24th Annual Experimental Art Symposium

September 23rd - 29th 2015

Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City Bus Tours

Bus Tours Registration >>

Oliver Center ~ Sleeping Bear Dunes Tour

$57.00 pp including lunch

Towns of Glen Arbor, Glen Haven, Empire and Frankfort

Frankfort stands on the shores of Lake Michigan.  The pristine dunes, beaches and spectacular sunsets awe visitors and locals alike. Victorian homes dominate the picturesque, maple-lined streets and shoppers find unique items crafted by local artisans in Frankfort's specialty shops and galleries.  Just north of the town center, Point Betsie Lighthouse, one of Michigan's most photographed structures offers unique views of Lake Michigan and a rich history of times gone by.

This is also home of the Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts, which has been a cultural cornerstone of Benzie County since it was founded in 1948.  The center is located in the newly renovated U.S. Coast Guard Station at the mouth of the Betsie Bay, where three floors present two exhibition galleries, three spacious classrooms, a demonstration kitchen, office space, storage and artwork preparation space, an outdoor deck, and ceramics studio space, all of which are accessible to people with disabilities.

Glen Arbor is one of those small towns that makes it on almost everyone’s list of most beautiful places in Michigan.  The town sits on the shores of Lake Michigan, just north of the beautiful Glen Lake and is a vacationer and boaters paradise.  The western end of the lake takes you right up to one of Michigan's most famous natural wonders, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which features more than 70,000 acres of giant sand dunes and pristine beaches.  This is also where you will find the Cherry Republic, a

Glen Haven Historic Village is like stepping into the colorful past in this company-owned steamboat stop that operated from 1865 until 1931.  Sleeping Bearville, as it was originally called, was a natural harbor sought out by steamships sailing between Chicago and Buffalo.  In the General Store you will learn more about area history and can pick up some old-fashioned candy.  Built in 1867 as a company store, it provided goods for workers.  Lumber baron David Henry Day came to Glen Haven in 1878 to work and never left.  Today, the General Store carries merchandise and items related to the history of Glen Haven, including kitchenware, food, toys, and books.

Empire is a small village of about 400 people, located on the Lake Michigan side of the Leelanau Peninsula and is home to the Headquarters for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  With over 100,000 public votes, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore was named the "Most Beautiful Place in America" on ABC's Good Morning America.  Surrounded by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in a dynamic four-season paradise!  The Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is certainly a must-do activity when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The world-class vistas will give you a feel for Michigan that you may have never thought possible!

The Old Mission Tour

Cost:  $57.00 pp w/lunch

Light House, Wineries, Quilt Barns and Bella Galleria of Fine Art

Mission Point Lighthouse is located at the end of a picturesque drive along M-37 through cherry orchards and vineyards.  Mission Point Lighthouse stands as a classic piece of Michigan history. While it no longer guides mariners through West Grand Traverse Bay as it did from September 10, 1870 until it was decommissioned in 1933, Mission Point Lighthouse now offers visitors a peek into what life was like around the turn of the century for lighthouse keepers and for others who lived and worked in the area at the time.

Lighthouse Park guests are invited to enjoy self-guided historical tours through the Lighthouse (climb all the way up to the tower!), to visit our quaint gift shop, to peek into the historic Hessler Log Cabin, to explore the miles of unspoiled trails that run through and around the park (many of which are just as historic as the Lighthouse itself), to picnic, to photograph, to watch for birds and other wildlife, to stroll the beach, to gaze out at the sunset, and to simply relax. We hope to see you there!

The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula  (http://www.wineriesofoldmission.com/)

Jutting north between the azure arms of Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay lies Old Mission Peninsula. Situated at the globe's 45th parallel – an ideal climate for growing varietal wine grapes – the eight distinct wineries that comprise this stunning appellation have been well recognized by wine enthusiasts the world over. Discover the beauty of the Old Mission Peninsula and experience its award-winning wines: Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gewürztraminer, sparkling varieties and the prestigious ice wines.
Quilt Barns of Old Mission Peninsula
Bella Galleria

A quilt-barn tourism trail has bloomed in Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City.  Ten barns throughout the peninsula now sport painted quilt block designs that add to the landscape and surprise folks as they drive or bicycle. The quilt designs you will see on Old Mission barns have been chosen and financed by the barn owners themselves. These images have historical and personal significance to the barn owners. Some choose traditional quilt block designs and others created designs that reflect their lives, work, and values.

The Bella Galleria is a gallery of fine art showcasing the original artwork of local and regional artists working in many media and artforms. Attached to the Old Mission Tavern restaurant, the gallery features the work of over 75 artists and revolving exhibits year-round.  The 1500 sq. ft. gallery and banquet hall adjoins the restaurant and was opened in 1994.

