2017-04-27 / Life in Leelanau

Big slate of Northport exhibits begins with elite car designers

Arts thrive at new center


CHRISTINE VERDON, president of the Northport Arts Association, admires a piece of art at the October opening of the Village Arts Building, which will host a slate of exhibits in the coming months. CHRISTINE VERDON, president of the Northport Arts Association, admires a piece of art at the October opening of the Village Arts Building, which will host a slate of exhibits in the coming months. The Northport Art Association’s inaugural summer schedule of arts exhibits is blossoming thanks to several grants from local boosters.

The Leelanau Township Community Foundation (LTCF) recently pledged $13,700 to support five NAA arts exhibits over the summer.

The program also got a grant from Freenjoy, the Los Angeles production company owned by 2017 Grammy winner Nathan Scherrer. He’s a Northport native and 2007 graduate of Northport High School.

Four of the five exhibits will be staged in the NAA’s new home, the Village Arts Building.

 The NAA’s inaugural slate of exhibits begins on Memorial Day weekend with “Cars as Art,” a worthy addition to Northport’s already popular “Cars in the Park” auto show.

Project Director Keith Ashley has lined up some 200 concept car drawings produced by the best of Detroit’s professional designers from 1950’s to the present to the Northport arts venue. The exhibit is unique to Northern Michigan and presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the evolution of designs that helped build Detroit into the 20th century manufacturing center of the world.

Some of those designers live in Leelanau County, including Jim Ebejer, who designed the Dodge Charger; Ernie Barry, who designed cars for Ford and Chrysler; Jerry Palmer, who designed the 1974 Corvette; and Bill Collins, who is known as the father of the Pontiac GTO.

Collins can be credited for the Village Arts Building itself, as he underwrote its construction for the group at no charge.

The exhibit will open with a reception on Friday, May 26, with all designers on hand. A $15 charge will include wine and hors d’oeuvres.

The project will continue free of charge from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 27, and from 10 a.m.-noon Sunday, May 28.

 SPARK! An Exhibition of Artists Under 40 will follow on June 15-26 and provide a venue for young and emerging artists to publicly display and sell their work, in some cases for the first time.

The juried show, funded by Scherrer’s company, offers more than $1,000 in prize money and a very low commission rate on sales.

Project Director Moira Racich is actively seeking submissions for the exhibition. Racich is also a graduate of Northport, as well as a prize-winning artist who holds MIT degrees in engineering and the humanities.

 Northport’s Arts History exhibit will run from June 30 to July 9 to celebrate and honor Leelanau Township-based artists that helped create an art legacy for the community.

Starting with Native traditional arts including quill work and baskets, to later greats such as Hans Anderson, Emily Nash Smith and dozens of cottage-based artists, project Director John Mitchell and his crew are bringing together the work of ancestors who have become a source of pride and inspiration to Northport’s thriving artists community.

 From July 29-30, the Village Arts Building will host the NAA’s popular Plein Air PaintOut, an exhibition directed by Northport’s award winning landscape painter Gene Rantz.

This year the show has been expanded to include a Saturday evening “Golden Hour” of painting to supplement Sunday’s scenes. Paintings of Northport Village and its surrounding countryside will be available for sale at the Sunday evening finale.

 The Leelanau UnCaged street festival will be held Sept. 30. In its fifth year, the festival offers fun, food and a broad range of the arts in action.

For more information or for volunteer opportunities, contact NAA exhibit Chair John Mitchell at 620-1246, or visit www.northportartsforall.com.

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