Art Growth In Downtown Traverse City Impacts Downtown Economy

Art is an irreplaceable layer of downtown Traverse City and its presence only continues to grow.

The Traverse City Downtown Development Authority says art is not only bringing more life to the area, but it’s adding to the economy.

Megan Woods has details on the developing artistic experience.

“I had artist hold me outside the gallery two years ago saying, “Please don’t do this galleries don’t make it in Traverse City.”                

Now the Michigan Artists Gallery is thriving. Owner Sue Ann Round says it’s forcing them to extend their most recent exhibit, Channeling Picasso. “We have invited over 40 artists who do their own interpretation of a little known piece that he did in 1939 called Women with Green Hat. Some people did self-portraits, social commentating, it’s really an incredible show to see how many variations."

The exhibit encourages people to vote for their top three favorites, not everyone votes, but as of this week the Gallery has counted 1,800 votes, more votes than expected.

It’s not just about the artistic experience you get from an art gallery or theatre, art can be seen just about anywhere downtown.

Rob Bacigalupi, Traverse City DDA Executive Director, says, “Right now there’s an art piece going up in Lay Park which will be unveiled on June 13th at noon and that is the Bryan J. Crough Memorial.”

Bacigalupi says a quarter of a million people a year come into town to enjoy the arts whether it’s at the City Opera House, the State Theatre, Bijou by the Bay or the Old Town Playhouse.

“A lot of those people are having dinner they’re lingering before and after the show they’re buying things so that has a huge economic impact on downtown.”

The DDA says with the city’s new art commission the growth in art is just beginning.

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