Northern Michigan Arts & Culture

Northern Michigan is a place with incredible natural beauty and varied landscapes. It is also home to Interlochen Center for the Arts and several other longstanding cultural institutions. Little wonder the region has been so attractive to artists and musicians of all types. Here we bring you those stories. 

Classical IPR has created on-demand listening to accompany a few of the sculptures at Michigan Legacy Art Park

Inspired by specific works of art, Classical IPR chose pieces of music that we thought reflected the aesthetic of each sculpture.

See the sculptures and listen to the music below.

If you can, travel to the Art Park yourself and listen to the music while experiencing the sculptures in person. 

Note: the work of art is shown first, followed by the accompanying audio file.

Essay: Stepping Down

Apr 9, 2021

We already know that not everyone can be the boss. But here’s the rest of the story. Not everyone wants to be the boss, including me. 


National Writers Series: Diane Rehm

Mar 29, 2021

Diane Rehm hosted her radio program, the Diane Rehm Show, for 37 years. Now, much of her work is focused on advocating for understanding and acceptance of physician aid in dying. Diane’s newest book and accompanying documentary, "When My Time Comes," takes on this difficult topic. She appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with Cynthia Canty, former host of Michigan Radio’s “Stateside.” 

National Writers Series: Martha Teichner and Dwight Garner

Mar 29, 2021

Martha Teichner has been a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning since 1993. Her new book is called “When Harry Met Minnie.” It’s about a chance encounter in Martha’s life that led to deep friendships—between people, and between bull terriers. Martha was born in Traverse City and donated family land in Leelanau County to create the Teichner Preserve on Lime Lake. She appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with Cynthia Canty, former host of Michigan Radio’s “Stateside.” In the second half, Dwight Garner is an essayist, editor, and book critic for the New York Times.

The Traverse Area District Library re-open to in-person browsing on Monday. All six branches of the library have been closed since November due to the pandemic.
Erin Wanschura

Northern Michigan’s largest library system re-opens its doors to the public Monday. The Traverse Area District Library (TADL) has been closed to in-person browsing since November.

Keweenaw Convention & Visitor's Bureau

Warmer winter temperatures are causing snow totals in many areas around the Great Lakes to drop dramatically. Scientists say a warmer climate means less lake effect snow. That leaves snow enthusiasts and businesses that depend on snow scrambling to try to adapt. 

  

National Writers Series: An evening with Albert Woodfox

Jan 5, 2021

In 1971, Albert Woodfox was sent to Angola prison for armed robbery. A year later, Albert was put in solitary confinement after being convicted of killing a guard. He was innocent of this crime, but stayed in solitary for 43 more years. After finally being released in 2016, Albert wrote a book about his experiences in prison, called “Solitary: Unbroken by Four Decades in Solitary Confinement.” Albert appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with news director for radio station WDET, Jerome Vaughn.

National Writers Series: An evening with Bob Giles

Nov 15, 2020

May 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the Kent State shootings. Ohio National Guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine others during an anti-Vietnam war protest. At that time, Bob Giles was managing editor of the Akron Beacon Journal. His team reported on the shootings, both while it was happening and the aftermath. Now Bob has written a book about the incident called “When Truth Mattered.” Bob appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. He spoke with former host of Michigan Radio’s “Stateside,” Cynthia Canty.

Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana, and her family moved to the United States when she was two years old. Her birth country figures prominently in her two books, “Homegoing,” and her latest, “Transcendent Kingdom.” Yaa appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. She spoke with Detroit’s director of arts and culture, Rochelle Riley. In the second half of the program, Kate Walbert’s writing often focuses on women’s lives, like her novel “A Short History of Women,” and her latest collection of short stories, “She Was Like That.” Kate appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event.

Chasten Buttigieg is best known for being the husband of former Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg. Chasten grew up in Traverse City, where he found life as a gay teenager difficult. He’s written a memoir about his experiences, called “I Have Something to Tell You.” Chasten appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with writer and acupuncturist Elon Cameron. In the second half of the program, Christopher Haugh and Jordan Blashek are friends. Chris is a Democrat, and Jordan is a Republican.

When many people think about National Geographic, they think of wildlife photography, and the stacks of magazines their parents collected. Editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg thinks that’s fine, but people should also think about National Geographic’s reporting on topics like gender and climate change. Before her current job, Susan Goldberg was a reporter for several newspapers, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Detroit Free Press, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Does the Upper Peninsula of Michigan seem creepy to you? You might think so after reading Karen Dionne’s novels. Her latest two psychological thrillers are set in the U.P., and a third one is in the works. Karen’s best known for her novel “The Marsh King’s Daughter,” which has been translated into 25 languages. Her latest book is “The Wicked Sister.” Karen appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event and spoke with Cynthia Canty, former host of Michigan Public Radio’s Stateside. In the second half of the program, we'll hear from Brad Thor.

