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Arts and Culture

Traverse City is the hub for the Grand Traverse Region’s creative community. Traverse City has notably been named twice in the past three years to the Top 10 Most Arts-Vibrant Medium Communities in the 2020 and 2018 Arts Vibrancy Index report by the National Center for Arts Research.

Whether it’s live performances, gallery exhibitions, or published works, access to arts and culture is plentiful across the entire region.


Michigan’s Creative Coast Podcast Episode: A Theatre Under the Stars

This episode features Erin Anderson-Whiting & Kit McKay, co-founders of Parallel 45 Theatre, and their story of bringing the kind of world-class theater usually found in big cities to a town of only 15,000 people.

Michigan’s Creative Coast Podcast Episode: Answering Your Calling

This episode features Heather Spooner, founder of Ampersand Lettering Lab and her story about the flight that pushed her to quit her job, launch a new career, and open her heart to love.


Many – but not all – regional arts and culture attractions

City Opera House features two world-class Performing Arts series featuring professional national-touring artists, multiple arts education programs for learners ages 8-18, and hosts an active schedule of public and private community events year-round.

Interlochen Center for the Arts offers summer arts camp programs for students in grades 3-12, arts boarding school for students in grades 9-12, and arts programs for adults of all ages. Interlochen also hosts hundreds of concerts and events and is home to two award-winning public radio stations.

The Dennos Museum Center seeks to engage, enlighten, and entertain its audiences through the collection of art, and the presentation of exhibitions and programs in the visual arts, sciences, and performing arts.

The State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay present the very best new movies, with world-class picture, screen, and sound — right downtown in Traverse City. The State and the Bijou are owned and operated by the Traverse City Film Festival.

Crooked Tree offers exhibits, concerts, classes, lectures, special events, and more from its campus in Traverse City.

Michigan Legacy Art Park is a nonprofit organization located on a 30-acre preserve of wooded hills in Benzie County.

Parallel 45 Theatre produces cutting-edge interpretations of plays & musicals, giving familiar stories new life – and fresh relevance – for our northwest Michigan audience.

Old Town Playhouse was created in April 1960 to bring amateur theatre to northern Michigan. Located just three blocks from downtown Traverse City, the Old Town Playhouse season runs annually from September through May with a variety of productions.

The Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network is an arts and cultural services organization dedicated to connecting, promoting, and supporting the individuals, organizations and creative projects that create and further arts and culture in Northern Lower Michigan.

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians is a federally recognized Native American tribe located in northwest Michigan on the Leelanau Peninsula.

The National Writers Series was created 10 years ago by people who had a dream of inviting authors from all over the country to talk about their books and what makes their writing hearts tick.

The International Affairs Forum at Northwestern Michigan College is committed to being a leading community resource on critical issues facing the world.

Mashup Rock & Roll Musical brings a unique and irreverent rock & roll theatre experience to Northern Michigan, while challenging both their audiences and themselves to move outside their own perspectives.

Created in 2015, the Traverse City Horse Shows and Flintfields Horse Park has grown into one of the top events and venues in North America.

The Traverse City Dance Project is a seasonal dance company in Traverse City Michigan founded and directed by Jennifer McQuiston Lott and Brent Whitney.


Photography by Allen Kent Photography and Harpe Star.