Next door to the gallery and the restaurant is the sculpture studio of Verna Bartnick, the owner of the Tavern and Bella Galleria. Verna is a sculptor in bronze, direct metal and fused glass and is one of the area’s most widely known and respected artists.

Historic Tour of The Village of Grand Traverse & The Botanic Garden Tour
Cost: Tunnel Tour $30.00pp Botanic Garden Tour $30.00pp


The Village of Grand Traverse “The Commons” was formerly the Traverse City State Hospital grounds. You will learn about Dr. Munson’s “Beauty is Therapy” theory on patient care, the former uses of the structures on the property, the purpose of the architecture and more. The historic tour will take guests through an unrenovated cottage, to see the state of the buildings left to decay after the hospitals closure in 1989. The group will proceed to a “work-in-progress” renovation and then explore the underground tunnel system. You will also be led to a renovated hallway within Building 50 to see first-hand the details of a historic renovation. All the while, the Tour Guide will discuss the history of mental illness in this country, the architecture of the buildings, the history of the Traverse City State Hospital in general and the ongoing renovation process led by The Minervini Group and MAM Contracting. Last but not least, you will have the opportunity to view the art on display in Building 50. And yes, you may take as many pictures as you’d like. However, video recording is not permitted. (http://www.thevillagetc.com/)

The Botanic Garden is located in the heart of Traverse City – on the beautiful grounds of Historic Barnes Park - The Botanic Garden will be a year-round sanctuary of environmental preservation, recreation and education. Its 25 acres will nurture the soul, enliven our history and promote Michigan’s natural beauty. With an emphasis on plant species native to northwest Michigan, it will create and enhance habitats for various forms of wildlife. As a place of refreshment and solace, The Botanic Garden’s unique and original design will inform and inspire. After over a decade of careful planning and preparation, the garden is coming alive. The Botanic Garden seeks to preserve our community’s history by honoring its distinct past. As we are proud of the grounds and buildings that once were the Traverse City State Hospital, we are also proud of the site’s future that we are helping shape.

Although much of The Botanic Garden remains under development, currently there are many recreational opportunities in place for visitors to enjoy. The Botanic Garden will be a gift for many generations, so it is critical to build such a garden around beautiful and functional design. The internationally acclaimed landscape architecture firm, Nelson Byrd Woltz was selected to design the master plan. This plan respects and celebrates the history, ecology and location of the site while bringing the garden a sustainable framework of function and beauty. You will have the opportunity to see and learn about the orchards and gardens that were planted and maintained by and for the residents of the hospital. The many recreational areas include paved trails the length of Historic Barns Park, wooded paths abound or relax under a canopy of towering century-old maples in the Picnic Grove. Stop at the Visitor Center’s interpretive area and gift shop or step outside to relax in the courtyard, with Conversation Circle and Silo Pool. The tour also includes the Historic Barns that are under renovation for future events, the Pavilion, the mowed Labyrinth, the Walled Garden and the Sleigh Garden House. Along the way you will see a tribute to Traverse Colantha Walker, a world champion cow that provided much of the milk for the residents at the Commons. (http://thebotanicgarden.org/)

Leelanau County Galleries ~ Fishtown Tour
$57.00 pp w/lunch


Shopping in Fishtown and Suttons Bay

Northern Michigan's commercial fishing heritage remains alive today in Leland's Fishtown! Walk along the docks, amongst the weathered fishing shanties, smokehouses, racks of drying fishing nets, and fish tugs on the Leland River, and you can imagine what it would have been like in the early 1900s to live and work in this small fishing village, nestled along the shore of Lake Michigan. Fishtown still operates as one of the only working commercial fishing villages in the state of Michigan.

Many of the shanties now house delightful gift and clothing boutiques, art galleries and specialty food shops. Summer bustles with activity, and during colder seasons the docks become quiet and tranquil. Visit Fishtown anytime of the year, and discover why it remains a favorite destination for visitors and locals alike!

Suttons Bay is the gateway to Leelanau County and lies midway up the eastern shore of Leelanau Peninsula. This year ‘round coastal village has a quality all its’ own…specialty shops, galleries, unique dining experiences, B&B’s and historic inns make this place a truly ‘walkable village’. Marina Park is an ideal spot for a family day at the beach. The schoolship schooner, Inland Seas, is docked on the south side of the marina. With hiking trails at Bahle Park and the TART trail on the edge of town, you can bike, hike or run to your hearts’ content. Surrounded by rolling vineyards you will find yourself in the heart of Michigan wine country.

Art Galleries will also be a part of this tour. There will be plenty of opportunity to visit the art galleries at each destination, including Suttons Bay, Omena and Northport. Galleries will include the Tamarack Gallery, Wright Gallery, Edee Joppich Gallery and more.


© ISEA
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software