When I was moving back to Traverse City after attending college in Ann Arbor, I was wary about what kinds of "academic" opportunities would be available, if any. Lucky for me, TC has grown in all kinds of ways since I was in high school, and there are plenty of learning activities and speaker events out there.
As a History of Art major, I was thrilled to hear that the Art Center of Traverse City was hosting a six-week lecture series called "What is Art, Anyway?" They have different panels slated for each week to discuss what art is, and based on some of the speakers they have lined up (graffiti artists, gallery owners, and even this past years' ArtPrize winner!), it is geared up to be a great series.
The other part of this series that was particular exciting to me was the location: The Box. Back in its day, The Box was a cigar factory. Much later in its life, and just prior to the major renovations that converted it into a beautiful event space, it was the gym I went to for years. I'd not been inside The Box yet, and I was itching to see how the space was converted from a place where I took Spinning lessons and read way too many magazines on elliptical machines.
I wasn't the least bit disappointed: The Box is gorgeous. It's an open layout that doubles as a living and entertaining space. The space is modern but intimate, and the tone is very cozy and warm. I loved the high ceilings, wood floors, and magnificent kitchen. I'll look for any excuse to visit The Box again!
I went to the first art lecture, which included three artists: Ann Loveless (the 2013 ArtPrize winner), Del Michel, and Bob Purvis. There were a ton of people there, and even though I was among the younger attendees, I would highly recommend the lecture series to people of all ages and educational backgrounds. The audience actively participated and lots of great questions and conversations were thrown into the mix.
It was great to get the perspective of three different (and successful) artists from our area. They talked about the growth they've made as artists, the moments they first knew they were artists, and took questions from the crowd about their work, vision, and what art means to them as artists. Plenty of folks from the audience had their own opinions about art, too, but it did make for engaging dialogue. All in all, it was a really enjoyable lecture and I'm looking forward to attending another one before the end of the series (plus, it means another visit to The Box).
If you're looking to attend this lecture series, you can learn more about each week's lecture here. Personally, I think their graffiti, street art, and tattoo art lecture looks really interesting, and it's definitely geared towards a younger generation. Keep your eyes peeled for other great speaking events in our area...if you're an academic, you'll find plenty of opportunities to keep your mind sharp in TC!