30 ACRE LEGACY
THURSDAY, MAY 10th, 2012
While ’legacy’ refers to anything that can be handed down, in Michigan Legacy Art Park , ‘legacy’ refers to all that has gone before in the rich history, nature and art of the State of Michigan. It was this legacy that inspired David Barr, sculptor, artist and writer to establish the Michigan Legacy Art Park in 1995. Located in Benzie County, the park is situated on 30 acres of land owned by Crystal Mountain and leased to the Legacy Art Park for $1 per year. What a gift!
To raise operating funds for the park, and more important, acknowledge individuals that have made a significant contribution to the arts and culture of the State of Michigan, there is an annual Legacy Gala. Last August in his remarks to honor Governor and Mrs. William Milliken and their legacy to Michigan’s culture, park founder David Barr said “I feel enormous gratitude to the Milliken’s for their accomplishments especially in encouraging the flowering of cultural life in Michigan. Their lives have enriched the lives of many.” Seizing this opportunity to speak to a significant audience attending the gala, Barr inspired the audience with a rich history of the arts and its importance to society.
Illustrating a point he shared the following quotes:
The Nazi Herman Goering said, “Whenever I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my gun.”
The writer, Malcolm Muggeridge said, “Whenever I hear the word ‘gun,’ I reach for my culture.”
Throughout his comments Barr talked candidly about the “state of the arts in Michigan” – present in the audience was Governor Rick Snyder. Barr’s comments in his speech were so powerful that the folks at Michigan Legacy Art Park posted the entire speech on their website and encourage people to read it and support the arts in their own community. Read the speech here. Now, less than a year later, a dramatic proposed budget increase in arts funding has been announced for Michigan.
“Our mission is to inspire awareness, appreciation and passion for Michigan’s history, culture, and environment, through the arts,” said the park’s Executive Director, Renee Hintz. “We encourage our visitors to explore the people, places and events that have shaped Michigan by hiking the trails in our park. Each sculpture tells a story about a part of Michigan or Michigan’s history.
Michigan Legacy Art Park is a park for all seasons. Spring brings outdoor art experiences and environmental projects for dozens of groups of school kids from across Northern Michigan. Summer includes a musical concert series to celebrate Michigan’s musical diversity. Autumn is a beautiful time to experience the sculptures against a colorful backdrop of Michigan’s turning leaves. And, in winter, hard core outdoor lovers experience the displays by snowshoe or cross country ski.
Michael McGillis, one of the first sculptors to install a piece in the park, paid homage to the history of the White Pine in Michigan. His piece has become an iconic representation of the park. To read more about his pieces in the park and all of the other works of art, visit the website.
“Our kick-off for Summer 2012 is slated for May 20 and it is a family-oriented event. We are also installing our newest sculpture simply titled Michigan. It is a topographical map of Lake Michigan by Brian Ferriby,” shared Hintz.
The gift of a financial legacy, thanks to Crystal Mountain and many funding organizations and sponsors; an artistic legacy thanks to the many contributing artists; a cultural legacy, thanks in part to William and Helen Milliken; and a continuing celebration of Michigan’s legacy, thanks to you.