The anchor of arts and culture in Petoskey is turning its eye toward Traverse City.
Crooked Tree Arts Center is one of the strongest community arts centers in the Midwest, with a $2.5 million dollar annual budget and a $5.4 million dollar endowment. It’s in talks with Traverse City’s ArtCenter about a possible merger.
Crooked Tree would beef up the modest Traverse City organization that currently has no gallery or studio space of its own.
ArtCenter would give Crooked Tree a foothold around Grand Traverse Bay. Leaders at Crooked Tree have a lofty goal of creating a national arts destination of the region from Manistee north to Mackinac Island. The trail would have two key hubs, in Traverse City and Petoskey.
Reporter Ann Stanton has been covering the story for the Traverse City Ticker. She says some arts nonprofits in Traverse City are worried about the competition.
“Unlike Petoskey, we do have a lot of arts nonprofits,” Stanton told IPR. “So when a very dominant force comes into town I think everybody’s just kind of looking around wondering what will happen.”
But Stanton says she’s talked with several artists who would welcome the merger because it would increase connections in the in the visual arts between Traverse City and Petoskey, and because many Traverse City area artists say they have trouble finding venues to display their work.