If you want to look at art during the coronavirus pandemic, your options are pretty limited. Art museums and galleries are considered non-essential businesses and are closed across the state until at least the end of the month.
That’s why Michigan Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville is uniquely positioned at a time like this. It’s outdoors and visitors have plenty of space to socially distance in the park’s 30 acres.
“With this crisis and what we’re all dealing with, the art park is offering some solitude and some peace and quiet,” says Executive Director Joe Beyer.
“Everybody is wanting to get out and continue to have a little fresh air and exercise during this time, and the inspiration and distraction that the artwork offers is sort of just a bonus.”
The park is still open to the public every day from dawn to dusk, and during the pandemic, admission is free. Leashed dogs are also welcome.
Art isn’t the answer to the current crisis, but it’s a solution, says Beyer.
“We want the charities and services on the front lines to be supported,” he says. “Art and culture is a part of how we’re going to recover from this,” he says.
There’s over 50 works of outdoor art located at Michigan Legacy Art Park. Beyer says they offer visitors a little extra inspiration during this time.
“When you do look at visual art, there are a lot of things happening in your body automatically,” he says. “Your feelings of depression and anxiety are lowered, your feelings of tolerance and empathy for other people actually go up, and most importantly you get a jolt of dopamine.”
All of those things, along with outdoor exercise means you’re having a beneficial experience, Beyer says.