Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Day at the Dennos Museum

Hello, everyone! 

I am going to make a strong effort to limit myself in photographs for this post. Every week (schedule allowing), I volunteer in the Collections area of the Dennos Museum. This allows me to utilize my History of Art degree in Traverse City and also be up-close-and-personal with the artwork. I love that I have this opportunity, and it has given me the chance to fully embrace the gem of an art museum that we have here in TC. Plus, it allows me to visit the museum after-hours to snap some great photos!

Currently, the Dennos has a fantastic triple play of exhibits. I'll share a few of my favorite pieces and details from each of them. 

When you first walk into the atrium, bright colorful "wings" hang from the ceiling. These unique and totally individualized pieces are the works of Rufus Snoddy, and are a part of his "Wings of Icarus" exhibit.

At first, I was more taken in by the effect of having all these pieces hanging from the ceiling, because it's a different way to display a sculpture court: hang the pieces above instead of having something on the ground. I wasn't totally into the pieces themselves until I started looking at them one by one instead of all together. Snoddy uses all different kinds of materials, color schemes, and themes. As wonderful as they are to see all together, the works stand well on their own, too.

The largest gallery room is filled with contemporary Japanese Bamboo art. I was stunned by these works and the incredible intricacy, eye for detail, and mechanics that went into creating all these pieces. They were all true works of science, math, and art. It's hard for me to imagine the time and patience these artists devote to their work. Not all the pieces are repetitive or symmetrical; there are some abstract pieces, too, but just as thoroughly planned and executed based on the detail put into each piece.

I took a lot of detailed shots of the bamboo pieces, because when standing close to these works the true craftsmanship and complexity of each work really showed. Even just mapping these pieces out logistically and systematically before working on them must take forever! 

My favorite of all the current exhibits are the works of Larry Cressman. Aside from the fact that Cressman is a professor at my alma mater (I wish I could've met him!), I positively love the delicacy, intimacy, and tangibility of his pieces.

Cressman challenges the idea of the line as a stagnant thing on a piece of paper, and the validity (or lack thereof) of the line in nature (since we often thing of lines as something that is drawn, man-made, or a part of an unnatural construction or shape like a square). Working with pins, Cressman suspends his works away from the gallery wall and his beautiful artwork seems to float in space. It is a surreal experience to stand in front of his work and appreciate the fragility of each piece and the love that Cressman put into installing each piece on the gallery walls. 

I love that Cressman uses natural elements like stems and twigs to showcase the lines in nature, but brought into a gallery meant to display man-made artwork (typically mounted on the walls). The way Cressman's pieces hover in midair makes them feel ethereal, as if they are part of an entirely different dimension. I got lost trying to following the lines of each work as the elements crisscrossed and overlapped one another. The shadows and light of the room play into each piece, too, which creates another set of lines in each piece.

If you'd like to check out any of these works, I recommend doing it this weekend, because it is the last time the Cressman and Japanese bamboo artwork will be on display. There will be a fantastic new exhibit coming up in June, but more on that later...go check these out if you're interested!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

NMC BBQ & Guest Blogger Sara Hartley

It was like a Norman Rockwell 4th of July came early on Sunday at the NMC BBQ. Enough people to populate a small city came onto the college campus for the grub and good times. The mood was inspired by the fair weather and amazing planning that kept the lines moving and friendly greetings hailing. Honestly, had there been a square dance and a barber shop quartet all bedecked in seersucker, they wouldn't have been a bit out of place. There were games for the kids tumbling out of the moon-bounce with cotton candy in their hair and fake tattoos on every limb. There were exhibits of robotics and renewable energy alongside LARPers and inflato-gladiators. This was some four-star people-watching!

Grandparents watched their grand kids making new friends, young couples sat in the grass under the trees listening to local musicians like Billy Strings and Blake Elliot. Every so often a loud “toot toot” came from the boiler room counting off how many thousands of people had come out to be a part of this down-home tradition. While NMC seemed pretty proud of counting up those thousands, you could still see the identity of a small Michigan town on the faces of the stompy-footy kids being dragged away from the cake-walk, the grandparents sitting in the shade ready with the Benadryl and band-aids, the brother holding his little sister’s hand and the parents who look forward to washing the dust and sugar off of these exhausted little feet and hands and knowing there won’t be a fight about sleeping tonight.

But the BBQ isn't just for families. Those of us who are all grown up, with or without kids of our own, got a full day out of our $6 tickets too. We got to remember traditions, smile back at the strangers and feel like we finally opened the windows and got the winter out! This fabulous tradition is just the starting shot for our fun-run through a summer up north.

Sara Hartley

Friday, May 17, 2013

And the 2013 Athena Award goes to...

Hello again everyone!

Cathie Martin = the best woman ever.

 Cathy was recently honored as the 2013 Athena Award recipient at a banquet at the Hagerty Conference Center of Northerwest Michigan College.

In case you don't know what the Athena Award is, each year the Athena organization selects, based on nominations, one community leader based on the following criteria. Success in personal and professional activities, community activities, volunteerism, supporting other women and mentoring.

“The Athena model is authentic self, celebration and joy, collaboration, advocacy, giving back, learning and relationships,” said Athena Award co-chair Jan Bassett.

Martin has donated tens of thousands of volunteer hours (INSANE) to a variety of organizations and charities, serving at the local, state, national and international levels. She is also member and past chair of the Munson Healthcare Regional Foundation board, as well as a longtime Zonta member.