Aaron Selbig

Local artists are making tough times a little brighter for patients and health care workers at Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital in Frankfort. A collection of 23 hand-decorated masks was delivered to the hospital Monday. The masks are part of a contest called “Make a Mask, Make a Difference,” held by the Oliver Art Center. 

National Writers Series: David Blight and Miles Harvey

Jul 23, 2020

You might say David Blight is absorbed with the life of abolitionist Frederick Douglass. David, who's an author, teacher and historian, has written three books about him. His latest is called “Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom.” It won the Pulitzer Prize for History, and is now being adapted into a movie for Netflix, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama. David appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. He spoke with author and director of Arts and Culture for the city of Detroit, Rochelle Riley.

Elaine Weiss is a journalist and writer whose latest book is “The Woman’s Hour.” It’s about the struggle to amend the U.S. Constitution to allow women the right to vote. Elaine appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. She spoke with Traverse City Record-Eagle columnist and teacher, Susan Odgers. In the second half of our program, we’ll hear a discussion with William Kent Krueger talking with Doug Stanton. William is the author of the Cork O’Connor series of mystery novels. His latest book is a stand-alone novel called “This Tender Land.” 

Young fans watch a Traverse City Pit Spitters game during the 2019 season.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

After starting last week, the Traverse City Pit Spitters season has been put on hold. The same goes for the newly created Great Lakes Resorters and Northern Michigan Dune Bears.

Several players recently tested positive for COVID-19 which prompted the pause.

 

 


The Traverse City Pit Spitters announced the creation of two brand new teams on Monday. All three teams will play at Turtle Creek Stadium in Traverse City, which allows the teams to play ball while not traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whitney Waara

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, baseball is coming back to northern Michigan this summer. On Monday the Traverse City Pit Spitters announced the creation of two brand new teams – the Great Lakes Resorters and the Northern Michigan Dune Bears.

To eliminate travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, all three will play against each other at Turtle Creek Stadium in Traverse City this summer.

 

Terry McMillan is a bestselling author known for her novels that feature female African American characters. Two of them, “Waiting to Exhale” and “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” were made into major motion pictures. Her latest book is “It’s Not All Downhill from Here.” Terry appeared at a virtual National Writers Series event. She spoke with Detroit’s director of arts and culture, Rochelle Riley. In the second half of our program today, we’ll hear a discussion with Scott Turow.

Max Johnston / Interlochen Public Radio

Some businesses in northern Michigan reopened Friday, with restrictions, under an executive order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

While many welcomed the news, some businesses are playing it safe.

National Writers Series: An evening with Peter Heller

Apr 19, 2020

Peter Heller is a writer of literary nonfiction and novels, including his bestseller “The Dog Stars.”  His latest novel, “The River,” is a thriller that draws from some of Peter’s own experiences canoeing wild rivers. Peter Heller talks this hour with fellow author Peter Robertson. 

Artists across northern Michigan are scrambling to find ways to make up for lost income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

 

With many events and large gatherings canceled through spring and into the summer, artists have lost out on gigs and other opportunities they were depending on to make ends meet. 


   

Essay: Uneventfulness

Mar 27, 2020

Several years ago, I heard a woman give a talk about a trip to Greenland where she lived with theInuit people, traveled by dog sled, ate raw seal meat. It wasn’t the kind of vacation most of us would choose—but for her, it was life-changing.

Maria Farney (bottom left) teaches a Chinese student (top left) a song written by Traverse City singer songwriter Miriam Pico (right).
Miriam Pico

Traverse City singer songwriter Miriam Pico thought she was just writing a song to sing to her own kids. But now, kids in China are learning that song to help get through the COVID-19 pandemic. 

National Writers Series: An evening with Steve Luxenberg

Feb 27, 2020
Alan Newton

Steve Luxenberg is a journalist, editor, and author. He last visited Traverse City in 2014 when he spoke on the stage of the City Opera House about his book “Annie’s Ghosts.” Steve’s latest book is “Separate: The Story of Plessy Versus Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation.” It tells the story of the landmark 1896 Supreme Court case that shaped the nation’s “separate but equal” race policies for over half a century. Steve talks this hour with Interlochen Public Radio Morning Edition host Dan Wanschura. Dan asked Steve how long it took to write his latest book.

Alan Newton

Nicholas Kristof and Cheryl WuDunn are both Pulitzer Prize winning journalists. They’re also a married couple who have written several books together, including “Half the Sky” and “A Path Appears.” Their latest book is “Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope.” It focuses on the decline of the American working class, from the perspective of Nicholas’s childhood hometown, Yamhill, Oregon. Nicholas and Cheryl talk this hour with Nate Payne, editor for the Traverse City Record-Eagle. Nate asked Cheryl how she and Nicholas balance their writing and married life.

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