra's volunteer administrator, walked into the Artists Market a few days ago with a stack of DVD's of their 2007 concert, A Carnival of Animals. The concert features the well-known piano duo Yuki and Tomoko Mack who are Japanese born Michigan residents. The DVD's are now sitting on our main desk and are available for sale. More info about the Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra is available on their website, where they would be happy to let you sign up for a membership.

The Northern Michigan Artists Market has a long tradition (considering the fact that we are now all of five and a half years old, that is) of supporting community cultural and arts organizations. In addition to the Orchestra and SEE-North, we have been working with the Bergmann Center of Charlevoix, Michigan, in its service to individuals with developmental disabilities. For quite a while we have been selling the beautiful Lovelights, glass mosaic candle holders made in their workshop.

Over the last couple of years, we have helped raise money for a number of other community organizations by selling their products. These worthwhile groups include:
  • Jordan River Arts Council -- They have a delightful gallery in East Jordan, Michigan, where they offer numerous workshops, classes, exhibits and performances. We sell their beautiful cookbook, Flavors and Visions
  • Odawa Institute -- They work to revitalize Anishnaabemowin, the language of the Odawa Indians, and the Anishnaabe culture. We sell their map of Little Traverse Bay area labeled in Anishnaabemowin.
  • Univ of Michigan Residential College German Language Program -- We have sold their calendars to help support their annual trip to Germany.

Please join us in supporting these groups and the other wonderful organizations that make the Petoskey area such a great place to live or visit.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Vote for Downtown Petoskey

We know that Petoskey is one of the coolest downtowns anywhere. We have great people, pedestrian friendly streets, great local shops and amazing sunsets. One of the ways other people discover our coolness is when we make one of those magazine Best lists. Right now, Budget Travel Magazine is running a poll where readers can vote for America's Coolest Small Towns.

Last time I checked, Petoskey was listed as having quite a few votes but had not cracked the top ten. If you are into this sort of thing, why not check out the poll and vote for our favorite downtown. Don't delay -- polls close Friday, April 3, 2009.