In order to get Cathie to come to the awards ceremony, it took a little tomfoolery as she was planning to go to her granddaughters school concert. She only agreed to attend the 19th Annual Athena Awards banquet as she thought someone else was being selected for the award. Gotcha :)

After a very impressive and tear-jerking introduction by the 2012 Athena Award recipient  Ranae McCauley, Martin took the stage to a standing ovations of 150+ attendees, family & friends.

For the first time in the history of Athena, the organization also awarded two scholarships for the Traverse City Chamber's Mini-MBA program, in collaboration with Ferris State University. John Stocki (ME!) and Courtney Sorrell were the lucky recipients of the scholarships. We will start the 9-month program in September.

All photos were provided courtesy of Karen Youker Photography. Visit!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Short's Brewery

Hey folks, Mo here! Recently, we rang in a friend's birthday by making our way out to Short's Brewing in a giant van stuffed full of 15 people (designated driving courtesy of the birthday boy's dad).

This was a real treat for all of us, since Short's is located in Bellaire--about an hour northeast of Traverse City--and was one of the first microbreweries that made northern Michigan its home in 2004 before the fad took off up here. They really paved the way for a successful brewery business model, and they set the bar high.

Shorts has made their mark, and they are a very popular microbrew up here for all the right reasons They make some of the best beer around (some of the names just make me want to try them!) and they have a wide variety suitable for all different types of people. I'm not a huge beer fan, but I cherish every sip of their Soft Parade.

Like any bar on a Friday night, Short's was busy and bustling! It was comfortable inside, which was perfect for getting out of the rainy evening, and dinner was being served everywhere I turned. Of course we had to try one of their fantastic sandwiches. YUM.

I loved the atmosphere at Short's. It was only my second time visiting their original location, but it is such a sincere, genuine, and heartfelt place that it felt like home. Everyone was having a good time, excited for the weekend and enjoying the last few weeks we'll have as locals before tourist season begins.

We were reminded quickly about the wonderful potency of Short's brews, and next thing we knew we were dancing and singing along with the fantastic band Shady Hill, who provided us with the entertainment for the evening (though by the end of the night, I'd say we were providing a fair share of the entertainment ourselves).

Long story about Short's, but I'd highly recommend visiting their stomping grounds if you are up for an outside-the-city adventure. Bellaire is a cute little town with lots of character, and it makes a great summer destination any night of the week.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Guest Blogger: Garrett Boursaw

Traverse City is one of the greatest places to grow up. It took a few years into college for me to realize this, but I when I did, I knew it would be the place I also wanted to work. It wasn't always that way: it took me hearing from friends at college about their lack of love for the places that they grew up that made me appreciate where I was raised.

I was born and raised on the Old Mission peninsula like the multiple generations of family before me. I attended Old Mission Elementary where some life-long friendships began and still exist today. I went on the East Junior High and then Central High School. I learned skills at Central High that would help me through college and into my working career. I was the Editor-in-Chief of the 2006 Pines Yearbook, which gave me an inside look into many of the students that grew up here alongside me and what the different areas of our community had to offer. In the spring of 2006 I graduated moved to Midland, MI to attend Northwood University. I attended Northwood for both undergrad and graduate school. During the time at Northwood I was able to experience many different opportunities for travel and internships that starting shaping my return to Traverse City.

In the summer of 2007 I was offered a position as an intern for Delphi Automotive Systems in their Product and Service Solutions division of Sales Administration. This removed me from summers Traverse City and placed me in Troy, MI. This was a bit of shock: I realized what traffic really means and how much I missed living near the water. When my time came to end there and was time to select my next internship, I came back home and took a job with one of the area’s greatest organizations and festivals. I became the operations intern for the National Cherry Festival.
I always volunteered for the National Cherry Festival and helped in the office when school would let out in the summer when I was growing up, but this was different: I was working full-time in Traverse City for the summer for one of the community’s greatest assets. I worked with a great team at the NCF where I took in life lessons and “teachable moments” that I still remember and use today. When I got back to Northwood that fall, it dawned on me how much I had learned and the doors that opened with that internship. I learned things that gave me the experience to run the operations and logistics for North America’s largest outdoor new car auto show in Midland, MI. As my auto show time was coming to an end, so was my undergraduate schooling. I was looking for jobs, but still had my thirst for education, so I decided to continue on with graduate school at the Devos Graduate School. While I was learning in the classroom, I decided that I needed to start looking for a career and where I wanted to live. This is when I truly realized that I did grow up in the best place on earth and that I would move back to Traverse City.

I moved back to Traverse City after graduate school and started the long job search and interviewing until one afternoon when I ended up having coffee with one of my longtime high school friends and we decided to stop and say hi to the Ford family. This day started the process for me working at Ford Insurance Agency. Working in the insurance and risk management field is the perfect way for me to give back to the community I love through protecting our regions property and my friends and neighbors from financial hardship if they experienced a loss. This was a win for me.

Now, as I write this post, so much is running through my mind. However, I believe I nailed down the three reasons that I moved back and decided to start a career here. The first is the people that live and grew-up here. They helped shaped who I am and have been some of the greatest friends over the years. My family has lived on Old Mission for generations and most of my family lived within a few miles of where I grew-up.

The second reason that I felt moving back to Traverse City was the right choice was my pride in the place where I was born, grew up, and had the opportunity to come back and be an involved citizen through working and actively volunteering in our community. We have so many opportunities in Traverse City to give back to our community like Junior Achievement, the National Cherry Festival, or volunteering with Traverse City Young Professionals.

The third and final theme that I believe influenced my decision to move back was the city itself. Our vibrant little gem nestled between Leelanau and Antrim counties with our great restaurants, breweries, wineries, and natural beauty is hard to find, and makes Traverse City a great place to continue to grow up.

-Garrett Boursaw