Collaboration is better than competition for Traverse City art galleries

May 3, 2018

One of Edward Hicks' "Peaceable Kingdom" paintings hangs in Michigan Artists Gallery.
Credit Dan Wanschura

In the early 1800’s, American painter Edward Hicks began painting “Peaceable Kingdom," a series of 62 paintings inspired by a verse in the book of Isaiah.

The verse says, “The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.” 

In Traverse City, two different art galleries are bringing that concept to the art world.


Michigan Artists Gallery is owned by Sue Ann Round. She’s collaborating with Shanny Brooke, who owns Higher Art Gallery, to present an exhibit centered around Edward Hick’s paintings of peace.

"Peaceable Kingdom Play Set" features hand-painted blocks animals and characters inspired by Edward Hicks' paintings. This collection is on display at Higher Art Gallery in Traverse City.
Credit Dan Wanschura

“It was part of the message that Shanny and I wanted to put out,” says Sue Ann. “As she grows stronger, I grow stronger … So, it very much went with the painting that we were choosing – the message we wanted to get out there.”

Higher Art Gallery is entering its second summer in Traverse City, and Shanny Brooke thinks the community needs to grow in its support of art. 

Even though her gallery and Michigan Artists Gallery have different galleries and styles, she believes this exhibit can help exemplify that message of support to the community.

“If there’s more galleries working together, we hope that that will kind of trickle out to people that like art, buy art, support art, to the artist,” Shanny says. “They’ll maybe feel like there is more of an art community here if they see people working together as opposed to against each other.”

Traverse City artist Rufus Snoddy created a piece for the Art in the Peaceable Kingdom collaboration. This piece is part of the exhibit at Higher Art Gallery.
Credit Dan Wanschura

Both galleries handpicked different artists to create their own versions of the “Peaceable Kingdom." The result is more than 70 pieces of all different mediums between the two locations.

One of those pieces at Michigan Artists Gallery is a diorama-type piece by Diane Hawkey, where animals are perched in between flowers. The 17 flower stems are made out of bullets and represent the victims of the Parkland, Florida shooting earlier this year.

“This has brought tears to people’s eyes,” says Sue Ann. “Art has that ability to go deep and make people feel something and create a healing.”

Visitors can vote on which piece they like the best in Michigan Artists Gallery and the winning artist will get their own show at the gallery in the fall.

Higher Art Gallery features about 20 pieces created for the Art in the Peaceable Kingdom exhibit. Shanny Brooke came up with the idea of the collaboration, but says Sue Ann Round came up with the idea of focusing on the “Peaceable Kingdom."

You can see Art in the Peaceable Kingdom at Higher Art Gallery and Michigan Artists Gallery Friday night during the Traverse City Art Walk. The exhibits will be up until mid-June.