More Than Meets the Eye: Discover the Arts Scene in This Hidden Gem Michigan City
World-class collections and a wide selection of concerts and performances keep residents and visitors busy — and inspired.
The arts have been an important part of our culture for more than a century. There are theaters, museums, public art exhibitions, galleries and festivals throughout the area to keep you busy all year long. Here’s a roundup of a few of our favorites:
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Public Art Installations
Downtown Muskegon features more than two dozen outdoor art works for the viewing year round. Among these are: Muskegon, Together Rising, a 58-foot-high sculpture of welded stainless-steel by sculptor Richard Hunt. Another example, the Monet Garden, transformed a vacant city lot into a picturesque pocket park inspired by the famous garden in France.
Art Museums & Galleries
Muskegon Museum of Art showcases a world-class collection of the visual arts with permanent and temporary exhibitions, educational programs, family-friendly activities and a gift shop. Red Lotus Center for the Arts, in a historic Muskegon building, sells locally created art and gifts and also offers classes, art receptions, concerts and other performances. Art Cats Gallery, now in its 20th year, is located in Muskegon’s Lakeside District and carries a wide selection of original paintings, prints, glass, pottery and jewelry. The Arts Council of White Lake and The Nuveen Center bring the arts to the community through classes, workshops, lectures, exhibits and events.
The West Michigan Symphony was established more than 75 years ago and performs eight subscription concerts each season featuring talented local and guest artists from throughout the world. Located in a restored 1890 building in Muskegon, The Block is a modern, intimate performance space that hosts a 12-concert core series spanning genres such as folk, jazz, world music and classical chamber music. Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp is a summer school of the arts on a 1,600-acre campus in scenic Manistee National Forest.
Theater & Performing Arts
Muskegon Civic Theatre produces several shows each year and runs youth programs, a theater school and a program for people with developmental disabilities. Whitehall’s Howmet Playhouse, which was recently renovated and renamed The Playhouse at White Lake, has been presenting fine arts and entertainment to the greater West Michigan area since 1916. The Frauenthal Center is a gathering place in the historic heart of Muskegon for culture and hosts performances, art exhibitions, workspaces and special events in its Spanish-Renaissance design.
Downtown Muskegon’s Lakeshore Art Festival features fine art, crafts, music and food with more than 350 juried fine art and craft exhibitors, as well as children’s activities and an artisan foods market. The annual Norton Shores Arts & Drafts Festival is a two-day August event in Ross Park by Mona Lake that combines the arts with a beverage tent and family- friendly activities. White Lake Arts & Crafts Festival is held each June in Whitehall’s Goodrich Park and features music, a 5K run and more than 70 juried artists selling everything from wood furniture to stained glass.