Traverse City News and Events

City Approves Public Art Projects

By Beth Milligan | Nov. 20, 2018

Traverse City commissioners gave conceptual approval to two proposed waterfront public art projects Monday.

The board’s unanimous support paves the way for the city’s Arts Commission to proceed with the two projects, which are targeted for the Clinch Park tunnel and the outside south-facing wall of the Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS) boathouse in Hull Park. The proposed Clinch Park tunnel art is intended to be “culturally reflective” of the Woodland Indians of the Great Lakes and more specifically, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The piece is proposed to be a mural that will be a digitally printed replication of an original work of art installed on a panelized system attached to both of the tunnel walls, covering over 600 square feet. The mural will be completed by a commissioned artist through an open call for entries; the artwork will be changed out in the future to develop a rotating exhibition.

The proposed budget for the Clinch Park tunnel art project is $70,000 – with $60,000 proposed to come from private donations and grant funding, and $10,000 proposed to come from the city’s Public Arts Trust Fund.

City commissioners also approved a second public art installation Monday: an 8'x60' sculptural mural that will be attached to the outside south-facing wall of the TACS boathouse, called the Gordon and Jean Cornwell Sailing Center, in Hull Park. The project will be a permanent work of art and become part of the Art Commission’s collection. It is also one of three exhibits planned in 2019 for the newly created Boardman Lake Art Trail. The project is being largely financed by a private donor: Of the proposed $25,000 budget, $20,000 will come from private funding, while $5,000 is proposed to come from the Public Arts Trust Fund.

City commissioners expressed their excitement over the projects, particularly the Clinch Park proposal, which will restore artwork to the park's tunnel walls. The tunnel previously hosted Anishinaabek art and language on its walls by artist Lois Beardslee until the tunnel was painted over when Clinch Park was reconstructed in 2013. “I’m really excited about this project,” said Commissioner Amy Shamroe, a sentiment echoed by Commissioner Brian McGillivary. “It’s a really cool project,” he said. “It’s a long time coming.”

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