Michigan Legacy Art Park offers summer excitement

“King Stanley” is one of the first sculptures visitors to Michigan Legacy Art Park can view as they head out on the trail. (Photo/Robert Myers)

By ROBERT MYERS
Pioneer News Network

THOMPSONVILLE — Whether your passion is nature, art, music, local history or all of the above, the Michigan Legacy Art Park is a summer destination you might enjoy.

Michigan Legacy Art Park first opened in 1995 in an effort led by internationally acclaimed artist David Barr, who can be remembered by his many creations decorating the park. The 30-acre forest preserve sits in the middle of Crystal Mountain, featuring 49 permanent sculptures and 31 poetry stones, designed specifically to fit in with their surroundings and honor the history of the area.

Though the park is open year-round and a popular snowshoeing destination in the winter months, spring and summer will see visitor rates increase dramatically.

David Pedtrakovitz created “Mysterious Traveler” for the park in 2005. (Photo/Robert Myers)

About 10,000 people visit the park each summer.

One of the art park’s major draws each summer is its Summer Sounds Concert Series. Beginning in July, Michigan Legacy Art Park will host six concerts at its outdoor amphitheater. All concerts will take place from 7-9 p.m. and feature an eclectic mix of music.

Concert dates are as follows:

• July 5: Nina and the Buffalo Riders;

• July 12: Last Gasp Collective;

• July 19: The Go Rounds with Charlie Millard Band;

• July 26: Channing & Quinn;

• Aug. 3: The Bootstrap Boys; and

• Aug. 10: The Ragbirds.

All concerts are family friendly and free to kids 12 and younger. Tickets may be purchased at michlegacyartpark.org/summer-sounds or by calling (231) 378-4963.

New this year, food trucks will also be present at Michigan Legacy Art Park on concert nights.

While the concert series will wrap up in early August, the middle of the month has two big dates to mark on the calendar.

On Aug. 15, the art park will introduce a brand new event. Michigan Legacy Art Park is collaborating with the Crooked Tree Art Center (located in Traverse City and Petoskey) to host a quick draw competition as part of the Crooked Tree Art Center’s painting festival called Paint Grand Traverse.

“Bonnet” honors pioneer life. (Photo/Robert Myers)

As part of the quick draw competition at Michigan Legacy Art Park, more than 100 painters from around the world will gather all over Crystal Mountain and the art park. The artists will paint for two hours. Then, a jury will award cash awards for the top paintings.

“It’s kind of like the Oscars meets America’s Got Talent with painting,” Beyer said. “It’s a fun, casual event. People can come out that day, and Make It Benzie is sponsoring free chair lift rides.”

At the end of the day, Beyer said that the paintings will be for sale at an affordable price. The proceeds from the sale will be shared between the artists and the art park.

Michigan Legacy Art Park will hold its Legacy Gala Banquet the very next day, on Aug. 16. This year, they will honor 94-year old artist Charles McGee. His family plans to attend the banquet to accept the award on his behalf.

“Charles has been working as an artist in Detroit for almost eight decades and has a lot of amazing murals all over downtown Detroit,” Beyer said. “They have become part of the city. Many years ago, he came up to Thompsonville when the Art Park was being built and visited it. He was friends with David Barr, who founded the Art Park.

“We picked Charles, because we are all huge admirers of his work, and then we found out after he accepted the invitation that there were all of these connections with Crystal Mountain that we didn’t know about.

“He used to come up here and play tennis, softball and golf with David Barr, and they talked about what they wanted the art park to become. He’s a really interesting person.”

Michigan Legacy Art Park is open every day of the year from dusk to dawn.  For more information about the art park, visit michiganlegacyartpark.org.

Nolan Simon created “Table and Chairs No. 3” in 2001. (Photo/Robert Myers)

 

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