461 E. Mitchell St.
Petoskey Michigan 49770United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Housed in a 120-year old church, Petoskey's Crooked Tree Arts Center has been home to northwest Michigan's cultural development for almost half a century.
Crooked Tree Arts Center, housed in a 120-year old church atop Petoskey's downtown, holds galleries, exhibition space, a theater and studios. Its beginnings, however, were decidedly more humble. In 1971, seven local residents decided to form a center that would embrace cultural development in northwest Michigan, nurture its artists and create a place for its development. Forty years later, it appears that they have succeeded. Today, the busy Center counts over 1,200 members who take classes, exhibit art and encourage cultural expansion throughout northern Michigan. The meticulously restored Methodist church clings to a bit of its ecclesiastical roots. Original stained-glass windows are still in place, and the nave has been repurposed as both a theater and event space for performing arts. During the summer, numerous courses are available for children, as are events like the "Paint Out," an outdoor activity in which locals can check out canvases, spend the day painting en plein air, and then return them for exhibition throughout the summer. Shoppers will be engaged, too. The gift shop, staffed by enthusiastic volunteers, sells local jewelry, ceramics, photography, paintings and sculpture, and galleries exhibit a variety of work. The center awards prizes to local artists, and its successful fund-raisers ensure that the area arts scene remains vibrant.