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Native American art returning to Clinch Park tunnel

The Clinch Park tunnel in Traverse City will soon be home to new public art. The city commission unanimously approved the location and $10,000 in public funding for the project on Monday. Artists around the country will now submit designs for the tunnel walls.

Nate Elkins is director of the Traverse City Arts Commission. He says the art will be on panels and will rotate every three to five years.

“Potentially the idea is that over time this collection could become an exhibition in itself, and be able to be loaned to other art organizations or communities to display,” he says.

The art will reflect local Native American history. The arts commission and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians will work together to choose an artist.

“The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the tribes that were here many, many years ago valued Clinch Park and they valued the Boardman River, and the mouth of the Boardman River,” says Elkins. “I think this is an opportunity through art to reflect on that and to be retrospective.”

The Clinch Park tunnel previously featured Anishinaabek art by Lois Beardslee, but was covered up when it was repainted in 2013.

Elkins says the call for art will be put out nationally. They hope to select an artist and design by March, and have the murals installed by next June.

Dan Wanschura is the Host and Executive Producer of Points North.